The first week of spring training has come and gone, and some names have made an impact already, while others haven’t. It’s time to think about who has the best chance to make the Opening Day roster. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will keep tabs on whose stock is on the rise and those who aren’t.
For those who don’t know all about the Making the Team Meter, here’s what the grading key looks like:
The three categories represent the odds a player has on making the Opening Day roster. Red means it won’t happen, yellow means it might happen, and green indicates a near lock. Pretty easy, right? Let’s start with the pitchers.
The Yankees starting rotation has taken a huge hit with the loss of three key pieces to the staff. James Paxton will miss a month or two to start the season, Luis Severino will be out for the entire season as he underwent Tommy John surgery and Domingo German is serving his suspension and won’t return until June. As a result, many names will get an opportunity to either crack the back-end of the rotation, or be placed in the bullpen.
Three interesting young players to keep an eye on as potential candidates for the fifth starter include Yankees top prospects Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia, as well as Michael King. The three of them have thrown a combined two major league innings, both frames are courtesy of King, but one of the them may be the team’s fifth starter come Opening Day. There are some open spots in the bullpen as well, but I do expect both Jonathan Holder and Jonathan Loaisiga to be on the Opening Day roster.
Positions are pretty much set for the most part. As you can see, there are a lot of catchers on the list, but I fully expect Kyle Higashioka to break camp and be the backup catcher on Opening Day behind Gary Sanchez.
Other position battles that are ongoing will mostly be for spots on the bench, but the outfield could have the most openings. Mike Tauchman will most likely make the roster because of how well he performed last year with New York and his elite defense. Speaking of defense, if Clint Frazier can prove he has cleaned it up in the field, he could make the Opening Day roster. His bat has been great this spring, as it usually is, but it is tough to tell who who has the edge for a spot off the bench.
Miguel Andujar is in a position flux right now, but the injury to Giancarlo Stanton at least opens the DH spot for the taking. Thairo Estrada and Mike Ford are the other Yankees who made some noise with the team last year, but will have the most difficult route to an Opening Day roster spot in my eyes because of the versatility of DJ LeMahieu and Tyler Wade.
Who do you think has the best chance to make the team? Let us know in the comments section!