Spring Training is a fun time to be a fan of Major League Baseball and it’s especially a good time to be a young player trying to make your way on the path to the show. Unfortunately though teams invite sometimes triple the number of players that they can actually bring with them to Opening Day which means spring training cuts are one of those things that just have to happen. Here are a few predictions for those first waves of spring training cuts. Spoiler alert, most of these are pretty obvious and can only benefit the player from getting a more formal and personal set of work down in the Minor Leagues as they continue their development.
The Yankees invited a ton of their top prospects to camp like many teams do around this time of the year but none of them had a realistic shot at actually making the team. They knew it and the team knew it. These players will benefit from having more one-on-one time and personal time down in minor league spring training camps than being up at the Major League level so I fully expect Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, Jorge Mateo and James Kaprielian to be among the first cuts for the team. That’s not a knock on them as much as it will help them in the long run. They had their cup of coffee, they got their advice and their seasoning and now it’s time to go back down and begin the work and the grind that is the 2017 season.
Another group of players were invited just for the Yankees to have bodies for split-squad games and while players like Didi Gregorius, Tyler Clippard and others were away at the World Baseball Classic. Some had 40 man roster spots and some didn’t, and yes I am aware that everyone on the 40 man roster gets an automatic invite, but the list of players that will be “expendable” and have no shot at making the team once the WBC players return will likely include outfielder Billy McKinney, RHP Yefrey Ramirez, RHP Ronald Herrera and LHP Evan Rutckyj. Jordan Montgomery will live to see another day!
With less pitchers in camp you always see the need of having six-or-seven catchers in camp go down significantly as well so the final group of cuts will likely be from the backstop position. Kyle Higashioka, Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine will remain of course but it wouldn’t surprise me to see three or all four of Francisco Diaz, Kellin Deglan, Wilkin Castillo and Jorge Saez get sent down to minor league camps with the first waves of cuts.