1. Will Hideki Matsui continue to produce?
He will turn 36 this summer so expectations should be tempered. He’s also leaving the HR Haven that is Yankee Stadium. Plus, the Angels’ lineup is not as formidable as the Yankees was. Given his injury risk and new home, he’s a player I would avoid in 2010.

2. Will Scott Kazmir continue to pitch well for the Angels?
After a miserable 2009 with Tampa Bay, Kazmir pitched well for the Halos posting a 1.73 ERA in six starts. He is always an injury risk, but should post a low ERA. Getting away from the Yankees and Red Sox should help. Don’t expect a ton of strikeouts from Kazmir though, as 2007 was more the exception than the rule.

3. Outside of Kurt Suzuki, will the A’s have any decent fantasy players on offense?
Rajai Davis will get you a bunch of SBs. Other than that it’s a crapshoot. The only dark horse is Jake Fox, who could possibly put up a bunch of HRs for Oakland.

4. Will Jose Lopez have a monster year?
With Ichiro and Chone Figgins setting the table, Lopez should have plenty of RBI opportunities. He averaged 92.5 RBIs the past two years, and should go over the 100 mark this year. See where he ranks among Second Basemen.

5. Will Ichiro win the batting title?
With Chone Figgins hitting behind him and Joe Mauer playing in a new ballpark, I think Ichiro is the favorite to take home the batting crown.

6. Will Chris Davis bounce back?
Davis was everyone’s darling last year and he fell short of expectations thanks to his .238 average . He still managed to hit 21 HRs though, and was a force in September and October hitting .318 with 5 HRs and 21 RBIs in 110 ABs. Look for him to be better in 2010.

7. How will the move to Texas affect Rich Harden?
He’s pitched in the AL West before so he has a brief track record at Ranger Ballpark. It’s not pretty though. In five starts he has a 7.66 ERA, a 2.01 WHIP, and a .330 BAA. Couple that with his injury history and he’s a player I’d avoid on draft day unless he came at an absolute bargain.

Yankees evil Empire

As much as I dislike the Yankees, I can’t help but think their latest World Series title is good for America. The last time the Yankees were Champions the economy was buzzing. Hopefully their win can help this economy get moving in the right direction.

Yes, the Yankees spent a lot of money in the offseason to build this Champion, but instead of looking at the cost of it, think about it as an investment. They added a dominant Starting Pitcher and a young stud 1B that is equally talented with his bat and his glove.

It wasn’t just the new guys that led to this title though. The four members from their earlier dynasty (Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera) all played key roles. A-Rod and Johnny Damon played well. World Series MVP Hideki Matsui had a brilliant Game 6, and seemed to come up big throughout the postseason.

New York is the financial capital of the world, so as the Yankees get set to celebrate in a ticker tape parade for the ages, I’m hoping that big business will take a cue from the Yankees and loosen their grip on their wallets and start to invest in American businesses again.

I know, I’m reaching for straws here as a Red Sox fan, but I do see a lot of similarities between our country and the Yankees. The Yankees got their pride back tonight. It’s time for the United States to get our pride back.

Here’s a look at Outfielders who should bounce back from subpar 2008 seasons.

carl-crawford
Carl Crawford
– Despite Tampa Bay’s success last year, Crawford didn’t perform at his typical level.  Crawford was limited to 109 games, which can explain the 69 Runs, 121 Hits, 12 Doubles, 8 HRs, 57 RBI, and 25 SBs.  His .273 average was off his .293 career mark, but that can be expected from someone dealing with injuries.  I fully expect him to return to form and hit in the low .300s with 90+ Runs, 180+ Hits, 28+ Doubles, 15+ HRs, 75+ RBI, and 40+ SBs.  One interesting note is despite his struggles, he did still hit 10 Triples last year.  I expect that number to jump to 15+ in ’09.
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Vernon Wells
– Wells had a solid season batting .300 with 20 HRs and 78 RBI.  He was actually better in 108 games in 2008 than he was in 149 games in 2007.  He worked with a trainer to get in better shape.  Unfortunately he hurt his hamstring.  As long as it doesn’t bother him all year, he should be solid.  I’m putting him on a .280, 85 R, 160 H, 32 2Bs, 25HRs, 90 RBI, and 12 SBs season.

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Hideki Matsui -
Matsui will mostly fill the DH role for the Yankees because of his knees.  He was limited to 93 games last year and had just 43 Runs, 9 HRs, and 45 RBI.  He’s alternating between injury-riddled years and solid years, and fortunately it’s an odd year if the trend continues.  I see him getting around 450-500 at bats and hitting .295 with 75 R, 140 H, 20 HRs, and 80 RBI.

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Gary Sheffield
– While he doesn’t play much OF anymore, he’s still eligible in most formats.  Sheff, like most Tigers, had a down year.  He hit .225 with 52 Runs, 94 Hits, 16 Doubles, 19 HRs, and 57 RBI.  Those aren’t Gary Sheffield numbers.  He could struggle out of the gate as he pursues HR #500.  Once that’s out of the way look for him to settle in around .260, 70-75 Runs, 130 Hits, 25 Doubles, 22 HRs, and 70 RBI.

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Jeff Francoeur
- Francoeur hit .239 with 70 Runs, 143 Hits, 11 HRs, and 71 RBI.  In his previous two years he averaged .276 with 83.5 Runs, 178.5 Hits, 24 HRs, and 104 RBI.  After his struggles last year, I’m going to be conservative in my expectations of him in ’09.  I’m guessing he’ll hit .260 with 75 Runs, 160 Hits, 20 HRs, and 85 RBI. 

 
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Eric Byrnes
- I don’t expect a major bounceback for him as he’s likely going to be fighting for at bats as the fourth Outfielder, but he’s going to improve on his .209 average and 28 Runs, 43 Hits, 23 RBI, and 4 SBs.  If nothing else, he should be a decent source of SBs.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI


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