Although it may not feel like it outside, baseball season is just around the corner — and that means more stadium nachos, cold beers, and views of Derek Jeter in tight pants than you can swing a bat at. And, since we're not exactly the most well-versed when it comes to rounding the bases, we looked to the best baseball expert we could think of: an 8-year-old boy. Sam Goidel, our resident sports genius, is helping us out with a full-on Opening Day primer — read below for conversation starters, stats, and all the Bronx Bombers gossip.
Here are a few things you need to know about Opening Day:
1. Robinson Cano, the Yankeesʼ second basemen, is poised for a huge season. He keeps getting better year by year, and he is coming into a season where he must impress to show he is worth his $200 million contract.
2. Cano might be hot, but Mark Teixeira is not. Since 2009, his at-bats and hits — two very important stats — have progressively gone down. Along with that, he recently admitted to being overpaid. With a strained wrist, donʼt expect “Tex” to be the rock that he used to be.
3. Alex Rodriguez is some combination of 1. overpaid, 2. old, and 3. a doper. His RBIs (Runs Batted In) and doubles have declined every year. Itʼs a new injury every day, and his performance in the playoffs was dreadful. In an all-around stat called WAR (Wins Above Replacement), he ranks only 17th on the list of the 30 starting third basemen, yet he is the top-paid player in the league by $6 million.
4. The Yankees do not have many good, young minor league prospects — the top prospect is number 36 on MLB.comʼs top 100 prospects. As you may know, Yankees players like Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, and Ichiro Suzuki are far from their prime years and are showing signs of their seasoned age, with tighter muscles and reduced durability, quickness, and agility.
5. Donʼt despair! The Yankees are still good. They will get a jolt from Brett Gardner, one of the best runners in the league. They also have a packed bullpen lead by the best relief pitcher in the game, Mariano Rivera. A great pitching rotation with CC Sabathia and a lineup full of home-run hitters will still be able to propel them into contention for a World Series title.
Photo: Courtesy of Sam Goidel