After dealing with an injury scare when Jacoby Ellsbury was hit on the wrist by a pitch earlier today, the Yankees made their second round of roster cuts today. Ellsbury turned out to be fine, so the team can worry about other important matters, instead of wondering how they could go on without their center fielder. Last week they cut 17 players from camp, including relief prospects Jacob Lindgren, Aaron Judge, James Kaprielian, and Jorge Mateo. This time around, with most of the kids gone, the Yankees removed a few of the unlikelier candidates from camp in order to concentrate a little more on who will make the Opening Day roster.
The Yankees cut pitchers Mark Montgomery, Tyler Cloyd, Vinnie Pestano, and Richard Bleier. Montgomery used his time with the team to get himself back onto the radar after several seasons of being dismissed by Yankees brass. I think his performance has warranted some consideration going forward. It was obviously not enough to make him a real possibility, but he deserves a chance at some point during the season, so long as he stays healthy and effective. Cloyd and Pestano have big league experience and will fill out the Triple-A bullpen, while Bleier represents a left-handed option over the long season.
Out of all those cut today, Ben Gamel likely has the most upside as a potential fourth outfielder and rising prospect in the system. With Mason Williams still on the disabled list and Slade Heathcott a constant injury risk, there's a good chance that Gamel could see some time in the big leagues this year in a role off the bench. Once considered potential fits for the Opening Day roster, Jonathan Diaz and Donovan Solano have been sent packing, and could receive plenty of playing time in the Scranton infield this season. The rise of Rob Refsnyder at third base this spring changed everything for these two, giving them no chance at making the major league team. If Refsnyder proves he can get the job done at second and third base, he should hit enough to be a better option than either of them.
These roster cuts leave the bullpen battle between Chasen Shreve, James Pazos, Bryan Mitchell, Nick Rumbelow, Nick Goody, Johnny Barbato, Diego Moreno, Anthony Swarzak, Kirby Yates, Tyler Olson, Branden Pinder, and Luis Cessa–all of whom are fighting over four roster spots. The Yankees will probably not have an official fifth outfielder with Aaron Hicks and Dustin Ackley on the team, so Chris Denorfia, Slade Heathcott, and Cesar Puello don't have much of a chance to make the team out of spring training. The 25th roster spot will go to an infielder, which is now down to Refsnyder, Pete Kozma, or Ronald Torreyes at this point.
Choose four relievers and one infielder from those listed above. Who do you think is making the team?