The always informative Dan Szymborski has a blog up that states the Yankees' Opening Day roster could be the worst in more than two decades. Not since 1991 with Mel Hall headlining the show has the Yankees' first lineup of the year projected to average a 4.29 runs per game. That is what LineupSimulator.com has this Yankee crew -- sans Curtis Granderson -- putting up each game. Szymborski, whose ZiPS projections are the best in the business, says this lineup would result in an 83-79 record, and that's assuming the pitching is no worse than it was last year.
As it stands, with Granderson out, Alex Rodriguez out for at least half a year, and Derek Jeter no guarantee to be ready for the season, it's possible that seven of the nine most frequent starters for the team in 2012 will be out of the Opening Day lineup. Brett Gardner is a terrific defensive player, but he also missed most of 2012 and hardly qualifies as a major bat. Ichiro, Travis Hafner and Kevin Youkilis are all on the downside of their careers, and Juan Rivera is more a role player than someone you start intentionally. And let's not talk about the catching situation.
How weak is an Opening Day lineup without Granderson, Rodriguez or Jeter? To answer this, I took the ZiPS projections of the Yankees' projected 2013 Opening Day lineup and ran them through LineupSimulator.com to compare with their Opening Day lineups of recent years. As presently constituted, the lineup is expected to score just 4.29 runs a game, an impressive drop-off from the 4.96 runs a game the Yankees scored in 2012. The last time the Yankees failed to score 4.29 runs a game was the 1991 team that had Matt Nokes, Roberto Kelly and Mel Hall as the OPS leaders.
Szymborski manages to mention both the Byzantine and Roman Empires, Death Star and Ewoks in the piece. You can read his full blog here, if you subscribe to ESPN Insider.
QUESTION: How worried are you about the Yankees' offense?