In the same style, the Yankees brass knew well before the season ended last year that Joe Girardi would be replaced, the make-up of the 25-man roster heading North also seems to have been pre-determined, even before Spring Training began. Not to worry though as it’s not such a bad thing.
It’s never a bad thing to have a plan in mind before a scheduled event takes place. For the Yankees, the 2018 version of Spring Training has almost been a non-event in the way it’s playing out. Previous predictions as to who would make the team never materialized as Show And Tell players like Justus Sheffield, Gleyber Torres, and Chance Adams have already been given a ticket to Scranton/Wilkes Barre in Pennsylvania to begin the season at Triple-A.
The developments barely shocked anyone as Torres displayed his “youngness” by pressing on his innate talents to the point where the Yankees had to end his pain before his confidence was further destroyed.
Sheffield, despite having electric stuff, could not command his pitches in the zone and was lit up to the tune of an 11.81 ERA. And Adams, well, who really knows about Adams? All we know is what he showed, which wasn’t much, tossing only 4.2 innings while surrendering nine hits and six runs and tendering an ERA of 11.87, topping Sheffield on the negative side of things.
Clint Frazier, who had hoped to snare a spot in the crowded outfield, has been limited to only two at-bats after suffering a concussion and is still under close watch by team doctors. Billy McKinney has been given a good look, appearing in 15 games and impressing with four home runs and 11 RBI. Mckinney’s not so impressive .179 batting average has also been offset by a .395 on-base percentage, putting him in line to be on the list of final cuts just before Opening Day.
Both Frazier and McKinney would be a cinch to be in the starting lineup for three-fourths of the other 29 teams. Such is the plight of a good many of the talented position players in the Yankees farm system who are blocked and will probably remain blocked for some time.
That’s not the case when it comes to starting pitching, though, and while the rotation is set for this year, there will be at least one opening next season unless CC Sabathia can continue to challenge the Gods of Age putting up another stellar year in his Hall of Fame repertoire.
Domingo German appears to be the next man up to audition for a job in the Yankees starting rotation. German is no youngster and will turn 26 in August, but he has the makeup (read command and composure) the Yankees look for. His spring has drawn the attention of the Yankees with 13 strikeouts in 11 innings pitched while allowing only four bases on balls. Previously looked upon as a reliever, his two recent starts compel the team to stretch German out at Triple-A where, if all goes well, he’ll be available if any of the starters falter or gets injured.
Switching back to the position players, Tyler Wade (.310 BA, .410 OBP) is a cinch to make the team with an excellent chance to begin the season as the Yankees second baseman. Tyler Austin has impressed with four home runs and has an outside chance to make the team as an alternate for Greg Bird at first base. Currently, the Yankees are auditioning Austin at first base as a converted outfielder.
And then, there’s Miguel Andujar, who began the spring in spectacular fashion with four bombs that caught the eye of everyone as the spark that would land him the job at third base over newly acquired Brandon Drury. Since then, Andujar has quieted down while Drury has perfected his imitation of the now departed, Chase Headley, hitting .279 with a .351 OBP.
Andujar would appear to be the odd man out as Brian Cashman is leaning to established major leaguers over the tenuous development of rookies at this level while the Yankees are on the cusp of a serious drive to their 28th World Championship. The recent signing of veteran Neil Walker essentially gives away the mindset of the Yankees brass, at least for the moment.
To summarize, the Yankees are taking the conservative approach to filling out their team as Opening Day nears. And as a result, the dreams of many to make this Yankees team are squashed at least temporarily, if not forever.
Some will ride it out amidst complicated rules to become Rule Five draft eligible shortly. Or, like Dustin Fowler, who is now competing for a starting job with the Oakland A’s after being traded as part of the Sonny Gray deal, the pinstripes are long forgotten and the dream now is to crack the ice to begin a full-fledged major league career – anywhere.
These players, previously mentioned plus more in the lower levels of the Yankees system, can hope that when July rolls around and Brian Cashman is looking to add the one or two pieces, the Yankees need to make the run to a world title that they are in the mix of being included in a trade, granting them a new lease on their baseball life.
For others, the dream of wearing the pinstripes will not abate. One opportunity this spring has passed them by, but in baseball, just as there’s always another game to play tomorrow, there’s still another opportunity just around the corner.
And these are the baseball stories worthy of following, especially with regards to what is happening in Pennsylvania as soon as the Triple-A season begins on April 6 where the next phase of these young men’s career will begin.
To close this one out, here’s a hype you up video to get you set for the 2018 season I found on YouTube…
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