The Yankees are set to kick off their ALDS with the Rays, and at last we have a look at the team’s 28-man roster. With any luck, this is the group that will take down the pesky AL East champions and deliver New York to the ALCS for the third time in four years.
There are no shocking changes between the 28-man roster that took the Wild Card Series and the one that will take the field in San Diego, but there are a couple of shifts on the margin. The Yankees will of course carry all five of their starters, with five potential games scheduled between now and Friday. They will keep 14 pitchers, having added young right-hander Michael King to the fold. Nick Nelson also keeps his spot on the roster as a possible mop-up/long man. The rest of the staff, including Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Zack Britton, and the like is as expected.
On the hitting side, the biggest change is the exclusion of Erik Kratz, who falls off the roster for King. That leaves the Yankees with two catchers, Kyle Higashioka and Gary Sánchez. This indicates the Yankees either have the utmost confidence in Higashioka to play the full nine innings on nights when he catches Gerrit Cole, or that they will have no problem playing without a backup catcher when they pull Higashioka for Sánchez after Cole’s work is done.
The King-for-Kratz change is the only difference between the Wild Card and ALDS rosters. Mike Tauchman will still back up in the outfield, Mike Ford will still provide a lefty bench bat, and Tyler Wade will handle the pinch-running and defensive-replacement duties. Take a look at the full picture:
Are you surprised with anything you see on the roster? Did you expect a third catcher, or a different backend relief arm? Let us know in the comments below.