The Yankees are opening camp for spring training, but once the games officially begin you may find yourself wanting to skip right ahead to Opening Day. While the preseason is definitely important for everybody to shake the rust off and find their timing, the Yankees have a mostly solidified roster. That means that there aren’t as many competitions for starting spots available, and spring might start to drag while the stats are still meaningless.
That being said, there’s always plenty to watch for before the games count. Specifically, here are a few things you can look out for while you wake up from the dull of the offseason:
This has definitely been a high priority in recent years with a new wave of blue-chip prospects graduating from the farm system, but there are still plenty of names to look out for as they get the chance to don a big-league uniform. Top prospects like Estevan Florial will be non-roster invitees and will get significant time to play after the starters exit. Florial himself will be working toward getting back to full strength after an injury ended his minor league season, so it’ll be a particularly good chance to see where he’s at ahead of the season.
See how well the veterans on minor-league deals will do:
The rookies won’t be the only people on minor-league contracts, however. The Yankees have a handful of veteran guys signed to the team that will look to impress in the early going. One name in particular to watch is Danny Farquhar, the 31-year-old righty. Farquhar is looking to pick his career back up after a line drive to his head almost ended it, and endangered his life. Farquhar will be an easy man to root for this spring, and may show enough to get back to the bigs this year, whether that be with the Yankees or another club.
Enjoy the home run spectacle:
The Yankees’ bats powered their way to the home run record in 2018, and they’re bringing a lot of that pop back with them for 2019. It won’t matter if they hit any out over the next month, so if they do they might as well have some fun with it. Tune in for any at-bat featuring Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton and bet on if the ball will go 300, 400, or even 500 feet. The stats don’t count yet, and the starters will only be in for a few innings for most of the games, so revel in the first orbital blasts of the year while we’re playing in the warm weather.
Check in on how our rivals are doing:
If you’re fortunate enough to be down in Florida for the spring, don’t just stop at following the Yankees. See if you can catch the Astros one day, or the Red Sox on another, perhaps the Rays next week. Take advantage of having a conglomerate of professional teams concentrated in one area, and see how the competition is preparing for the long haul ahead. If the expense is within reach, getting to see so much major league talent in such a short period is a worthy experience.
Appreciate that we’ve finally got something new to talk about:
Something that I think everyone can agree on after this offseason is that it gets tiring talking about the same topics relentlessly over the course of months. Writers and commenters alike can rejoice in that we’ll finally have some actual baseball to pore over instead of endless speculation. We’ll still have to rein it in since spring training numbers aren’t particularly indicative, but it’ll be good to be going over physical, tangible results again.
Are there any other highlights you feel deserve some attention out of spring training? Let us know in the comments.