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Yankees Making the Team Meter: Pitchers - Week Four

Examining where players without guaranteed spots on the Yankees' Opening Day roster stand in their quest to make the team after four weeks of spring training.

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Houston Astros Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

In the final week of spring training, the Yankees have a few roster spots left to fill. The team brought 65 players with them to camp this year. Now that we’re just seven days away from Opening Day, most roster decisions have been made by now. All that is left to determine is who will make the starting rotation and the bullpen. We may not know for certain who is going to make the team right at this moment, but we can certainly make assumptions based on recent performances.

Looking at the legend below will help show us who is most likely to make the roster. There are things we can expect, but sometimes surprises happen. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

The Yankees made a final round of cuts over the last few days, making some decisions a little clearer. They sent Luis Cessa and Jason Gurka down to minor league camp, ending their chances of a roster spot at the major league level. Cessa was a frontrunner for a place in the starting rotation this winter but a poor spring doomed his chances. Jason Gurka was considered a long shot for the role of left-handed specialist.

The team brought Jon Niese into camp on a free agent deal in order to see if he had the ability to make it as a left-handed reliever. He didn’t exactly light the world on fire in the few games he was given, so the Yankees decided to move on and release him.

The competition for the starting rotation comes down to a battle of four pitchers for two spots. Despite what some people have said, Luis Severino is still in the lead for a major league job. He’s certainly had some trouble, but Severino has the most upside out of any of the other options. Chad Green has probably had the best spring out of them all and should get the other spot. Bryan Mitchell fell out of the lead over the last few games and Jordan Montgomery has certainly intrigued, however, his roster status makes him easy to cut.

If we consider that Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Tyler Clippard, and Adam Warren are all guaranteed spots in the bullpen, that means three other pitchers will be heading up north in April. Ben Heller has done everything in his power to earn one of those jobs. After him, Ernesto Frieri, J.R. Graham, Jonathan Holder, and Chasen Shreve are left to fight it out. Neither Holder nor Shreve have done enough to earn a job, while Graham and Frieri have impressed. Unfortunately, neither of them have roster spots right now, so we’ll just have to wait for a final decision.

One battle that has been definitively decided is the competition for the left-handed specialist role. Tommy Layne has long been considered the frontrunner, and now that Gurka and Niese have been cut, his place on the team has only been solidified.