We’re still only a week in, but the New York Yankees have had very little go wrong for them except for some of the final scores. Spring Training games don’t count and New York is checking off all the challenges between the diamond, from Starlin Castro to Jacoby Ellsbury.
Almost every player who has something to prove on offense has done their job, and here’s a rundown of those jobs so far:
Starlin Castro’s Second Base Arrival:
Castro has been playing well on both sides so far. He has already made brilliant plays and showed excessive range at second base with no errors and he’s come up with some hard hit balls and driven in a couple of runs on offense. Castro is acclimating well early on, as he attempts to prove he’s a long-term solution at second base for the Yankees.
Julio Mateo‘s Overall Arrival:
This is Julio Mateo’s Spring and we’re all trying to gather sorted information about it. In Mateo’s first game, he drove a ball off the wall in left field and caught criticism because he didn’t score. That’s how fast he is. In his second game he corrected the issue by almost reaching second on a spring by the time his homerun hit the scoreboard. Mateo is hitting early and making an impression, something which may earn him a September call up as a pinch-runner, something Jorge Posada humorously did in the 1995 ALDS.
Rob Refsnyder‘s Campaign For the Final Roster Spot:
Unlike this time two weeks ago, we know the basic stakes for the final roster spot. They need to be able to play third base. The Yankees will be taking 13 position players with them once Spring Training breaks and 11 of them are pretty much already decided. The Austin Romine–Gary Sanchez bout for backup catcher is likely to last all spring, but Rob Refsnyder has the inside track on the final roster spot to join Dustin Ackley and Aaron Hicks on the bench.
Refsnyder has passed all the defensive tests at third base (in only one game, but he made two nice plays) and continues to prove he can hit. If Refsnyder plays a competent third base, he’s very likely to make the roster as a player who can play second and third, leaving Ackley as the main man for first and the outfield, as well as second if Castro plays short.
Aaron Judge Still has Scary Power:
Judge is 1/5 with three strikeouts, which is not encouraging for a guy who needs to prove he can hit AAA pitching before he sniffs the majors, but his one hit left a big impression. Against the Red Sox, Judge hit an offspeed pitch up in the zone opposite way for a home run. The three run shot proved decisive and the power proved impressive, drawing rave reviews from the dugout and anyone watching.
Jacoby Ellsbury Tripled:
Ellsbury fits more into the category of a player who has a secure spot and has nothing to prove except he’s healthy by the end of spring. That’s why when Ellsbury hit a triple, showed full speed and came through with no repercussions the next day, he passed his early test.