We’re still only a week in, but the 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 Michael Pineda to Masahiro Tanaka.
Almost every player who has something to prove on the pitching staff has done their job, and here’s a rundown of those jobs so far:
Masahiro Tanaka is Scheduled for Opening Day:
There was early panic in Yankees’ Universe when Tanaka was questionable for Opening Day, still recovering from off season surgery. The tide has changed as Tanaka threw two scoreless innings in his first outing and is back on track for Opening Day assuming no setbacks.
Nathan Eovaldi Threw Live Simulation:
Eovaldi was shut down last season with elbow soreness but has said the issue hasn’t bothered him for months. He was slowed down this spring with groin soreness and panic ensued. All is well for the righty, however, as he has since thrown a live bullpen to no setbacks and will make his first spring start on Thursday, putting him back on track to start the season with the team.
Michael Pineda Pitched as Well as he Looks:
Big noise in the “Early Impression” department was Pineda looked ready to go from the day he arrived. No weight issues, no attitude problems, no adjustment periods, he just looked built. Pineda stepped on the mound on Monday and threw two scoreless innings in dominant fashion, including no runs and three strikeouts.
James Kaprielian Aced His Debut:
In his first real professional action, Kaprielian made quick work of another team and fired two scoreless innings. Kaprielian is considered a Severino sequel of sorts and can be a fast riser if he stays healthy in 2016. By all accounts, he will have a lot of eyes on him this spring and by all accounts those eyes were a little wider after his first appearance.
Bryan Mitchell Makes an Early Case to Make Us Forget Adam Warren:
The logical replacement to act as a swing man who can dominate middle relief innings is Bryan Mitchell even though I personally think he’s awful. Mitchell is the right age, with the right experience and at 24-years-old entering his third season, it’s probably not fair to write the book on him yet. Mitchell threw 11 solid innings in 2014 before pitching to a 5+ ERA in 29 innings last season. By this age, Adam Warren had given up six runs in 2.1 major league innings, so it’s not an exact, fair comparison. Still, Mitchell is the heir apparent since he’s stretched out and can start and relieve with ease, and he threw two scoreless innings to start his spring. It’s a start.
The New Guys are Hungry:
If you’re seriously worried about replacing Justin Wilson’s numbers, a painfully small sample size in early March may help you out. The Yankees brought in: Luis Cessa, Johnny Barbato, Vicente Campos and Tyler Olson to essentially fight with some homegrowns for two bullpen slots and provide starter depth. Those four have combined to throw: 8IP, 0ER, 3H, 2BB and 8K so far. You’re never comfortable until you have a sure thing, but the Yankees have been building bullpens from spare parts and the farm system for over a decade and it doesn’t seem to be suddenly ending this season.