Spring training is winding down with Opening Day less than a week away. The Yankees still have some questions about their planned roster though. Jason went through the last Making the Team Meter post for pitchers this morning, so here is the hitters’ edition.
The Yankees have made plenty of cuts since the previous MTTM post went out, with Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Clint Frazier, Dustin Fowler, Billy McKinney, Ji-Man Choi, Wilkin Castillo, Donovano Solano, and Ruben Tejada all sent packing (some more for more practical reasons than others). This is the update of everyone who was on the MTTM last week.
Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, Austin Romine, and Ronald Torreyes are all Opening Day locks, and they probably always were. The World Baseball Classic injury to Didi Gregorius just before the previous MTTM was posted opened up some doors for one more roster spot though, and that is where the competition is tightest.
Right now, the Yankees will almost certainly choose from a trio that includes Rob Refsnyder, Pete Kozma, and Tyler Wade. Outside candidates like Donovan Solano and Ruben Tejada have been sent to minor league camp, so it’s all on them. If I made a gamble on which of the trio would receive the Opening Day nod at this point, I’d have to say Wade. He’s the one most important to the Yankees’ future plans as an actual prospect, and they have been effusive in their praise of him. He offers more versatility than Kozma or Refsnyder, and if Gregorius has to be miss more time than expected, it’s better to use that time to see what a potential future cog could offer in the majors.
The safest choice is to just go with Kozma since he’s easily disposable and can simply be a Band-Aid in the infield with a noodle bat. Torreyes would likely start over Kozma since the team continually chose him over Kozma throughout 2016. The Yankees have offered pleasant surprises in roster decisions before though, like when they decided to cut Eduardo Nunez in favor of Yangervis Solarte at the end of 2014 spring training. Nunez was the safe choice since he was already on the roster, but the Yankees thought Solarte had more to offer. In a similar situation here, Wade is most interesting option.
Refsnyder does have an advantage in that he is the only one of the three already on the 40-man roster, but he simply doesn’t fit on this roster. If the Yankees put Refsnyder on the Opening Day roster, then the only people available to play shortstop would be Torreyes and Starlin Castro. The latter has yet to see a game there this spring, so while he could start, the team has not expressed a serious interest in trying him. They could start Torreyes and simply shift Castro over in an emergency, but that doesn’t seem likely. There are trade rumors about Refsnyder too, so he might simply be out of luck.
Everything else is pretty much set. An honorable mention goes out to Gleyber Torres, who won the 2017 James P. Dawson Award as the best Yankees rookie in spring training following a sterling .448/.469/.931 showing in camp. He needs competitive time above A-ball before he’s ready for the bigs, but if he starts the season raking in Trenton and Gregorius is still hurt, then it could get awfully interesting.
Who do you think will get the last roster spot?
Who will be the last Yankee on the Opening Day roster?
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