We are finally here. Baseball is back! While the results of the games aren't technically meaningful, there will be baseball on TV again and what more could we ask for? With the Yankees opening spring training against the Detroit Tigers, in just over an hour, here are some things to look out for and expect...
Aaron Boone & the Coaching Staff
There will be many unfamiliar faces on the Yankees' coaching staff this year. Here are the changes made heading into the 2018 season:
Manager: Aaron Boone
Bench Coach: Josh Bard
1B coach: Reggie Willits
3B coach: Phil Nevin
Hitting Coach: Marcus Thames
Assistant Hitting Coach: P.J. Pilittere
It’s going to feel strange not seeing familiar faces such as Rob Thompson and Tony Pena on the field or in the dugout, however, this new coaching staff brings a much younger feel to the clubhouse, which is the direction the Yankees were determined to pursue. As far as Boone is concerned, don’t pay too much attention to the bullpen moves he makes down in Tampa. In a spring training game, most moves are already coordinated before the game starts, especially early on. His main objective is to allow his guys to get their work in. It will be exciting to see him walk out to the mound for the first time, though.
The 2nd Base Cluster
If all goes well, Gleyber Torres will be the Yankees starting second baseman come mid-April. The only reason he likely won’t be on the Opening Day roster, barring any unexpected soreness or injury, will be due to the importance of his service time. If Torres spends just 12 days in the minor leagues to start the season, the Yankees have control over him for an additional year. Something none of us see the Yankees passing up on. Now, even though Torres is supposed to be a perennial all star in the future, he hasn’t played a game at the Major League level. The job is certainly his to lose, however, it isn't impossible for someone to outshine him and win the position.
The other candidates include:
**Side Note: NYY Sports Talk fully believes Brandon Drury will also compete at 2B for temporary purposes at the start of the season, while Torres finishes his service time.**
It should be fun to see those four playing their hardest and competing to make the big league club. For those who find spring training boring, there’s plenty of reasons to watch in 2018.
Lastly, there will be many players trying to make there way onto the Yankees' bench. With the trade of Jabari Blash, it seems as though the Yankees will have one more bench spot open for the taking. It will likely be filled with a 1B/OF, such as Tyler Austin. Similarly, the last bullpen spot could be up for grabs as well. While it wouldn’t be a stretch for Chasen Shreve to remain in the bullpen, the Yankees have many talented arms, so the lefty might have to channel his inner “first half of 2015” self if he wants to secure his spot in the Yankees stacked bullpen.
Well, now you’re ready to indulge in some spring training action. Remember! Even if the Yankees get blown out today, that’s no indication of how their season will go, stay calm and enjoy. It’s just spring training. Just be happy that, like I said, baseball is back, and the Yankees' chase for 28 begins TODAY!