We now enter Week Two of spring training, and our second installment of Making the Team Meter. A few days ago, the Yankees made their first round of cuts, eliminating a total of eight pitchers from camp. Some were expected, but a few were surprising. Here's our color guide for tracking who has a chance to make the team on Opening Day:
For the first round of cuts, the Yankees sent several pitching prospects to minor league camp. Names like Vicente Campos, Domingo German (who was hurt), Chad Green, and Kyle Haynes were no surprise, since none of them had much of a chance to make the major league team this year. James Kaprielian didn't have much of a chance either, but it was disappointing to see him go after he got off to a solid start. I figured that Tyler Webb and Brady Lail would get a longer look, since Webb is a lefty and Lail could be called up for rotation depth at some point this year.
I was shocked that Jacob Lindgren was cut so soon, though. He was expected to compete for a major league job, especially now that Aroldis Chapman is suspended to begin the season. Even if he didn't end up making the team, it seemed like Lindgren would stick around for awhile. However, he pitched poorly, and maybe his repaired elbow made the Yankees think twice about pushing him too hard.
Of those that remain in camp, it's clear that Chasen Shreve deserves a spot on the big league team at this point. That would leave three more spots open with Johnny Barbato, Nick Goody, Bryan Mitchell, Branden Pinder, and Nick Rumbelow left to fight for them. Pinder and Mitchell have pitched well, but everyone else has been a mixed bag–at best. Other pitchers like Mark Montgomery and Diego Moreno might stay in the mix, but will likely start the year out in Triple-A. James Pazos has probably pitched his way out of a spot on the team, and they're probably set on lefties as it is, so Richard Bleier and Tyler Olson don't have much of a shot unless someone gets hurt.
Others in the mix include Kirby Yates (who mysteriously disappeared over the last week) and Luis Cessa, who has pitched well so far. Veteran names like Tyler Cloyd, Vinnie Pestano, and Anthony Swarzak will probably get consideration when it comes to midseason fill-in roles.
Based on performance alone, the Yankees should fill the bullpen with Pinder, Mitchell, and Barbato. These three can continue to compete during the regular season until Chapman returns. Goody and Rumbelow will be needed at some point during the season, and another lefty in Lindgren or Pazos can be brought up whenever they need one. The 2016 bullpen will very much be a collaborative effort, even though they have the Big Three in there for much of the year. We should be seeing many of these pitchers over the next few months. Now let's just see how things shake out to start the season.