With spring training just around the bend, the New York Yankees are preparing to head down to Tampa. Pitchers and catchers report in just over a week, but the Yankees are keen on giving some of their youth prospects the opportunity to win starting jobs if not land on the 40-man roster.
Let’s take a look at the non-roster invites this spring and who will be competing.
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Yankees sign 29 non-roster players to MiLB deals with Spring invites:
INF Anthony Volpe
The primary headliner is Anthony Volpe, who climbed his way from Somerset to Scranton last year. After a slow start, Volpe dominated AA and started his AAA tenure with a six-game hitting streak. The Yankees know he’s a quality player that will translate soon. It’s just a matter of when.
C Austin Wells
Another exciting prospect, Austin Wells, could find himself with the major league team later this year. Wells is convinced he will be a catcher at the next level but is eyeing an All-Star appearance in the future. As a lefty hitter with some serious pop to his bat, he could be a luxury at the position with his offensive profile. Defensively, he took a significant step forward in 2022, hich is exactly what the Yankees wanted to see.
OF Willie Calhoun
Calhoun is coming off a 2022 season in which he spent 18 games with the Texas Rangers and four games with the San Francisco Giants. He hit a combined .135 with a .274 OBP. He did hit 21 homers back in 2019, his best season to date. The Yankees will allow him to compete in the outfield, and if he can find his power stroke once again, he could be an asset for the 2023 season.
RHP Tyler Danish
Danish is a right-handed pitcher at 28 years old. He spent 32 games with the Boston Red Sox last season, pitching 40.1 innings and earning a 5.13 ERA. He has MLB experience, at the very least, so he has a prime opportunity to win a roster spot.
INF Wilmer Difo
Difo, 30, last made a legit impact on the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2021. Over 116 games, he hit .269 with a .329 OBP, four homers, and 24 RBIs. He is primarily an infielder but will have to unseat a few promising young prospects to find an opportunity.
RHP Demarcus Evans
Evans, 26, has spent his entire minor-league career with the Texas Rangers. In AAA last season, the right-handed pitcher tossed 33 innings, hosting a 3.82 ERA and 12 strikeouts per nine. His strikeout numbers are exciting, so he could feature with Scranton this season.
RHP Ian Hamilton
The Yankees just signed Ian Hamilton to a minor league deal over the weekend, having spent last season with the Minnesota Twins. He has just one major league appearance, pitching 2.2 innings. Over 28.2 innings in AAA, though, he hosted a 1.88 ERA, showcasing some decent potential the Yankees may be intrigued by.
OF Michael Hermosillo
Hermosillo, a 28-year-old outfielder, played with the Chicago Cubs last year across 31 games. He hit .115 with a .250 OBP. Hermosillo has a career average 33.2% strikeout rate, so his chances of making the roster are slim.
OF Billy McKinney
McKinney is a 28-year-old outfielder who spent last season with the Oakland Athletics. He played in 23 games, hitting .096 with a .158 OBP. He did hit 12 homers back for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2019, but his inability to get on base at above 30% is certainly concerning. While he offers decent defense, his offensive contributions need to see a major spike if he wants to make the roster.
RHP James Norwood
Norwood is a 29-year-old right-handed pitcher spending last season with the Philadelphia Phillies. He pitched 17.1 innings, hosting an 8.31 ERA. He also spent 20.1 innings with Boston’s AAA affiliate, posting a 4.87 ERA. He’s got good velocity on his fastball, but a lack of control has doomed him in the past.
OF Rafael Ortega
One of the more exciting invites is Rafael Ortega, who has a legitimate case to make the roster. At 31 years old, he played 118 games last season with the Chicago Cubs. He hut .241 with a .331 OBP, seven homers, and 35 RBIs. As a lefty, he might be able to take advantage of the short right porch in Yankee Stadium, and a good spring would likely lock him into an opportunity.
LHP Nick Ramirez
Ramirez is a 33-year-old lefty pitcher enjoying 55.1 innings with Seattle’s AAA affiliate last year. He hosted a 2.93 ERA, showing decent stuff that could translate to the MLB level. He’s pitched 110.2 major league innings, struggling when called upon, and given he’s 33 years old, there may not be much left to tap.
LHP Lisandro Santos
Santos, 24, spent the first six seasons of his career with the Atlanta Braves. Last year, he went 4–5 with two saves, earning a 4.09 ERA in High-A Rome and AA Mississippi.
LHP Tanner Tully
Tully experienced his first MLB action last season with the Cleveland Guardians. He pitched six innings, giving up four runs. The Yankees don’t have many lefty bullpen arms, so Tully does have an opportunity to land on the roster, having signed as a minor league free agent in December.
INF Jamie Westbrook
Westbrook is a decent player, hitting .248 with a .349 OBP, 11 homers, and 48 RBIs last year with Detroit’s AAA affiliate. His 16% strikeout rate and 10.6% walk rate are also solid, so he could be an exciting prospect to feature in Scranton with a bigger goal in mind.
INF Jesús Bastidas
Bastidas, 24, spent six years in the Yankees minor-league system. He spent all of 2022 with AA Somerset, hitting .240 with 18 homers and 55 RBIs. Bastidas is an excellent defensive second baseman and should have a strong spring to showcase his talents.
INF/OF Jake Bauers
Bauers, 27 years old, began the 2022 season with AAA Louisville. He was eventually acquired by the Yankees and spent 32 games with Scranton, hitting .226 with five homers, 16 RBIs, and four stolen bases. The Yankees re-signed him hoping to extract more value, but at 27, he’s running out of time to make the jump.
RHP Matt Bowman
Bowman is another interesting pitcher who didn’t toss a baseball in 2022. He was originally signed by the Yankees in 2020 but suffered Tommy John surgery. He’s made 183 career major-league appearances, hosting a collective 4.02 ERA.
INF Andrés Chaparro
At 23 years old, Chaparro is an exciting player who could make noise during spring training. Last season, he hit a combined .296 with 20 homers, 55 RBIs, and four stolen bases across 71 games with AA Somerset, the FCL Yankees, and Single-A Tampa. Keep an eye on Chaparro as a player to have a nice spring.
C Rodolfo Durán
Duran is another non-roster invite at 24 years old. He spent last year with AA Somerset, hitting .222 with nine homers and 33 RBIs.
C Carlos Narvaez
Catcher prospect Carlos Narvaez has spent six minor league seasons with the Yankees. Last year, he featured with High-A Hudson Valley, hitting .194 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs. He needs to get his batting average up and show more efficient contact.
RHP Ryan Weber
The Yankees also signed veteran relief pitcher Ryan Weber to a contract at 32 years old. Weber pitched 10.2 innings for the Bombers last year, earning a 0.84 ERA. He is a heavy ground ball producer, utilizing a crazy amount of brake on his pitches over velocity.
RHP Sean Boyle
Another pitching prospect, Sean Boyle, hosted a 3.71 ERA across 28 combined games with Somerset and Scranton last year. He may have a legitimate opportunity to take a step forward this spring.
C Josh Breaux
Another catching prospect, Josh Breaux, 25, has spent four minor-league seasons with the Yankees. He hit .219 with nine homers and 50 RBIs last season across 94 games with Somerset and Scranton.
OF Jasson Domínguez
One of the headliners is Jasson Dominguez, who just turned 20 years old. Dominguez hit .273 with 16 homers, 59 RBIs, and 37 stolen bases across 110 games with Tampa, Hudson Valley, and Somerset. These are extraordinary expectations for a player coined The Martian, but he still has ways to go before making his MLB debut.
OF Elijah Dunham
One intriguing outfielder is Elijah Dunham, a 24-year-old lefty that hit .248 with 17 homers and 63 RBIs with Somerset last year. He’s an exciting prospect that could make a legit name for himself over the next few weeks.
C Anthony Seigler
Another catching prospect, Anthony Sigler, 23, spent a season with Tampa and Hudson Valley last year, hitting .236 with seven homers and 45 RBIs. Seigler racks up walks at an extraordinary rate and is capable of hitting for extra-base hits.
LHP D.J. Snelten
Snelten, a 30-year-old veteran that has four major league appearances back in 2018, is also vying for an opportunity.
RHP Mitch Spence
At 24 years old, Spence hosted a 4.70 ERA with Somerset and Scranton last year. He ranked third among Yankees bullpen pitchers in the minor-league system regarding innings pitched.