Opening Day is tomorrow, which means that spring training is officially over. Yesterday, Scott covered some of the positives of spring training. It certainly feels like the positives outweigh the negatives, but there were still players who struggled. The good thing about spring training is that it doesn't really count for anything, and players who had rough springs can still turn it around for the regular season. Let's take a look at some of the biggest disappointments from spring training and some concerns moving forward.
Disappointments and Concerns:
1.CC Sabathia did not pitch well. First and foremost, everyone should be happy that Sabathia hasn't felt any lingering knee pain during spring training. Now that we've acknowledged that, it's hard to ignore that he was hit hard. He only pitched ten total innings, but he managed to give up nine earned runs off of 14 hits. Three of those hits were home runs. One positive is that he only walked three batters while striking out nine, but overall it was a poor spring. All that the Yankees can do at this point is hope that he is able to turn it around in the regular season, since the rotation needs him.
2. Brendan Ryan's injury opened up the door for someone like Jose Pirela to make the team, but his injury likely cost him a roster spot. The Yankees were dead set on using Ryan as their backup utility man, even after he missed the first half of spring training nursing a back injury. It looked like Jose Pirela was going to miss out a spot on the 25-man roster because of Ryan, even though he hit .370/.433/.630 with three doubles and two triples. Then his spring training came to an early end after he suffered a concussion running into a wall in center field. Ryan, of course, ended up straining his calf last week, and will spend the next several weeks on the disabled list. It seems to me that Pirela would have been the number one candidate to take Ryan's spot if it hadn't been for his own untimely injury. Instead, the Yankees traded for Gregorio Petit and it'll be a missed opportunity for Pirela.
3. Last season, Dellin Betances struck out 135 batters. He really couldn't have had a better rookie campaign, and it would be unreasonable to expect him to duplicate that again this year. However, he did not have a particularly great spring training (8 IP, 5 ER, 6 BB, 9 K). He has said that he's been having mechanical issues, namely that he's drifting too much and that it's effecting his command. It could be that the closer competition got into his head, too. On the plus side, he finished spring training on a positive note, striking out the side in yesterday's game against the Nationals.
4. Aside from the obvious concerns regarding Masahiro Tanaka's elbow, now there is some concern about his diminished velocity. A few weeks ago, he said that his velocity was down because he was working on his two-seamer, and now he's saying that his velocity could be down all season. He's trying to relax more when he throws, and obviously is trying to protect his arm in the process. Tanaka by no means had a bad spring, but didn't pitch as well as last year (14.2 IP, 13 H, 5 ER, 2 HR, 13 K). Considering that he does have a partially torn UCL, we probably should lower our expectations moving forward.
5. The Yankees took a gamble when they signed Carlos Beltran to a three-year deal last offseason, and the first year didn't go their way. While struggling with bone spurs in his elbow, Beltran put together one of the worst seasons of his career. He had surgery over the offseason, and his elbow is said to be healthy now, but he still had a tepid spring, hitting just .225/.289/.275 in 40 chances. Here's hoping that the veteran will find a way to heat up in April.
What were your biggest disappointments of spring training and what are your biggest concerns moving forward?