Today marks one week since spring training games got underway, which means it's still pretty early to be making judgments about where the players stand in terms of trying to make their way onto the Yankees' 25-man roster when the club heads north. For a lot of players, their role on the team is already clearly defined. Derek Jeter will be the team's shortstop on Opening Day and four of the spots in the pitching rotation will be filled by CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, and Masahiro Tanaka in some order. Other players have to fight their way onto the team with their performance in spring training. This will serve as a way to keep up with their progress and their chances of being with the team when they open in Houston for the first game of the season.
This first post will feature the hitters and Jason's subsequent post will profile the pitchers in competition. We graded out where each of the players stand with the following legend:
Obviously everything is an extremely small sample size at this point. While Gary Sanchez could bat 1.000 for the entirety of spring and still not make it onto the roster, players like Brian Roberts are almost certainly not playing their way off the roster with their results in spring training games. The players that fall somewhere in between are the truly interesting cases.
All of the catchers have been hitting very well in spring training so far, but Francisco Cervelli almost certainly has the inside track to the backup job if he isn't traded before Opening Day. The Yankees have plenty of depth at the position, including Austin Romine and John Ryan Murphy, and scouts from other teams are definitely present to check out what might be on display. If they all continue to hit well, it's possible that the Yankees could use one of them in a package for a much-needed infielder.
Pretty much anyone with two arms and a glove with knowledge of playing the infield is an option to make the team at this point. The favorites might be Dean Anna, due to his 40-man roster spot, or Yangervis Solarte, who has been impressing with his bat so far this spring. Eduardo Nunez might be the favorite because he's been there before, but there could be enough bench spots to share if some of the other options can put up impressive numbers over the next few weeks.
The outfield is arguably the hardest place for a hitter without a defined role on the team to break through. The Yankees have outfielders to spare and will probably keep Ichiro Suzuki around as their fourth or fifth outfielder, depending on what you define Alfonso Soriano as, just because of how much they are paying him. Slade Heathcott is the prospect closest to the majors, but injuries have kept him out of spring training games to this point. The team will likely want him playing every day at Triple-A anyway. Zoilo Almonte and Adonis Garcia are likely major league-ready, but really have no place on this team as currently constructed with all three starting roles and multiple backup roles already pretty much cemented in place.
How do you think this chart will change over the course of the next week of games? Which player do you think has the best chance of turning things around and snagging a spot on the team?