This morning, Jason re-introduced Pinstripe Alley’s annual Making the Team Meter by going through the pitchers in camp who are hoping to impress Joe Girardi and his coaching staff. The team’s position players are a little more set in stone, but there are still some questions to resolve for them, too.
Here’s the legend we use:
The Yankees will probably go with the standard 12-man pitching staff to begin the season, leaving 13 spots for the position players. Gary Sanchez, Starlin Castro, Didi Gregorius, Chase Headley, Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Aaron Hicks, Matt Holliday, and Chris Carter are locks, presuming health.
That leaves four openings, with a couple of them essentially guaranteed. The last two spots will likely go to an outfielder and infielder, each. This is how the position players stand after a little over a week’s worth of games. The stats are updated as of the end of Sunday’s games.
Greg Bird and Austin Romine never really had roster spots in question. Bird simply had to show he was healthy, and as Tyler wrote the other day, he’s done exactly that. The three dingers certainly don’t hurt, either. He’ll be at first base on Opening Day unless something crazy happens. By the time Tyler Austin is healthy, he will need a bit of a tune-up in Triple-A anyway. As far as Romine goes, he would only have not been the backup catcher if he got hurt, though Kyle Higashioka is nice depth to have.
Aaron Judge was in good shape for a spot too, and his 1.233 OPS early on is definitely nice. The best part about his early showing though is that the strikeouts haven’t been a problem at all. That’s the biggest hole in his game, and while of course this is a minuscule sample of meaningless baseball, it’s a good sign. He’s well on his way to sharing right field with Hicks and perhaps even getting the bulk of the time.
The final space is probably just going to go to 2016 utilityman Ronald Torreyes. The fact that he managed to remain on the roster from start to finish all year long is an obvious indicator of how much the Yankees think of him. They like having him around to back Gregorius up at shortstop, and save for maybe Ruben Tejada, there’s no obvious replacement for that role. They chose Torreyes over Pete Kozma again and again in 2016, so it’s going to come down to Torreyes or Tejada. Unless Tejada goes crazy with the bat, it’ll be Torreyes.
Super prospect Clint Frazier is more of a yellow shade than the light green, but he has looked very good in the first week and a half. If something went haywire and he had to be on the Opening Day roster, it would be far from the end of the world. The smart move is to have him work more in Triple-A though, but do not be surprised at all if he mashes in Scranton and somehow forces his way into the Yankees lineup by August.
What do you think about the Yankees’ roster early on? The Gleyber Torres preview show has been a lot of fun, at the very least.