Friday, February 17, 2017

Do Any Non-Roster Invitees Have a Shot at Making the Team?

The New York Yankees originally invited 25 non-roster players to their spring training camp this offseason with competition being the theme of the spring down at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Do any of these 25 players have a shot at being the next Johnny Barbato and making the big league club out of spring training? Let’s analyze.

First you have to think about the potential roster spots that are available and up for grabs this spring. The first position that comes to mind is the Yankees bullpen, maybe two or three slots are up for grabs, while the Yankees bench also seems wide open at this point for one or two slots.

You can immediately cross of names like Chance Adams, James Kaprielian, Jordan Montgomery, Nick Rumbelow, Justus Sheffield, Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier for a plethora of reasons. Innings in Adams case, innings and injury concerns in Kaprielian’s case, Tommy John surgery in Rumbelow’s case, inexperience in Torres and Frazier’s case, etc. leaving 18 players vying for no more than five possible slots on the Yankees team, although that number could be as low as two spots. Who sticks out as a potential hopeful for making the team?

Ruben Tejada may make the team as a utility infielder thus pushing Ronald Torreyes back to the minor leagues or off the team entirely. The former New York Mets second baseman, still somehow just 27-years old, can play adequate defense at second base, third base and shortstop while potentially carrying a bit of a heavier stick than Torreyes and other spring hopefuls including Pete Kozma and Donovan Solano. Obviously he did not show that heavy stick in his small sample size last season with the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants but he has been a 2.0 WAR player twice during his career with the New York Mets showing that the talent is there. He just has to put in the work.

I have to admit that I shook my head a bit when I saw that the New York Yankees sent relief pitcher J.P. Feyereisen to the Arizona Fall League. Not because he isn’t talented or was undeserving but I guess I let my own ignorance get in the way. Once I actually sat down and did the research on the third piece that came back from the Cleveland Indians in the Andrew Miller trade I saw that Feyereisen actually had a pretty great season in Double-A this season. Feyereisen finished Double-A, presumably anyway, with a 1.70 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP with 78 strikeouts in 58.1 innings of work. Feyereisen was equally as strong in the Arizona Fall League posting a 2.57 ERA and could be at the head of the long line of pitchers looking to fill in the middle relief role for the Yankees this spring. Feyereisen, on second review, is probably my leading candidate for the job assuming he has a strong and healthy spring. Not that my opinion or vote counts for anything, but still. He has it.

And finally ladies and gentleman it’s time for my weekly plug of left-handed starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery. Because why not? I am going to continue to push him down everyone’s throats until he is in the Major Leagues because he is too talented and too close not to reach The Show in 2017, in my opinion of course. There’s nothing saying that Montgomery could not sneak in and steal one of the two Yankees starting rotation spots that could be up for grabs this spring and I’m definitely not going to be the one counting him out. Montgomery, just 24-years old, split the 2016 season between Double-A and Triple-A and seemingly has little to nothing left to prove in the minor leagues at this point. Montgomery finished the season with a 14-5 record and a 2.13 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 139.1 innings of work while an uptick in velocity resulted in 134 total strikeouts across both leagues. Montgomery’s delivery is fluid and his command is almost pinpoint so when you think about this uptick in velocity you stop thinking about his ceiling being that of a middle-of-the-rotation type starter and you start thinking how much more he can be going forward.

You have to remember that all these men got their invites for a reason. They are young, ready and able to do the job. They just have to go out and do it and if they do they may find themselves squaring off with the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day 2017 in some capacity. Good luck to all three men. 

1 comment:

  1. I always remember how quietly Andy Pettitte came up and how expectations were fairly low. He obviously out-performed those expectations. I think Jordan Montgomery has the same potential. He may never be the pitcher that Andy was, but I think he can make his mark in the Bronx.


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