Although Spring Training means essentially nothing to regular season play and is just a tuning of veterans and a chance for young players to show what they’ve got, it is fun to see the Yankees start off 3-0. As one of those nerds that refuses to even miss a Spring Training game, I figured I would go through who’s playing well and who isn’t, for all you out there that have actual jobs and all that boring stuff.
C Jorge Saez
Uhhh Jorge Saez? Who?! Yeah, my thoughts too, but the 27 year-old catcher has emerged as a Spring Training stud so far for the Bombers. Although just a career minor league slash of .236/.326/.380 and not making it above Double-A, Saez has been ripping the ball this February, going 2 for 5 at the dish including driving in the 2 game-winning runs against the Tigers in the Yankees first game. Although Saez is far down on the list of guys to possibly backup El Gary, I think all of us here in Yankees Universe are pretty sick of that Austin Romine guy.
C Kyle Higashioka
Another catcher ripping the cover off the baseball, Higgy has gone 3 for 4 with a .800 OBP to start his campaign. Higashioka seems more likely to take over the backup catcher role than Saez, but please God anyone besides Austin Romine.
2B/SS Tyler Wade
So after being pretty much impossible to watch last season, Jacoby Ellsbury’s long lost twin has kind of figured it out at the plate. After working on his swing with Albert Pujols over the offseason, I’m not saying he’s basically the next Albert Pujols now, but he pretty much is. Wade has also gone 2 for 5 this spring, but let’s not forget this is a guy that has hit a career .343 in 67 Spring Training at-bats compared to .155 in 58 career major league at-bats.
RHP Ben Heller
Although he has only pitched 2 innings to this point, Heller was impressive last Friday against the Tigers, striking out three and showing improved control. Heller looks to fight for a bullpen job to start the season, and he’s done a great job so far. In a pen stacked with right handed relievers, Heller will need to keep producing if he wants a role.
LHP Jordan Montgomery
“Gumby” aka “Monty” aka “Andy Pettite Lite” might be my favorite guy to watch so far. Although Aaron Boone only teased us for 2 innings, Montgomery brought out something we haven’t ever seen from him: his change-up. I don’t know if he just wanted to tease us last year or challenge himself, but Monty was a stud last season without even throwing his best pitch. Seriously, if you haven’t seen Jordan Montgomery’s change, it’s enough to make a grown man cry. It also doesn’t hurt that he picked up the win and 2 strikeouts against the Phillies.
LHP Justus Sheffield
Okay, so that three run bomb he let up to Maikel Franco wasn’t too fun, but speaking of making a grown man cry, can we talk about Justus Sheffield’s slider? To rack up his first strikeout of 2018, Sheffield threw a slider that swept from the outside corner of the plate that almost hit the kneecap of Tommy Joseph as he swung through it looking as confused as baseball fans when hearing all the deals the Marlins have made this offseason. Don’t worry, I’ll drop the video below. Again, ignore the Franco blast and enjoy that slider. Currently working on a bot with a Severino fastball, Monty change and Sheffield slider.
Justus Sheffield’s first K of 2018 on this absolute beauty of a slider 🔥🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/cXOgiJjOvj
— 27 Rings and Counting (@27RingsPodcast) February 25, 2018
OF Estivan Florial
This spring doesn’t mean all too much for Florial, and I don’t mean to pick on the kid, but a 1 for 7 start isn’t ideal. It is Spring Training, but I figure if I can get excited about everyone else, I can be pretend upset with Florial. On the plus side, when Florial did get on base that one time, you could see how freaking fast the kid is. Florial is still the next big thing, don’t you worry.
OF Jacoby Ellsbury
Ellsbury hasn’t been too awful this spring, going 1 for 4 with a .400 OBP, but I figured we have to rip on Ellsbury to fulfill our obligations as Yankees fans. I know we’re all super pumped the organization is paying a 34 year-old Ellsbury 22 million dollars to ride the bench. It ain’t Ellsbury’s fault for getting paid though, and I think we can all agree we’d take ¼ of that salary to ride the pine for the Yanks. However, let’s not blame CashGod for this one; he’s done more than enough to make up for it.
Like I expressed in the beginning, Spring Training doesn’t mean much, especially record wise. But, it is fun to see the Yankees already starting off the right way in the W column. Guys like Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius and Brett Gardner have yet to take the field, so look for that in the coming weeks. Coming up tonight, Sonny Gray toes the rubber for the first time with El Gary behind the plate. First pitch at 6:35 PM under the lights against the Phillies. Go Yanks!