Through a little over two weeks into camp, the Yankees are 6-4. Despite the average record, they have had a successful start in player development. Several players have overachieved early on. With the start of the regular season just around the corner, here are five guys that have a chance to make the Opening Day cut:
5. Francisco Cervelli: 2013 was a tough year for Cervelli to say the least. After beginning the year as the Yankees’ starting catcher, Cervelli suffered a broken hand mere weeks into the season. Then, just as he was attempting a mid-season comeback, he was suspended for the remainder of the year due to his involvement in the Biogenesis Scandal. Now, with the Yankees’ signing of Brian McCann, Cervelli finds himself playing for his major league life as a backup to McCann. Cervelli is going up against Austin Romine for the backup job, and so far, it looks as if Cervelli is well ahead of the pack. In four games, Cervelli is batting .556 with one home run. Meanwhile, Romine finds himself hovering below the .200 mark. Cervelli has the experience and a good enough bat to be the perfect backup to Brian McCann, and pending some sort of drastic turnaround, the job is his to lose.
4. Dellin Betances: A prospect who the Yankees once viewed as a potential ace in their future starting rotation, Betances struggled in the minors, and after he had Tommy John surgery, was never the same. The Yankees announced last season that Betances would be converted to a reliever as a result of his struggles. This past September, he was called up and pitched to a 10.80 ERA. The former starter has needed to show vast improvements since then, and so far, he has. In three appearances, Betances has only allowed one hit, and batters are hitting .056 against him. He has also struck out four hitters in 5.1 innings pitched. Don’t be surprised if we see Betances jogging out to the Yankee Stadium bullpen come this April.
3. Dean Anna: The Yankees acquired Anna in late November. He is a 27-year-old shortstop who has never played in the majors. This spring however, he has shown some offensive ability, and flashed some leather as well. While there probably will not be a spot for him on the roster, with Brendan Ryan already backing up Derek Jeter at short, with all the questions surrounding Jeter, the Yankees can never have too much insurance.
2. Adonis Garcia: Another guy who has played well enough this spring to get a look, but probably won’t end up making the team, is Adonis Garcia. Although he is batting .500 this spring and has notched a stolen base, the problem is he plays the outfield, which currently features the most depth for the Yankees. If he continues to play well in the minors however, it’s possible he could be a September call up.
1. Yangervis Solarte: It looks like the Yankees may have found their diamond in the rough here. Yangervis Solarte is a 26-year-old utility player, who also has never made it past Triple-A; and he’s making it clear he has no intention of staying there. In seven games, Solarte is batting .692 with two home runs, six RBI and five runs scored. He has yet to strike out in 13 at-bats. He has also made some incredibly athletic defensive plays as well. While he is primarily a shortstop, Solarte has made it clear he is willing to play anywhere in order to play in the majors. With the Yankees very thin in the infield, he could prove to be a big asset for them. And if Solarte keeps on raking the way he has been, it will be almost impossible for the Yankees to say no to a roster spot. Solarte has made his presence known. Now, it’s all in his hands to grasp that spot on the team.
These are five guys who could all play themselves onto the roster come Opening Day. Feel free to comment with your opinions and/or feedback!