Liam's Spring Training Preview: New York Yankees
It's been around 5 months since the Yankees' season came to bitter end at the hands of their arch rival the Boston Red Sox. With such a disappointing end to their 100 win season, the fans are eager to watch their Yanks get back on the field and redeem themselves. Obviously, the real action doesn't start until the end of March, but knowing that the regular season is just around the corner, as the first spring training game commences, is enough to scratch the itch left by a lack of baseball. So, before our beloved bombers take on the same team that broke their hearts in the ALDS last year I will be going over some things you should be looking out for this spring.
Ah, Greg Bird. We can only wait on him to break out for so much longer. He has certainly shown flashes of being the player he supposedly capable of being, but he has been a big leaguer since the summer of 2015 and he has yet to stay healthy for a full season and consistently play well. This is it for Bird. He has caught a break in the fact that the Yankees' lineup is incredibly right hand dominant. The Yankees are so desperate for a left bat that, instead of Luke Voit being a lock for the starting first base job, they need to at least give greg bird a look to see if he has any future with the Yankees.
Final Bullpen Spot
This one isn't nearly a concern but, it is something that spring training will likely decide. The Yankees will roll into camp with easily the best bullpen in the game, but it isn't completely full just yet. Adam warren and A.J. Cole (yuck) were mainly the two guys the Yankees relied on at the back of their pen for most of 2018. The Yankees have plenty of guys who could end up in that spot.
The Middle Infield
Tulo, Gleyber, LeMahieu. Those are the 3 options and it's up to the Yankees on where those guys will be playing. There are 3 combinations;
Tulo - SS, Gleyber - 2B, LeMahieu - Bench
Gleyber - SS, LeMahieu - 2B, Tulo - Bench
Tulo - SS, LeMahieu - 2B, Gleyber -Bench
The third one clearly isn't happening, but it exists. What the Yanks will go with will depend upon whether they value defense or offense more. Also, they are going to see how Tulo is able to move around at short and if Gleyber is better at shortstop or second base. (Oh, and Tulo actually has to stay healthy)
The Defense of Andujar and Sanchez
I loved Neil Walker probably more than any Yankees fan last year. However, I didn't want to see his name in the lineup in the most important game of the season. Walker being in the lineup was solely due to the fact that Miguel Andujar was a defensive liability. His routes to balls and his arm accuracy were not sights for sore eyes. Miggy was so good offensively, that if he can just become just an average defender, he will be an elite third baseman. As for Gary, he wasn't exactly what you would call a "brick wall" behind the dish last year. His arm was still a sniper, but you have to catch the ball first. Gary needs to silence the haters not only by bouncing back offensively but by improving his defense as well.
Can Clint Break Camp?
It feels like Clint Frazier has been a yankee forever, yet he has only played in 54 games over 2 seasons. We know of his massive potential and his "legendary" bat speed, but a lack of opportunity and concussion symptoms have kept him off the field. Again the Righ-handed predicament comes into play. let's say the yankees went with Voit and Frazier at first base and left field respectively. The only non-right hander in their lineup would be Aaron hicks (switch hitter). I would say there is little chance that we see Clint Frazier on the opening day roster (barring an injury of course), but knowing his personality, it'll probably just light a fire under him.