I don’t know about you, but man am I ready for some baseball. Spring Training is always an interesting time of year. We inevitably hear the “best shape of his life” conversations (Gary Sanchez this year) or the “man this kid’s stuff is impressive” (Deivi Garcia). Last year, Gio Urshela came out of nowhere hitting bombs every day, and now he’s our starting third baseman. In a way, anything can happen during spring. Players can prove themselves, or play themselves out of a job. Let’s visit some of the biggest spring training stories so far this season.
Let’s get this one out of the way. Injuries suck, and they are even worse when it’s one of your best pitchers like Sevy, or your best hitter in Aaron Judge. Dont’ forget about Giancarlo Stanton. He’s hurt as well. Bad luck is bad luck and we can only hope the new training staff will start to pay dividends later this season, because I think I speak for all of us when I say I am sick and tired of our best players going down. Let’s just move on from this one.
I was pretty excited in 2018 for Jordan Montgomery to build on his solid rookie season (3.88 ERA with a 2.6 WAR in 155.1 IP in 2017). Unfortunately for the kid, his elbow gave out and he needed Tommy John surgery. Last year was about getting healthy, and this year I think he is going to be a real contributor in the rotation. We have always heard rumblings about players with added velocity after their new ligament, and that has certainly shown true for Monty this spring. Dude is out there hit 95 after us never really seeing that from him.
95, and it’s barely March. I’m excited to see what he can do this year.
The other lefty
Yeah, last season sucked for J.A. Happ. We all know that. I don’t think we can reasonably expect him to bounce back to his career norm (3.99 ERA), however I don’t think Happ was as bad as his results were last season. He was definitely victimized by the juiced ball (career high 34 bombs given up). Even with a modest decrease in his home run rate, I think Happ can get back to being a league average guy. Think 4.2-4.4 ERA or thereabouts. Anything more than that would be gravy. He’s been very impressive so far this spring. Mixing his pitches well, and showing good velocity.
A new outfielder?
I will admit, when people were clamoring for Miguel Andujar to learn the outfield, I honestly didn’t think it was a great idea. He’s not particularly fast, and given his ineptitude in the infield, providing him with a new defensive challenge didn’t seem smart. Since that idea was pitched, we lost Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, and who knows what’s going on with Aaron Judge. Andujar may actually be an option in left field for the Yankees, which at the very least is….interesting. His bat will play anywhere, we know that. If he can prove to be anything less than a disaster in the outfield, that would certainly boost his value. We don’t even need him to be average there. Playable will work. I will be keeping a close eye on him the rest of spring training to see if he continues to look fluid out there. We need all the help we can get,which brings me to our last topic..
Still the bat speed king
Man, Clint Frazier has been around for forever it seems. I honestly forgot how old he was. Turns out he’s only just now entering his age 25 season. Last year was…interesting to say the least. Clint hit one of the biggest home runs of his career in Baltimore last year. I was there with JJ. It was great:
After that however, he developed some defensive issues in the field. I honestly thought his career with the Yankees may be over, but he will probably make the team out of necessity at this point. He changed his batting stance around a bit and has seen some early success this spring. We’ll see if that continues. His bat is certainly real, he just needs to clean up the defensive miscues, and maybe walk a little bit more. Easier said than done, obviously.