Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Five Things To Watch for at Spring Training

The Yankees position players report on the 25th, and then the real fun begins. With Spring weather already in New York let's take a look at five things to watch when the entire roster is in camp.

Tanaka in the outfield

1) Pitching Health - So far all eyes have been on Masahiro Tanaka and C.C. Sabathia, who are recovering from injuries. Tanaka has been pessimistic about it chances to start opening day though it is still early. Sabathia has been positive about his sobriety and knee woes. Nathan Eovaldi, who is also recovering from injury, has already hit 100 on radar gun, so his arm doesn't seem to be any issue at this point.

2) Veterans - A lot of the Yankees 2016 sucess will depend on the health and success of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Carlos Beltran. Seeing how the older Vets hold up will help give fans an idea of what to expect from them and the season

3) Young Guns - The Yankees youth movement has been fun to watch and has produced results so far. Luis Severino will be gearing up to start his first full season, the backup catcher job is for Gary Sanchez to lose, James Kaprelian has drawn rave reviews so far, and Judge (who reported early) is mashing dingers and Carlos Beltran under his wing. Getting a glimpse of the future and present, getting hyped is always fun to watch.

4) Aroldis Chapman Suspension - As Spring rapidly approaches Rob Manfred is going to have to make rulings on the punishments of those involved in domestic violence incident's, including Aroldis Chapman. There has been no precedent for domestic violence suspensions, and Manfred is likely to make a statement based on how poorly the NFL handled their cases. Rumors have swirled the Chapman could be barred from Spring Training and today Joel Sherman stated a serious penalty such as 30-40 games could be in the cards as Manfred deals with this. The length of Chapman's suspension will impact how the bullpen is put together.

5) Reinforcements - Big name free agents are still out there but barring major injuries the Yankees aren't likely to sign a Dexter Fowler or Ian Desmond type. Instead, they'll be looking for incremental depth upgrades primarily in the minors. The Yankees always seem to make a pick up that unexpectedly contributes in the majors, so this is something to keep an eye on.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)