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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 3/24/21

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Yankees like Corey Kluber’s early results; Justin Wilson’s injury creates possible bullpen openings; Yankees high on positional rankings at second; Aaron Judge not at all concerned about his power

MLB: New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers
“I’m happy. I promise.”
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

MLB.com | Bryan Hoch: Corey Kluber has checked all the boxes for the Yankees in spring training, proving his health while demonstrating that he has the veteran canny to get outs as he approaches his 35th birthday. Kluber has a 1.86 ERA across three starts in camp and while he’s still personally looking for better command on some of his pitches, skipper Aaron Boone feels that he’s in a good spot. He arrived in Tampa in good shape and Boone thinks that his stuff was been “crisp.” As an aside, Hoch’s article also notes that Boone has really liked Nick Nelson out of the bullpen so far, and that can only be good for his odds of cracking the Opening Day roster.

NorthJersey.com | Pete Caldera: Speaking of that long-awaited Opening Day roster reveal, Justin Wilson’s shoulder injury has tossed a bit of a wrench in the bullpen plans as well. There already seemed to be a spot up for grabs, and if Wilson needs to miss any time*, that could open up another one. The aforementioned Nelson seems to have a spot locked up regardless, and if Wilson is hurt and the Yankees also choose to keep the sixth starter — be it Deivi García or Domingo Germán — off the roster, then that leaves two slots from a group that includes Lucas Luetge, Michael King, Tyler Lyons, and a couple others.

*The Yankees did not have an update on Wilson’s MRI after Tuesday’s game.

FanGraphs | R.J. Anderson: The always-excellent FanGraphs positional power rankings series continued with second base, where the Yankees are in pretty damn good shape thanks to a certain David John LeMahieu. Projections put only the Braves and Astros ahead of the Yankees, and I’m sure a good number of Yankees fans would debate even that third-place ranking. I love Ozzie Albies and begrudgingly acknowledge that José Altuve’s 2020 was likely an anomaly, but I know who I’d rather have in 2021 if picking from a trio that includes them and LeMahieu.

SI.com | Max Goodman: Aaron Judge knows that he has yet to go deep this spring, but it doesn’t concern him in the slightest. Why? Well, the man knows his strengths and knows that he doesn’t exactly have to take some Quad-A schmoes deep to prove his power at this point in his career. Instead, Judge has worked on more pressing concerns, like continuing to barrel the ball at the plate, maintaining his health, further developing his two-strike approach, and other practices. Makes sense to me.