A lot has to go right for the Yankees to snap their two-year postseason draught, but bounce back seasons from Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann can be put on the top of that list. A combination of those three will be the three, four and five hitters in the lineup and they will need much more production out of the middle of the order than they had last season.
In 2014, the Yankees finished 13th out of 15 American League teams in runs scored and finished second to last in the league in RBIs. A major reason for the offensive ineptitude was that Teixeira, Beltran and to a lesser extent McCann underperformed last season. There are other keys for the offense’s resurgence to the middle of the pack in runs scored like Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury being solid table setters and Alex Rodriguez giving the team something at DH, but the heart of the order has to bring power and consistence like they have in the past.
The 34-year-old Teixeira has seen has stats drastically decrease the past two seasons. He has underperformed the past two seasons partly because of his strained wrist tendon that caused him to only be able to play in 15 games during the 2013 season, and on April 4 of last season he suffered a hamstring strain while attempting to catch a foul ball. On May 31, he aggravated his wrist that was surgically repaired in 2013. His stats definitely suffered last season as a result of both of his injuries.
Teixeira has a .273 average during his career with 363 homers, 1,175 RBIs and a .516 SLG%. However, in 2013, he had a .151 average with three homers, 12 RBIs and a .340 SLG% and last season he had a .216 average with 22 homers, 62 RBIs and a .398 SLG%.
Teixeira really tried to transform his body in the offseason as he trimmed 15 pounds of fat and added 13 pounds of muscle. He is now on a gluten free, dairy free and sugar free diet, which is intended to cut down on the inflammation in his body. Teixeira will hope that his new diet will prevent the injuries that he has had recently from happening again. It is not likely that he will be able to hit 39 homers with 122 RBIs like he did when he was an All-Star in 2009, but based on being healthy and his new diet it is realistic for him to hit .250 with 25 homers and drive in more than 90 runs this season.
Beltran, who is an eight-time All-Star, signed a three-year, $45 million contract before the 2014 season, also underperformed last season while playing through injuries. On May 12 of last season, Beltran experienced soreness in his right elbow, and it was later revealed that the elbow had a bone spur. He was placed on the 15-day DL on May 15, and when he returned on June 5, it was decided that he would DH the rest of the season to prevent further damaging his elbow.
Last season, he had a .233 average with 15 homers and 49 RBIs in 109 games. The Yankees will need him to come close to his .296 average, 24 homers, 84 RBIs and .491 SLG% that he had when he was an All-Star in 2013.
On October 1, Beltran had surgery where bone chips were removed and a spur was shaved down in his right elbow. This surgery took three months to recover from, and he is now healthy and ready for spring training. He trained this offseason back in Puerto Rico, and he said that he is ready to prove himself this season.
McCann is the third slugger who will have to give the offense more production than he did last season. He comes third because he did not underperform like the other two. A major reason that McCann did not produce like he did while playing for the Braves was because he had to get adjusted to playing in New York City and to catching in a new league.
He was an All-Star in seven of his eight full seasons with the Braves. His power output last season ended up being similar to his season averages because he hit eight homers and drove in 18 runs during September. He ended the season with 23 homers and 75 RBIs, but his .237 average was much lower than his career average of .272.
McCann will be more of a leader this season and his average should improve in his second season in pinstripes. As the possible No. 5 hitter in the lineup his average could rise to .265 to go along with 25 homers and 85 RBIs.
If these projections come true, then the No. 3-5 hitters in the lineup will all have better averages, hit more homers and drive in more runs than they did in 2014 season. That would make the offense much better than it was last season and increase the chance of returning to the postseason.