The Yankees will certainly have some interesting battles at the major league level once spring training commences. The biggest battle will be at third base between Gio Urshela and Miguel Andujar. On top of that, Tyler Wade will be competing for a major league roster spot, and with the return of Jordan Montgomery, there will be competition for the fifth starter with the incumbent J.A. Happ.
However, there is also a lot of young talent that is coming up through the Yankee system. Here is a look at the most fun players to look out for once spring training rolls around. They might not all make the team, but they could provide some interesting moments during February and March, akin to the glimpses we got of, say, Estevan Florial last year.
For starters, the Yankees top pitching prospect Deivi Garcia will get a lot of looks in spring training. Last year, he climbed his way up the Yankees minor league system from High-A Tampa all the way up to Triple-A Scranton. Through those three different levels, he pitched his way to a 4.28 ERA over 111.1 innings pitched, with an eye-popping 168 strikeouts.
There’s not a lot of room on the roster as of now for Garcia to make a huge impact, yet if he gets called up and makes the most of it, he could slowly find his way to a solid role in the big leagues over the next season or two.
King is in a similar position as Garcia. While King has already seen big-league play, his two innings of work aren’t enough to put him a solid level ahead of Garcia. They are both still considered prospects and will most likely be ready for a call up for bullpen help at some point during the year.
More specifically regarding King, he has not pitched tremendously in the minors but is still highly regarded in the Yankees’ system given his call-up from last season. Look out for King’s appearances in spring training, as they will might give you some insight into how soon you’ll be seeing him at the big league level.
Albert Abreu was acquired from the Astros when the Yankees traded Brian McCann. According to MLB.com, “Abreu has shown frontline-starter upside when healthy”, but through his first three seasons in the Yankees’ system, he has struggled to stay on the field. Even so, he still has the talent of a top prospect, and Baseball Prospectus listed him as one of the players that only just missed their Top 101. After appearing in only 23 games last season, make sure to watch his spring training starts to see where he’s at entering his age-24 season.
Florial provided a glimpse of his talent last spring, but he’s developed into a big question mark in the Yankees’ system. He was signed by the Yankees back in 2015 and has been an extremely highly-touted prospect at times, but hasn’t been able to entirely prove his worth thanks to multiple injuries, including the wrist ailment in spring training last season which stripped him of his best chance yet to make it to the majors.
He’ll be back and healthy again this spring training, and that health is all you can hope for is him at this point. He still has tools, as MLB Pipeline asserts he has “three tools that grade as well above average: his raw power, speed, and arm strength”. Those ratings come in at 55, 65, and 65 respectively, indications of his pure ability. Hopefully this spring his body will him put those tools on display in a few weeks.