5 Yankees stories fans eager to see unfolding during spring training

Aaron Judge at Yankees spring training venue George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.
John Allen
Friday February 10, 2023

Table of Contents

The Yankees are able to retain Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, and most of their big faces from the 2022 season. They also added a few more in their run-up to the spring training. After getting Carlos Rodon, the Yankees now boast one of the best starting rotations in the majors. However, still, they have many unknowns to resolve during their spring training.

Let’s find out five things Yankees fans are waiting to see them unfolding during the team’s spring training.

#1: Who will be the starter No. 5?

Frankie Montas won’t be on the Yankees roster until the end of April. The team needs a replacement who can start at No. 5 and that face is likely to come up during the spring training.

It’s a bit different from how it used to be. Jameson Taillon and Jordan Montgomery are no longer there, but Gerrit Cole is still there. Carlos Rodon was the big free agent signing, and he will go into the rotation at the No. 2 spot.

Cole and Rodon, like Nestor Cortes, are always on the team. Luis Severino and Domingo German will probably get some attention, but will the Yankees try out some of their young arms to see what they can do? Clarke Schmidt could start some games, and Michael King, who hurt his elbow last season, will be eased back into his role as a reliever.

#2: Will Anthony Volpe get a chance at shortstop?

Last season, Isiah Kiner-Falefa failed to impress in his defense at shortstop. While his bat wasn’t very good, his fielding turned worse. This has put the shortstop position open for competition. The spring training camp could help manager Aaron Boone and the rest of the team to look closely at the player fit for the position.

IKF will be in the running for the job, but there are so many talented young people waiting in the wings that it seems like one of them will get it. Oswald Peraza is the first one. The young player played in the big leagues at the end of last season and had a chance to know the second baseman better.

However, there is Anthony Volpe ready to enter the competition. Volpe made it to Triple-A in the second half of last season and is the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect. However, his chance of starting out for the RailRiders is not that bright because he had only played a limited number of games at the Double-A level or higher.

Anthony Volpe played shortstop for 127 games and had 449 chances to field the ball. In those 127 games, he made 13 errors out of 449 chances.

Manager Aaron Boone isn’t saying that Anthony Volpe can’t win the Yankees’ shortstop job this spring.

“Obviously we’re really excited about Anthony Volpe and think he’s going to be a really good player for us for a lot of years,” Boone on Yankees Hot Stove. “And we’ll see him in spring training, He’s going to get a lot of reps. He hasn’t had a lot of Triple-A time yet, but you never know. He could still kick the door in and force the onus on us.”

During spring training, the Yankees will be looking for a starting shortstop. 

#3. Who will be the Yankees man on the left field?

Aaron Judge and Harrison Bader will man the Yankees’ right field and center field. But who will take the position on the left field? The Yankees got Andrew Benintendi in the second half of last season, but now they need to find a new player after his departure.

Since the free-agency market doesn’t hold any promise for the Yankees, they have to settle on anyone within their team. And spring training is the opportune moment to find who that will be.

Aaron Hicks is an option, which most Yankees fans don’t like. They could also look at Oswaldo Cabrera. Cabrera usually plays in the infield, but he has shown the team that he can also play in the outfield. But he needs more practice to shine there. Hicks and Cabrera will probably compete with each other to get the Opening Day job.

#4. Will LeMahieu’s return to his earlier form?

The Yankees lost their offensive sheen after LeMahieu missed most of September and wasn’t on the team’s postseason roster following a foot injury. But it looks like LeMahieu and the Yankees avoided a disaster. The player was able to avoid surgery and remains on the course to get ready for the team’s spring training.

Last year, LeMahieu played all over the field, but when his foot hurt, he was only a designated hitter. The Yankees will try to ease him into the game, but they have to see him on the field at some point. Since Giancarlo Stanton is the designated hitter and Anthony Rizzo plays first base, they need to watch him play second and third base during the spring training camp. After his injury, it will be interesting to see if LeMahieu can get back to his All-Star form.

#5. Who holds sway in the crowded infield?

The Yankees had trouble last year because they had a lot of new infielders and seemed to change their lineup every game. Even though it worked out when players got hurt, they need a permanent fix for the crowded infield and fans are eager to see that at their spring training.

Rizzo plays first base, but second base, third base, and shortstop could all be open. Even the catcher spot is not a sure thing. Jose Trevino has the edge, but will Kyle Higashioka continue to be the backup, or the Yankees promote Ben Rortvedt?

Josh Donaldson‘s contract probably means that he will play most of the games at third base. However, if he struggles in spring training and IKF shows that he can play Gold Glove-level defense at third — what he did for the Rangers — the Yankees would love to make changes.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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