The New York Yankees picked up their 11th loss of spring training against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday evening 9-6, and while the game wasn’t televised, we still have plenty of takeaways to break down ahead of the regular season.
The Bombers featured the majority of their expected starters for opening day, including DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson, Oswaldo Cabrera, and Oswald Peraza.
The Yanks still have a few position battles unfolding, notably in left field, but the shortstop job seems to be Peraza’s to lose, despite manager Aaron Boone indicating that Volpe is being seriously considered for a 26-man roster spot.
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Good news for the Yankees:
The most glaring positive from the loss was the performance of Clarke Schmidt, who had arguably the best pitching performance of any Yankee this spring. Over 5.0 innings, he struck out seven batters, not allowing a hit or an earned run. This was by far Schmidt’s most lethal performance, and the Yankees are hoping to get that version of him during the regular season, especially with Carlos Rodon and Frankie Montas missing time. Aside from Schmidt, the pitching was a bit disappointing, which we will discuss in detail a bit later.
As for the Yankees’ offense, DJ LeMahieu tallied two hits across four at-bats, scoring two runs. Judge earned a hit and an RBI, a double in the 1st inning that drove in LeMahieu. Giancarlo Stanton is starting to heat up, recording a hit, a walk, and posting two RBIs over three at-bats. Even Josh Donaldson got on the board with a hit and RBI.
As a unit, the Yankees tallied seven hits and struck out just seven times, with the majority of their starters contributing efficiently. Peraza is starting to heat up, which is exactly what the Yankees want, given he comes with gold glove level defense as his floor. Peraza is hitting .227 with a .370 OBP this spring, posting two hits, a homer, one RBI, and two runs in his last two appearances combined.
Aside from the primary starters, top outfield prospect Jasson Dominguez posted yet another hit, increasing his average to .455 with a .520 OBP and 1.045 slugging percentage. Dominguez has been arguably the Yankees’ best spring training player, which is exciting despite the fact he will start the 2023 season in the minor leagues.
Bad news for the Yankees:
While we are on the topic of Jasson Dominguez, it is important to note that the Yankees assigned him to minor-league camp after Thursday’s loss. Dominguez may have posted elite spring training numbers, but he still needs more development, and the Yankees are keen on starting him in Double-A, having played just five games there last year.
However, I wouldn’t be surprised if he quickly elevated to Triple-A Scranton, putting himself in a position to be called up down the stretch for the Bombers late in the season once prospects can’t accumulate any service time.
Most of the bad news falls in the pitching department, with top lefty bullpen arm Wandy Peralta giving up three earned runs and three hits without collecting an out.
Albert Abreu gave up an earned run and two hits across 1.1 innings, and Jimmy Cordero also gave up two hits and a run. Seemingly, the bullpen struggled to follow up Schmidt’s excellent performance.
Luckily, these games don’t matter, and most of the pitchers are simply trying to work out a few kinks in their armor and progress through their throwing programs. The Yankees will take on the Detroit Tigers at 1:05 PM on Friday afternoon to try and get back in the win column.