Spring Training begins in just three short weeks for the New York Yankees. Here are three position battles to keep an eye on throughout February and March.
Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and Luis Severino are all starting rotation locks barring injury. But, the fifth starting pitcher position needs to be decided between JA Happ and Jordan Montgomery, if Happ isn’t traded.
In 2019, Happ wasn’t great. His ERA was near five, but somehow managed a 12-8 record. He has a year left on his contract, but is also 37 and his arm is fading.
Jordan Montgomery missed the majority of the 2018 and 2019 seasons due to Tommy John surgery, but is ready to go in 2020. He had a 3.88 ERA in 2017, his rookie season. Montgomery finished 6th that season in rookie of the year voting.
Going into the spring, I believe that Montgomery has the upper hand.
The utility position would be decided between Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada, but it may be Wade’s to lose.
He played a bit better last year for the Yankees, hitting .245 in 94 at-bats. He is such a good defender, versatile, and one of the fastest guys in the MLB.
Estrada hit .250 in 64 at-bats, but isn’t quite as fast or as good of a defender. He is still very versatile, being able to play four positions. But, Wade can play six.
The race for the extra outfielder will between Mike Tauchman and Clint Frazier, with Tauchman having an early advantage.
Tauchman was great last year, batting .277 and driving in 47 runs in just 260 at-bats. His defense is pretty solid and has some speed, stealing six bases in 2019.
Clint Frazier is an offensive force, but his defense is very questionable. Frazier hit .267 with 38 RBIs in 225 at-bats. His stats are skewed due to being ice cold in September. He could however be moved by the end of the spring.