TAMPA, FL - MARCH 28: Eddy Rodriguez #70 of the New York Yankees celebrates a win over the Detroit Tigers during a Spring Training Game on March 28, 2016 at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa, Florida. The Yankees defeated the Tigers 3-2. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
But RJ, it’s only the second game of the season why are you already thinking about September? Because I can that’s why. Here are a few kids I could see getting the call when the rosters expand for the final push toward number 28. The obvious names (Rob Refsnyder, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez) I won’t go into detail about. They should all be in pinstripes come September, if not before.
Cesar Puello saw regular playing time during Spring Training and wasn’t too shabby. Being an outfielder didn’t help the 25 year old since the outfield is overcrowded, but he hit .278 in 24 spring games. If he can stay healthy, he could be called upon for some bench depth.
Dustin Fowler is a guy the Yanks really like and could see some time in the Bigs this year. He hit .318 in 15 spring games and is another victim of the crowded outfield. He spent time in Charleston and Tampa last season, hitting .298 between the two with 18 stolen bags. He could provide a base running threat for the team late in the year.
Jake Cave was returned by the Reds yesterday after not making their roster. He hit .255 in 26 spring games for Cinci, but lost out on an outfield job once Tyler Holt was recalled. He hit .278 with 17 stolen bases in 132 games between Double-A and Triple-A last season. He’ll start the year in Trenton, but don’t expect him to stay too long. Scranton and a call to the Bigs are waiting.
Jorge Mateo could get the call solely to steal bases, sort of a Rico Noel type role. With the legs of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann on the roster, the team will definitely need some pinch runners to create scoring opportunities. With 82 total stolen bags last season, Mateo has most certainly has earned it.
James Kaprielian was drafted 16th overall last June and has been flying through the organization. Three of his four starts last season were in the New York-Penn League, and he shined. He allowed just 2 runs on 8 hits in 9 innings, walking 2 and striking out 12. His other start came in the Gulf Coast League, where he over matched batters in his 2 innings of work. He earned an invite to Spring Training and could skip the South Atlantic league altogether and go straight to High-A Tampa to start 2016. If he continues to impress, he could be in Double-A during the season with a bump to Triple-A and September call up not completely out of the realm of possibilities.