Spring Training is quickly approaching the halfway point for Major League Baseball, and for the New York Yankees, it has been a Spring Training of ups and downs. The Yankees entered the season with questions in the rotation and several positions. These first two weeks have brought more questions than answers. A plague of injuries to key players has opened the door for players to make the opening-day roster that might not have previously been. The good news for the Yankees is that many of their minor-league players have shown they are ready to progress toward the big-league roster.
Spring Training Questions Mounting
Spring Training is Depleting the Rotation
Spring training opened with news that Frankie Montas, a key acquisition from the trade deadline last season, would probably be out the whole season. Montas was anticipated to be a key piece of the rotation this year, but recently disclosed he was not healthy when traded last season from the Oakland A’s.
Just a few days later Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes was pulled from the World Baseball Classic with a “tweaked” hamstring. After the announcement, there was seemingly a collective groan from Yankees fans. Just last week, Carlos Rondón, who was the second-biggest signing behind the returning Yankees captain Aaron Judge, was announced to have a forearm strain, and will not be ready for Opening Day.
This is, of course, a devastating blow to the Yankees Opening Day plans.
Options for After Spring Training
In terms of Montas’s injury, the Yankees have seemingly found his replacement to start the season. Going into the spring, two pitchers were being talked about to compete for the starting spot. Those two pitchers are Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt.
As Spring Training has moved along, only one of the two has seemed to excel toward being the fifth starter. Domingo German has had a solid Spring Training. It is a small sample being Spring Training and having limited outings however he is zoned in.
Schmidt, on the other hand, has squashed his opportunity with a dismal Spring Training, possibly costing him a chance to even fill in a short time for Rondón. He will need to close Spring Training strong to be considered for a rotation spot down the road.
Spring Training Claims Bader to Injury
With injuries mounting up in the rotation, the last thing the Yankees needed to have was an injury to an everyday player. But that is exactly what happened as the Yankees got an oblique injury to Harrison Bader.
Bader, another trade deadline acquisition from last year, was poised to be a major boost to the Yankees lineup, but will instead be out for at least six weeks.
There is good news, though. Oswaldo Cabrera is ready to step in and fill the role. Cabrera burst onto the scene late into the season last year and added a jolt to a slumping Yankees squad. He was already poised to replace Aaron Hicks if Hicks were to have a bad Spring or start the season out slow. Now, he is almost guaranteed a roster spot for opening day with the injury to Bader.
All in all, it’s the New York Yankees, and although the days of George Steinbrenner are long gone, the winning ways he instilled are still intact. Spring has shown just deep the Yankees squad is, and a youth movement is on the horizon. Names like Jasson Dominguez and Anthony Volpe are names to look out for to cover some injuries and replace slumping players as the season progresses.
Between the all-star talent, and the players starting to make names for themselves, Yankee fans should be in for a fun and long ride in October. Could this be the year the Yankees get past the Houston Astros? On paper, the argument can be made. However, the Astros are still the World Champs and hold the edge.
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