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Yankees spring training: A closer look at the Yankees’ 2018 non-roster invitee pitchers

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Which non-roster pitchers are in camp this year?

MLB: FEB 15 Yankees Camp Photo by /Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Yankees announced their list of spring training non-roster invitees on Friday. While it’s unlikely that many head north with the team, these players figure to get a long look during the season. That’s especially true for pitchers. No team goes through the entire year with the same pitching staff they had on Opening Day. With that in mind, it’s helpful to familiarize oneself with the 11 pitchers the Yankees brought to camp.

Starters

Chance Adams
Age as of Opening Day: 23
2017 stats (Double-A/Triple-A): 27 GS, 150.1 IP, 8.08 K/9, 3.47 K/9, 2.45 ERA, 3.70 FIP

Arguably the most recognizable name on the list, Adams has rapidly climbed through the ranks in the minor leagues. Drafted as a relief pitcher out of Dallas Baptist University, he’s now a consensus top-100 prospect as a starter. While some fans clamored for him last season, they will likely get their wish in 2018. Barring a trade or a setback, expect Adams to make his big league debut in the months ahead.

David Hale
Age as of Opening Day: 30
2017 stats (Double-A/Triple-A): 14 GS, 81.2 IP, 6.61 K/9, 1.54 BB/9, 4.08 ERA, 3.85 FIP

The Yankees agreed to terms on a minor league contract with Hale on January 31st. The right-hander spent all of last season in the minor leagues with the Dodgers. He does have big league experience though, playing in parts of four seasons with the Braves and Rockies. Hale figures to hold down a rotation spot for the RailRides in 2018.

Brady Lail
Age as of Opening Day: 24
2017 stats (Double-A/Triple-A): 24 GS, 145 IP, 6.21 K/9, 2.86 BB/9, 4.90 ERA, 4.62 FIP

One of the more surprising invitations, Lail has quite the story. The Yankees selected him in the 18th round of the 2012 draft, and he instantly outperformed his projections. He was a bright spot during the dark ages of the Yankees’ farm system. He hasn’t had any luck in Triple-A though, struggling through three tours of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He’s not exactly a big league option, but the team needs innings in spring training.

Dillon Tate
Age as of Opening Day: 23
2017 stats (High-A/Double-A): 13 GS, 83.1 IP, 6.80 K/9, 2.59 BB/9, 2.81 ERA, 3.95 FIP

Keep your eyes out for Tate this year. He pitched rather well around injuries last season, and then looked great in the Arizona Fall League. Keith Law has raved about the right-hander, praising the Yankees for bringing his fastball back. Tate could be on the verge of a breakout, and it will be awfully fun to watch him this spring.

Taylor Widener
Age as of Opening Day: 23
2017 stats (High-A): 27 G2, 119.1 IP, 9.73 K/9, 3.77 BB/9, 3.39 ERA, 3.05 FIP

The Yankees have a knack for selecting pitchers in the middle rounds of the draft and turning them into legitimate prospects. Widener is a terrific example. He came out of nowhere but has since pitched his way on to the map. Widener still needs a lot of development, though. It’s unlikely that he will receive a call-up this season. That said, he had a big 2017, and he’s being rewarded for it. Good on him.

Justus Sheffield
Age as of Opening Day: 21
2017 stats (Rookie ball/Double-A): 19 GS, 98 IP, 8.08 K/9, 3.12 BB/9, 3.12 ERA, 4.43 FIP

It’s clear that the Yankees consider Sheffield their top pitching prospect. They have reportedly made him off limits in trade talks. After his strong season last year, and an electric run in Arizona Fall League, he’s one of the farm system’s crown jewels. He probably won’t crack the rotation right out of camp, but it’s not unrealistic to anticipate his big league debut in 2018.

Relievers

Cody Carroll
Age as of Opening Day: 25
2017 stats (High-A/Double-A): 39 G, 67.1 IP, 11.90 K/9, 4.01 BB/9, 2.54 ERA, 3.04 FIP

Carroll is another one of those prospects that just burst onto the scene without warning. Law went so far as to say the Yankees “...keep finding these relievers, like Cody Carroll, late in the draft who get into the system and suddenly start bumping 98.” A right-hander who misses bats and pumps gas, he looks to start the season in Triple-A. If he can bring those walks down, Carroll figures to be just a phone call away.

Cale Coshow
Age as of Opening Day: 25
2017 stats (Double-A/Triple-A): 45 G, 60 IP, 11.40 K/9, 3.60 BB/9, 3.75 ERA, 2.97 FIP

During this write-up, I made an important discovery. The Yankees have a factory where they are building a small army of flame-throwing relievers. Coshow is another example. He will not be the last one, either. There are dozens of them, and they are coming to create an endless bullpen of doom in the Bronx.

Raynel Espinal
Age as of Opening Day: 26
2017 stats (Low-A/High-A/Double-A): 27 G, 74.1 IP, 11.26 K/9, 1.82 BB/9, 1.09 ERA, 2.23 FIP

Save for a few spot starts, Espinal has spent most of his professional career as a reliever. I’m going to make a bold prediction, though, and say he’s going to make a start for the Yankees this year. He’s pitched well at every level since joining the organization out of the 2013 draft. Plus, there’s always that one random guy who makes a start or two. Last year the honor belonged to Caleb Smith. This season I’m guessing Espinal.

J.P. Feyereisen
Age as of Opening Day: 25
2017 stats (Double-A/Triple-A): 37 G, 63.1 IP, 8.53 K/9, 3.98 BB/9, 3.27 ERA, 3.85 FIP

Feyereisen has gotten lost in the shuffle of late, but don’t forget he came over in the Andrew Miller trade. He’s pitched well since, and it looks like 2018 will be the year he makes his big league debut. The bullpen is mostly set for Opening Day, but he figures to be among the inevitable call-ups throughout the year.

Wade LeBlanc
Age as of Opening Day: 33
2017 stats (MLB): 50 G, 68 IP, 7.15 K/9, 2.25 BB/9, 4.50 ERA/ 4.28 FIP

Believe it or not, this is the second tour through the Yankees’ organization for LeBlanc. He pitched one game in pinstripes in 2014, facing seven batters. He allowed two hits, two walks (one intentional), and a hit-by-pitch. That resulted in an 18.00 ERA for his troubles. Let’s hope the sequel is better.