Three Spring Training Predictions

The Yankees roster has been relatively complete since before the winter meetings. Lets take a look three predictions for Spring Training.

Prediction 1 – Aroldis Chapman will be the only left-handed pitcher in the bullpen. With starting pitchers throwing less innings these days than ever, down to 5.5 Innings per start in 2017 across MLB, there is less room for a lefty specialist when there are more innings than ever for the bullpen to fill. Chasen Shreve is the situational lefty for the Yankees, but over his major league career he has thrown 149 IP in 155 appearances. With power strikeout arms like Ben Heller and Domingo German waiting in the wings, I think that the Yankees will go with the arms that can bridge a game from the 5th inning to the 7th or even 8th. German started for Scranton much of the year last season, and was very good with a 9.6 K/9, and 1.061 WHIP in 76.1 AAA innings. He also had a very good MLB debut pitching 14.1 innings out of the bullpen, striking out 18 in those innings. Heller pitched 56 minor league innings with a .976 WHIP and 13.1 K/9. In 11 MLB innings he gave up 1 ER and had a 1.00 WHIP. I lean toward German winning the job as I think the Yankees will look to him to fill the Chad Green role on days Green isn’t available.

Prediction 2 – Yankees fans will be glad that Jacoby Ellsbury is on the roster (OK, probably not, but he will at least remind fans that he can contribute to this team). When Ellsbury was healthy last year he was pretty good. In September he posted a .912 OPS in 29 games. Prior to his concussion on May 24th he was slashing a respectable .281/.349/.422, for a .771 OPS (Brett Gardner posted a .778 in 2017 for comparison). Aaron Hicks has had issues staying healthy and playing a full season over his career, only playing over 100 games once and never reaching 400 Plate Appearances in a season. Brett Gardner will turn 35 during this season, and has worn down in August and September (Hitting only .238 and .242 in those month for his career) over the course of his career. I don’t think Ellsbury would be a good option if he had to play everyday for a full season, but having him on the roster to step in for an injury or just to spell Hicks and Gardner will be a good thing for the team. He has a chip on his shoulder after hearing how much he sucks and should waive his no-trade clause this offseason, so I expect him to come out and have a big spring. Not enough to win the CF job from Hicks, but enough to get people talking.

Prediction 3 – Despite being linked to a handful of unsigned and tradable starting pitchers, such as Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, Jake Odorizzi, and even an occasional Andrew Cashner mention, the Yankees pass on acquiring another starter for now. Too many other teams such as the Brewers, Twins, Rangers, and even Orioles have holes in their starting rotations and will force the market. Brian Cashman also knows that he is sitting on a great farm system and can evaluate the market in June and July when some pitchers might be available that are not on the market right now.

Opening Day Roster:

Starting Lineup –

LF – Brett Gardner

RF – Aaron Judge

DH – Giancarlo Stanton

1B – Greg Bird

C – Gary Sanchez

SS – Didi Gregorius

CF – Aaron Hicks

3B – Miguel Andujar

2B – Tyler Wade


Ronald Torreyes

Jacoby Ellsbury

Tyler Austin

Austin Romine

Pitching Staff:

Luis Severino

Masahiro Tanaka

Sonny Gray

CC Sabathia

Jordan Montgomery


Aroldis Chapman

David Robertson

Chad Green

Dellin Betances

Tommy Kahnle

Adam Warren

Domingo German

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