As you all probably know by now, Major League Baseball is on its way back!
On July 1st, teams across the league will begin reporting to their “Spring Training” camps, which in most cases is happening right at the team’s regular season ballpark. Teams will prepare for the start of the 2020 season, which is scheduled to begin around July 23-24.
Due to the circumstances, Major League Baseball has implemented some new rule changes for the 2020 season. One of the important changes involves the amount of the players on the active roster.
On Opening Day, teams will be allowed to have 30 players on their active roster. This change is aimed to help teams limit injuries early on (especially in regards to pitchers’ workload).
However, although the 30-man roster is in place early on, it is not a full-season move. Two weeks into the season, the roster will be shortened to 28 players. A month into the season, teams will have to reduce their rosters to 26 players, the number that was initially agreed upon prior to the pandemic.
The Yankees have a lot of depth, which is definitely a good thing to have. The organization will be able to carry some players on their Opening Day roster that would have been tough cuts off the 26-man squad.
Yes, we’re a few weeks from the actual start to the season, but it’s never too early to start looking at the Yankees projected roster!
Be mindful- we’re projecting this roster assuming that everyone is healthy.
Starting Pitchers (6)
Breakdown: Cole, Tanaka, Paxton and Happ are essentially locked in to the roster. Prior to the pandemic, the Yankees had a battle brewing for the fifth rotation spot. Montgomery and Loaisiga seem to be the most logical solutions, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see both of them make the initial Opening Day roster. One (possibly Loaisiga) could be transitioned to a bullpen role, a role in which could suit him well.
Michael King and Deivi Garcia could also get a look here, but given the team’s depth, it’s probably likely that they will both spend time as part of the team’s Minor League squad.
Important To Note: Domingo German will serve the remainder of his 81-game suspension during the 2020 campaign. Having served part of it during the 2019 campaign, German will be suspended for 63 more games. Multiple reports are stating that German would be postseason eligible once his suspension is completed.
Relief Pitchers (10)
Breakdown: In case you forgot, the Yankees still have one of the best bullpens in baseball. Factoring in either Montgomery or Loaisiga as a reliever, this projected roster gives the Bronx Bombers 11 bullpen arms to use. This will be extremely useful for manager Aaron Boone, as he’ll be able to use a handful of arms to ensure that everyone stays as fresh and healthy as possible.
There definitely could be some debate for the final bullpen spots, and guys like Dan Otero and Ben Heller should get a good look to earn one of those spots. However, in this scenario, we went with Heller for the final spot, considering the Yankees seem to have high hopes for the right-hander.
Breakdown: This position is rather easy. With Austin Romine departing in free agency, Kyle Higashioka will take over the full-time backup catcher duties.
With the ability to carry three “taxi squad” players, the Yankees will have the ability to keep another backstop. Veterans such as Chris Iannetta, Erik Kratz and Josh Thole could all make a case to be the team’s third catcher.
Breakdown: The Yankees definitely have some versatility within their infield group. Guys such as LeMahieu, Andujar and Wade are expected to see playing time at multiple positions, and this gives Boone some flexibility on a day-to-day basis.
There are no real surprises here. With the expanded roster, we were able to keep Mike Ford on the active roster. Ford provides some left-handed pop, and could factor in at first base and in the designated hitter role.
Breakdown: Given the current state of the roster, the Bronx Bombers only need to carry five true outfielders.
Tyler Wade’s defensive versatility definitely helps this team. If needed, Wade can see some playing time in the outfield. And let’s not forget: there’s a possibility that Miguel Andujar can be transitioned as an outfielder at some point.
Clint Frazier was definitely in consideration, but given the roster, Ford got the edge.
The health of the outfield core is the important topic here. It is anticipated that Stanton and Hicks will be ready (or close to ready) come Opening Day, but the status of Aaron Judge is still up in the air. Like the Yankees, we’re all hopeful that Judge is ready to go come the end of July.
In reality: IF they are all healthy (and that’s a big IF), Boone will shuffle between Judge, Hicks, Stanton and Gardner on a daily basis. The designated hitter role will likely be used to give one of those guys a day off from fielding duties.
Position Players: 14
It’s safe to say that this team has a lot of talent and depth.
There a quite a few guys who could make a case to be on the Opening Day roster. It’s not easy to break down the roster to just 30 players, but we did our best to project what the roster could look like on the first day of the season.
In this projection, we kept 16 pitchers to start the season. With the lack of time to fully prepare for the season, it’s expected that additional bullpen arms will be needed now more than ever. With a few extra arms available, Boone can assure that he doesn’t overtax his starting pitchers as well as not overuse his key relievers.
The 14 position players gives the team flexibility to mix-and-match on a daily basis. It also allows them to give guys who have dealt with injuries (such as Hicks, Judge and Stanton) some much needed days off.
We are still a couple weeks away from actual games, and as we saw last season, anything can happen in regards to injuries. However, if this team proves to be healthy, they should definitely compete for a World Series title in 2020.
As the season edges closer, continue to follow the Bronx Pinstripes team for all the latest news, rumors and updates surrounding the New York Yankees.