We’re less than two weeks into the slate of spring exhibitions and already the Yankees’ top prospects have generated heaps of excitement. Yesterday’s 10-6 win over the Braves saw both teams launch a barrage of home runs including top prospect Jasson Domínguez’s game-winning blast in the ninth. We’ll hope for more of the same this evening as the Yankees welcome the Pirates to George M. Steinbrenner Field (and actually get to watch the action this time around locally with YES carrying the broadcast).
Domingo Germán makes his second start of the spring following his 2.1 innings of one-run ball against the Nationals. He is embroiled in a competition with Clarke Schmidt for the fifth starter job following Frankie Montas’ shoulder surgery and can help his case with a strong showing tonight. Schmidt was dominant in his first appearance striking out five of the six batters he faced before getting roughed up in his next outing to the tune of four runs in 1.2 innings. While some expect Germán to earn the job based on his lack of minor league options, he should not take these opportunities to cement the role for granted.
Luis Ortiz also makes his second start of the spring having thrown two scoreless frames against the Orioles. The 24-year-old righty places fourth on the Pirates’ top prospect list according to Baseball America and FanGraphs, while MLB Pipeline and Keith Law have him ranked eighth and eleventh respectively. He has an electric fastball at over 98 mph average velocity that he throws over half the time, backed up by a slider that induced a 47.3-percent whiff rate in four appearances last season.
The Yankees roll out a lineup whose top half resembles something we may see come Opening Day, and I’m sure fans down in Florida will be delighted to see DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, and Anthony Rizzo lead off the first. Top prospect Anthony Volpe gets the start at short batting fifth as he looks to continue his hot start to spring and build his case to make the Opening Day roster, if not as a starter. Much attention has been paid to the left field competition, and a pair of NRI candidates for the job have been tearing it up so far. Rafael Ortega has a pair of home runs in eight ABs as he lines up in center while Willie Calhoun is batting .545 in 11 trips and gets the start in right.
The Pirates make a handful of changes to the lineup that almost got no-hit by a parade of Yankees relievers four days ago. The exciting youngsters who make up the left side of the infield retain their spots, with Oneil Cruz and Ke’Bryan Hayes batting first and third respectively. We also have an old friend sighting, with Miguel Andújar playing right and batting seventh. The Pirates claimed him off waivers from the Yankees last September before designating him for assignment in January, so he finds himself back in NRI territory this spring.
How to watch
Location: George M. Steinbrenner Field — Tampa, FL
First pitch: 6:35 pm ET
TV broadcast: YES Network
Radio broadcast: MLB.com
Online stream: YES App