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

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Which non-roster hitters will be at spring training?

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees haven’t done anything interesting in weeks, but the good news is that pitchers and catchers report soon. Spring training games kick off on February 23rd, which means that baseball season is right around the corner. On Friday, the Yankees released their list of the 20 non-roster invitees who will be headed to spring training. In case you missed it, Tyler went through the pitchers on Sunday. Here is a closer look at the Yankees’ 9 non-roster position players.

Catchers

Francisco Diaz
Age as of Opening Day: 28
2017 stats (AAA/AA/A+/A-): 58 G, 219 PA, .261/.315/.322, 9 2B, 1 HR, 37% CS%

Erik Kratz
Age as of Opening Day: 37
2017 stats (AAA): 86 G, 324 PA, .270/.359/.472, 16 2B, 13 HR, 37% CS%
(MLB): 4 G, 2 PA, 1.000/1.000/1.500, 1 1B, 1 2B, 2 RBI

Chace Numata
Age as of Opening Day: 25
2017 stats (AA): 84 G, 340 PA, .249/.318/.351, 17 2B, 4 HR, 47% CS%

Jorge Saez
Age as of Opening Day: 27
2017 stats (AA/A+): 69 G, 249 PA, .248/.345/.414, 8 2B, 9 HR, 43% CS%

The reason that so many catchers are invited to spring training is to help ease the regular catchers’ workloads, so we probably won’t see any of these players in the majors unless an injury happens. The Yankees’ catcher situation looks to be the same in 2018 as it was last year, with Gary Sanchez set to be the everyday catcher. Austin Romine is expected to be the backup once again, unless Kyle Higashioka can find a way to steal that job from him. However, as we saw last year after the brawl with the Tigers and subsequent suspensions, it’s important to have some fallback options.

The only unfamiliar name here is Chace Numata, who the Yankees signed to a minor league deal back in November. He came up through the Phillies system, though he hasn’t played higher than Double-A. Kratz was acquired from the Indians last year, and saw some MLB action in September when Higgy was on the disabled list with a shoulder strain. The journeyman veteran will likely join Higashioka in Scranton, while Saez and Diaz are expected to bounce around Trenton.

Infielders

Danny Espinosa
Age as of Opening Day: 30
2017 stats (MLB): 93 G, 295 PA, .173/.245/.278, 10 2B, 6 HR, 4 SB

The Yankees signed Espinosa to a minor league contract just a few days ago. The infielder is coming off of a rough 2017 where he split time between the Angels, Mariners, and Rays, and struggled to get anything going at the plate. On the other hand, he is only one season removed from hitting 24 home runs with the Nats. Espinosa will try to earn one of the open second and third base spots, and he could be an option if the Yankees don’t feel comfortable going with two rookies in the infield.

Jace Peterson
Age as of Opening Day: 27
2017 stats (AAA): 34 G, 155 PA, .258/.374/.359, 5 2B, 2 HR, 6 SB
(MLB): 89 G, 215 PA, .215/.318/.317, 9 2B, 2 HR, 3 SB

Peterson will also be competing for one of the open infield spots, though Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar are the expected front runners. Aaron Boone recently stated that Thairo Estrada, Tyler Wade, and Ronald Torreyes will all be in the mix as well. It’s shaping up to be a classic Yankees spring training competition.

Nick Solak
Age as of Opening Day: 23
2017 stats (AA/A+): 130 G, 538 PA, .297/.384/.452, 26 2B, 12 HR, 14 SB

Solak was selected by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 Draft. He earned a well-deserved promotion to Trenton last year, after hitting 10 home runs with 153 wRC+ in Tampa. Solak has also shot up on top prospect lists, moving up to the number five spot on MLB Pipeline’s list for second basemen. He isn’t MLB ready, but we should see him move up to Scranton at some point, if he doesn’t start the season there.

Kyle Holder
Age as of Opening Day: 23
2017 stats (A+): 104 G, 442 PA, .271/.317/.350, 16 2B, 4 HR, 4 SB

There are many infield prospects in line ahead of Holder, but he is fresh off of a great performance in the Arizona Fall League. Holder hit .333/.367/.511 with five extra-base hits over 11 AFL games. It’ll be nice to get a glimpse of him in spring training, even though we won’t see him in the majors anytime soon.

Outfielders

Estevan Florial
Age as of Opening Day: 20
2017 stats (A+/A): 110 G, 476 PA, .298/.372/.479, 23 2B, 13 HR, 23 SB

This youngster had an impressive 2017, and joined Holder in the AFL where he hit .286/.383/.414. Florial recently shot up to number 38 on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list, and the Yankees think highly of him. Brian Cashman has even started to leave him off the table in trade talks. It’s no secret that the Yankees currently have an outfield logjam, but Florial isn’t expected to make his MLB debut until 2020. He is an exciting one to keep an eye on.