Yankees 2017 preview: New York's youth movement in full swing, but rotation questions remain

The Yankees are projected to finish just below .500 and likely will miss the playoffs again unless their rotation takes big step forward.

The deep-pocketed Yankees added a number of free agents this offseason, including Matt Holliday and Chris Carter, but none was bigger than Aroldis Chapman, whoinked the most lucrative contact ever for a closer.

Gone are the days ofMark Teixeira (retired) andBrian McCann (traded to the Astros) asthe Yankees have turned over to the young talent of Gary Sanchez,Greg Bird, Aaron Sanchez and a host of minor leaguers led byClint Frazier and Gleyber Torres.

But while the future of the Yankeesoffense looks bright, the team's starting rotation remains an enigma.

Will CC Sabathia be able to replicate aserviceable3.91 ERA in his age-37 season? Will any pitcher not namedMasahiro Tanaka reach 200 innings?Michael Pineda andLuis Severino need to take steps forward after combining for an ERA close to 5.00 last season.

With the No. 5 starter still up in the air, one thing is certain: Joe Girardi is going to need his bullpen more than ever, and luckily the trio ofChapman,Dellin BetancesandTyler Clippardshould alleviate some stress on the rotation.

Baseball Prospectus projects the Yankees to finish just below .500, andunless the rotation can take a big step forward, it's likely the Bronx Bombers will miss the playoffs for afourth time in five years.

New York Yankees schedule 2017

The Yankees open the 2017 scheduleApril 2against the Raysat Tropicana Field at 1 p.m. ET as part of ESPN’s national opening day coverage.

The Yankees' home opener is scheduled for April 10, also against the Rays, and will begin a nine-game homestand in which the Cardinals and White Sox also come to town.

The greatest rivalry in baseball renewsApril 25 when the Yankees and Red Sox begin a three-game series at Fenway Park.

New York Yankees roster

Yankees projected opening day lineup

1. Brett Gardner, OF

2.Jacoby Ellsbury, OF

3. Gary Sanchez, C

4.Matt Holliday, DH

5. Starlin Castro, 2B

6.Didi Gregorius, SS

7.Chase Headley, 3B

8.Greg Bird, 1B

9.Aaron Hicks, OF

Yankeesprojected rotation

1.Masahiro Tanaka, RHP

2.CC Sabathia, LHP

3.Michael Pineda, RHP

4.Luis Severino, RHP

5.Adam Warren, RHP

Yankees projected bullpen

Closer: Aroldis Chapman,LHP
Setup:Dellin Betances, RHP
Setup:Tyler Clippard, RHP

Yankeesfantasy baseball sleeper

Matt Holliday, OF/1B/DH: The longtime Cardinaltook a step backward last season but is still a career .303/.382/.515 batter who is hitting cleanup in a lineup capable of putting up runs in a hurry. We likeHolliday to bounce back with at least 20 homers and 90 RBIs.

Yankeestop prospect(s)

As mentioned, outfielder Clint Frazier and shortstop Gleyber Torreshave the makings offuture stars.Frazier has the better chance of a big league call-up this season since Torres has studs Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius in front of him in the middle infield.

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