Another week has gone by in Yankees spring training, and it’s time for another installment of the Pinstripe Alley Making the Team Meter. This week, plenty of Yankees hopefuls stood out, while others continued slumps and hurt their chances.
The Yankees even announced their first round of cuts today, which included plenty of prospects. As a reminder, here’s the key for the Meter:
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There are a few changes here. For one, youngsters such as Luis Gil, Luis Medina and Alexander Vizcaíno, have been optioned to Double-A and Single-A. Other non-roster invitees like Adam Warren, Trevor Lane, Glenn Otto, Addison Russ and Reggie McClain were also re-assigned to minor league camp.
The Zack Britton injury also shakes things up a bit. No Yankee has pitched more innings than Michael King this spring, which is promising for his roster chances. His performance also improved from his rough first outing to the tune of four scoreless innings since. With Britton out, King might very well be in good shape to nail down a spot.
If the Yankees want to include a lefty to replace Britton, Tyler Lyons could become a more attractive option. For that reason alone, Nestor Cortes Jr. also gets to stick around. However, the biggest riser in camp this week was Lucas Luetge. He’s pitched four scoreless innings and gotten strikeouts for 10 of his 12 outs. The southpaw has been referenced by Aaron Boone as having an impressive camp, and is probably the leader of the left-handed relief pack.
Elsewhere, it would take an injury or sudden change of heart for Deivi García or Domingo Germán to not make the team at this point, and Nick Nelson has been impressive enough to earn a look, perhaps challenging King for the long reliever’s spot. Albert Abreu, Jhoulys Chacín and Asher Wojciechowski have completely bombed in camp, and with Abreu being granted an extra minor league option, it’s likely the Yankees will use it.
There’s some added intrigue in the race for the Yankees’ final bench spot due to Jay Bruce’s strong spring and Mike Tauchman’s pedestrian camp. Tauchman is hitting .200 with one home run, while Bruce is hitting .400, has gone deep twice, and is tied for the sixth-most at-bats of any Yankee this spring. He even flashed the leather in an earlier game against the Tigers, showing that he’s not completely toast in the field. Bruce’s resurgence, the Yankees’ need for a powerful lefty bat, and the redundancy of carrying both Tauchman and the similar Brett Gardner has dropped Tauchman from the “green” box to the more risky “yellow” tier.
Tyler Wade still isn’t much of a hitter, but given his ability to play all over the diamond, including shortstop, he’s probably safe. Besides, it’s not like Thairo Estrada or Derek Dietrich have really done enough to unseat him. However, Andrew Velazquez has impressed in limited time, going 4-for-9 and stealing a base. He has Major League experience, so he’s worth keeping an eye on, but his status as a non-roster invitee probably means he won’t be making the team over Wade.
Elsewhere, Miguel Andújar and Mike Ford will have to do more to ward off Bruce. Kyle Higashioka was always a safe bet to be the Yankees’ backup even though the club seemed to like Robinson Chirinos. However, a fractured wrist is not the way Chirinos deserved to see his chance at making the big club end. Depth pieces like Chris Gittens, Greg Allen, Trey Amburgey and prospect Estevan Florial have all be re-assigned to minor league camp.
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Is there anybody on the meter that shifted colors that you’re either happy or upset about? Let us know in the comments section!