Having watched every preseason game, seen virtually every important at-bat and pitching performance, trying to learn the names, numbers and faces of all the strangers in camp who will soon become familiar figures around the Yankees, it is time to take a stab at the most important question of all: How many times will we hear John Sterling bellow, "Thuuuuuuuh Yankees winnnnnnn!" this season?
And more importantly, where will that total leave them?
For this one, Andrew Marchand and I will give our opinions. First up is Andrew:
"The Yankees will finish fourth with a record of 84-78. In the hyper-competitive AL East, the Yankees will hang in the playoff race until the end, led by my AL MVP pick, Robinson Cano. Ultimately, though, the Yankees will not be able to overcome the age and the injuries that have devastated their spring.
The Blue Jays will win the division, while the Orioles will take a wild card as well. The Yankees will fall just behind the Rays in the East. The Red Sox will contend into September, but will end up in last."
Clearly, the Yankees are not as good on paper this year as they were last year, and I'm guessing they're not as good by as many as seven wins. So I'm picking them to go 88-74, third in a division that may have more parity than you might think. Off their winter, the Blue Jays look like far and away the best team in the division, but we've seen where that often leads. I'm still picking them to win the division, however, followed by the Rays as the wild-card and the Yankees and Orioles fighting it out for the second wild-card spot, that one ultimately going to the Yankees. I'm not sure if the math works out, but when you're asking for predictions on a 162-game season before a pitch has been thrown, you take what you can get.
Will they win the play-in game? And if so, how far do they advance through the playoffs? Ask me in October, when we know how the pitching lines up and who, if anyone, is still healthy.
Your Turn: How many wins do you think the Yankees are good for this season? And does it get them into October or not? Let us know in the comments section.
UP NOW: Matt Ehalt was all over the Yankees final preseason game at West Point and has all the details here.
ON DECK: Yankees have Easter Sunday off, but you can spend your time on ESPNNewYork.com reading and re-reading the preseason analysis from Ian O'Connor, Andrew and myself. Tomorrow, of course, we will have a battalion at Yankee Stadium for Opening Day against the Red Sox, so set your body clock to join us bright and early. And as always, thanks for making ESPNNewYork.com your choice for Yankees coverage.