If Anthony Volpe’s spring debut was one to remember, his offensive performance on Monday night — an 8-5 Yankees win over the Tigers in Tampa — was one to forget: the Yankees’ top prospect came up to the plate twice and grounded into two double plays.
Obviously, this one exhibition game does nothing to diminish Volpe’s sky-high ceiling; if anything, his long-term outlook improved due to his solid showing at second base. A dart throw to the plate with the infield in and a runner trying to score highlighted his smooth glovework on the night.
The other interesting youngster to get the starting nod, Oswaldo Cabrera, overcame a fielding error in the third to make a diving stab on a liner in the fifth. On the offensive side, he notched an RBI single with a frozen rope to right-center:
Cabrera drove home Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who worked two six-pitch at-bats in his quest to maintain his position atop the Yankees’ depth chart at short.
The Martian, Jasson Domínguez, landed in center field to start the fifth. At the plate in the seventh, he looked silly letting go of the bat on a changeup but promptly lined the next pitch up the middle for a single. He came around to score on a Tayler Aguilar double. Aguilar, a 15th-round pick last summer, also threw out Tigers prospect Colt Keith, who was trying to score on a fly out in the top of the eighth.
Domínguez also walked and scored in the eighth.
On the pitching side, Luis Severino’s fastball looked sharp in his first spring tuneup. The heater notched five whiffs in 27 pitches. Unfortunately for the righty, he only had one whiff on 18 pitches of soft stuff. The cutter and slider looked especially rusty, as they didn’t notch a single whiff across 15 offerings and one cutter ended up over the center-field fence:
In an interview with Meredith Marakovits after his outing, Sevy didn’t express concern with his breakers, indicating he had met his goal for the appearance — to come out of it feeling healthy.
Severino mentioned that his slider typically requires more tinkering to get ready for the regular season. He tinkered plenty in this outing, throwing his cutter and slider a combined 34 percent of the time, marking a sizeable increase from his 28.6-percent rate last year. He especially leaned on the cutter more, a pitch the Yankees have seemingly stressed this spring with the likes of Clarke Schmidt, so it will be interesting to see if this trend carries into the season for Sevy as well.
Wandy Peralta also got his pitches in. The lefty sat over a tick higher on his sinker and notched three whiffs on his changeup. He did allow a couple of base knocks, but neither came off the bat at even 90 miles per hour.
Overall, tonight’s contest was largely spring training business as usual. The regulars didn’t have their best stuff, and some surprising youngsters like Aguilar took advantage. Although, this catch was a bit out of the blue:
Otherwise, the Yankees will look to keep their spring streak rolling tomorrow against the newly-extended Jeffrey Springs and the Rays. Prospect Sean Boyle, who pitched to a 3.71 ERA in 155.1 innings across Double- and Triple-A last year, will get the ball for the Yanks in a matinee with first pitch at 1:05pm ET.