The spring training tradition of Pinstripe Alley's Making the Team Meter returns after one week of games to break down the chances of making the team for various players who aren't guaranteed to start the season with the big league club. For those of you who may be unfamiliar, this series is brought to you in two parts weekly by Jason and I. He'll cover the pitchers and you can get information on the hitters here.
Both the hitters and pitchers will be assigned a color from the key below each week, and all players can move back and forth between colors as spring training plays out.
Spring training has been pretty fun so far for fans who enjoy seeing prospects impress alongside the Yankee regulars. Quite a few Baby Bombers have been able to make a strong impression in limited time so far even if their chances of making the team out of camp aren't great.
The backup catcher and backup third baseman jobs are the main spots open for grabs for players this spring. There is a small chance that the team could take a fifth outfielder as a bench option, but that seems less likely at this point.
Rob Refsnyder, Jorge Mateo, Lane Adams, and Austin Romine have gotten off to incredibly hot starts offensively through the first week of games. It may not matter as much for Mateo at this moment because he's headed back to the minors no matter what, but making a strong impression always helps.
For Refsnyder and Romine, especially, they are fighting to make the team. Performing well in spring training is really their only chance of grabbing the last couple of spots on the bench when the team leaves Florida for Opening Day.
Mateo and Aaron Judge have shown off their power with impressive home runs while Refsnyder has been busy demonstrating his base stealing ability. Gary Sanchez might be the team's preference for the backup catcher spot, but he hasn't gotten his swing going so far this spring. Fortunately, there is still plenty of time to turn things around.
The most impressive player from the non-roster invitee bunch has been outfielder Lane Adams. His offense has been solid to this point, although it is early, but it doesn't seem like there is a spot for him on the team out of camp. Aaron Hicks is set to be the fourth outfielder and Dustin Ackely can also fake it in the outfield in an emergency. It seems like an injury is Adams' only chance at making the Opening Day roster.
Another one of the Yankees' shortstop prospects, Tyler Wade, has also been impressive in spring so far. The future certainly seems bright at the position down on the farm. Even though these guys won't be making the team, it's nice to get a look at them in a big league setting.
One thing to keep an eye on will be the progression of Brett Gardner while returning from a bone bruise he suffered in the Wild Card game in October. Wrist injuries can really linger, as we have seen a number of times. If Gardner suffers a setback and Hicks is forced into a starting role, someone else could get a chance to make the team.
Who has impressed you in spring training so far? Who do you think will steal the last couple of spots on the roster?