Not much has changed on the offense side of spring training for the Yankees after two weeks. Brendan Ryan remains the only injury, which is obviously good news. The first round of cuts were made on Sunday, which meant that five hitters were reassigned to minor league camp. Although there were no real surprises in the cuts, it's disappointing that we won't get to see more of Aaron Judge and Jake Cave. They have been among the better hitters in camp.
If you're new here, we're keeping track of players' chances of making the team if they aren't guaranteed a spot like a starter. There aren't many surprises on a team like the Yankees, but things do happen to open the door for a player who might not have originally had much of a shot. Here is the legend we use every week:
So how do things stand after two weeks and the first round of cuts?
Names like Slade Heathcott, Jose Pirela, and Greg Bird continue to lead the field in terms of hitting. Pirela is really the only one of the three that has a shot to make the team out of camp, but Heathcott's success is important because he's in desperate need of regaining some of the shine that has worn off due to injuries the last few seasons. Getting booted off the 40-man roster will make it harder for him to work his way onto the big league roster, but if he's going to hit like he has this spring then there may be a place for him at some point. Bird is almost certainly headed to Double-A Trenton to start the season, but the more eyes he opens while in camp the better. Mark Teixeira isn't going to play first base forever.
Mason Williams is another prospect having a great spring training. Like Heathcott, a lot of the shine has worn off since he was considered the system's top prospect. His defense is still top notch, so getting his offense in order could do wonders for his stock. Hopefully the results are for real. Even though Rob Refsnyder is unlikely to make the team out of camp, his good hitting so far in camp is a good sign that his bat is ready for the next step. His defense, unfortunately, might not be. He should be able to crack the big league roster at some point this season, so the more reps he gets against big leaguers in camp the better.
If backup catcher is truly a spring training competition, it's kind of been a snooze so far. John Ryan Murphy hasn't hit much and Austin Romine's only saving grace is the fact that he's out of options. The smart thing for the Yankees to do would be to just try and sneak Romine through waivers and shrug their shoulders if a team claims him, but they've been reluctant to do that in past. Murphy is obviously the better option, but having options remaining could get him sent back to Triple-A if all things are equal. Hopefully they won't be equal by the time spring training is over. It's hard to say how much of a competition this really is. It's possible that the Yankees already know what they are doing with these two and spring training results won't matter.
Would anyone really miss Brendan Ryan if the Yankees just let him go at this point? He's missed half of spring training already, and will likely miss Opening Day again. Pirela is hitting really well and Drew provides a defense-first middle infield option if one is needed. Seems like keeping another light hitting defensive shortstop on the roster over someone who might actually be able to provide some offense is kind of silly. It's not like Pirela hasn't hit well enough to justify the difference, even if his defense is obviously farther behind.
Which hitters have you been most impressed with so far in spring training?