Yankees Editorial: Can The Yankees Have A Youth Movement All Over The Diamond?


The New York Yankees are attempting to get younger and create a new core for the future. However, they still have several players on the big league roster who are signed to big contracts and will undoubtedly begin the season as starters.

Chad Jennings of LoHud wrote about the current starters and there potential replacements. Here is our list.


Current: Brian McCann, signed through 2018

Potential Replacements: The Yankees appear to have a surplus of catching prospects, some of whom are in the upper levels of the minor leagues and could be closing in on Major League consideration. However, the fact that McCann is under contract for the next four seasons could make it more difficult for prospects like Gary Sanchez and John Ryan Murphy to establish themselves in the show.

Sanchez is considered their best catching prospect, but Murphy will compete for the back-up catcher job this coming year and in turn has a chance to make a name for himself more quickly.

First Baseman:

Current: Mark Teixeira, signed through 2017

Potential Replacements: Though Kyle Roller had a solid season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, Greg Bird is making his presence known.

Bird had a good 2014 season, hitting .271/.376/.472 with 14 home runs (including seven in 27 Double-A games) and 43 RBIs. He then participated in the Arizona Fall League where he was named Most Valuable Player. He will likely open the 2015 season back in Double-A, but at the rate he’s going, he could continue to climb up the ranks and be in the big leagues sooner than expected,

Second Baseman:

Current: Stephen Drew, signed through 2015

Potential Replacements: When the 2014 season ended, many believed that the Yankees would hold a Spring Training competition between Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela for the second base job. This changed when the team brought Drew back on a one-year-deal.

On the other hand, if Drew should have a poor start to the season, he could be cut loose and Refsnyder or Pirela could take over. Both players had excellent seasons in the minor leagues.

Refsnyder was one of the Yankees top prospects this past season, hitting .318/.387/.497 with 14 home runs and 63 RBIs in 137 games between Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes Barre.

Pirela was no slouch himself, hitting .305/.351/.441 with 10 home runs, 60 RBIs, and 15 stolen bases in 130 games in triple-A. He even earned himself a big league call up in September.

Even though both players had tremendous seasons, Refsnyder may be favored at second base due to the fact that he rarely plays anywhere else and has developed more quickly than Pirela (Refsnyder was drafted in 2012 while Pirela has been in the Yankees system since 2007.) However, Pirela may also prove to be very valuable as he played a game at every position other than third base and catcher last season.


Current: Didi Gregorius, pre-arbitration

Potential Replacements: The Yankees have high hopes for Gregorius, who was acquired earlier this off-season in a trade with the Diamondbacks. It’s very important that he succeeds for many reasons, but one of them is that their isn’t an immediate replacement waiting in the minor leagues.

The closest thing the Yankees have to a top shortstop prospect is 19-year-old Jorge Mateo who hasn’t played past Rookie Ball.

Third Baseman

Current: Chase Headley, signed through 2018

Potential Replacements: With Headley locked up, there isn’t a ton of urgency to have a replacement waiting in the minors, which is good because there isn’t much there.

Rob Segedin was solid at the plate in 92 Double-A games, hitting .283/.398/.428 with 8 home runs and 49 RBIs, but made 11 errors in 73 games at third base. Also, when he was promoted to Triple-A he hit an abysmal .143/.188/.208 in 21 games and was sent back to Trenton. He’ll have to improve drastically at Triple-A in order to see the big leagues.

Left Field

Current: Brett Garder, signed through 2018

Potential Replacements: Like with third base, there isn’t much to see here either. The closest prospect is Ramon Flores, but he isn’t viewed as someone who will be a viable starter.

He hit .247/.339/.443 with 7 home runs and 23 RBIs in 63 games at Triple-A.

Center Field

Current: Jacoby Ellsbury, signed through 2020

Potential Replacements: Ellsbury is signed long-term but he could eventually change positions as he ages, so having a viable replacement might be more important than it currently appears.

The team has three minor leaguers who could come into play in the coming years, but all of them have serious questions surrounding them.

Slade Heathcott, a former first-round draft pick, has had several health issues during his minor league tenure having only played in 100 games or more once (2013.) He only played nine games in 2014 due to injuries.

Mason Williams looked to be a solid prospect for a few years with his best minor league season coming in 2012, when he hit .298/.346/.474 with 11 home runs, 35 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases in 91 games.

Unfortunately, since being promoted to Double-A late in 2013, he hasn’t produced at the plate. Last season he was a major disappointment, hitting .223/.290/.304 with five home runs and 40 RBIs.

The one prospect who had played well last season was Jake Cave, who began the season in Tampa and hit .304/.354/.395 with 10 stolen bases in 90 games before being promoted to Trenton. Once there, he hit .273/.344/.455 in 42 games.

The only question surrounding Cave is if he can duplicate his success in a full Double-A season.

Right Field

Current: Carlos Beltran, signed through 2016

Potential Replacements: After injuries and struggles ruled Beltran’s first Yankees season, it’s hard not to wonder what the 37-year-0ld has left in the tank.

The closest replacement option is Tyler Austin, who improved drastically in July (.301/.342/.437 with three home runs and 15 RBIs) and August (.304/.368/.551 with three more home runs and 10 RBIs.) Overall, he hit .275/.336/.419 with nine home runs and 47 RBIs in 105 games with Trenton last season.

Another player who could see time in right field sometime in the next few years is Aaron Judge, who is considered one of the team’s top two prospects.

In 131 games in Single-A (Charleston and Tampa), Judge hit .308/.419/.486 with 17 home runs and 78 RBIs. He could start the season in Double-A and continue to work his way up to the big leagues.

Starting Pitcher

Current: Masahiro Tanaka (signed through 2020), Michael Pineda (arbitration eligible through 2017), CC Sabathia (signed through 2016), Nathan Eovaldi (arbitration eligible through 2017), Chris Capuano (signed through 2015), Ivan Nova (arbitration eligible through 2016)

Potential Replacements: There are question marks surrounding each established starter. Will Tanaka and Pineda be healthy for a full season? Can Sabathia stay healthy and pitch effectively? Can Nathan Eovaldi pitch in the American League East? Is Capuano a reliable fifth starter until Nova returns?

Fortunately, there are several players who could see time in the starting rotation this season and beyond.

Adam Warren, who was solid out of the bullpen, could battle for a spot in the rotation and we could see top pitching prospect Luis Severino later this year.

Down the line, we could see pitchers like Brady LailJaron Long, and Ian Clarkin make there debuts.


Current: Dellin Betances (pre-arbitration), Andrew Miller (signed through 2018), Justin Wilson (pre-arbitration), David Carpenter (arbitration eligible), Adam Warren (pre-arbitration), Esmil Rogers (arbitration eligible)

Potential Replacements: Though the current bullpen is very young (nobody above 30-years-old), there are many options here.

The most highly touted relief prospects are Jacob Lindgren and Chasen Shreve, but there are others such as Jose Ramirez and Tyler Webb who could see time in the bullpen as well.

Next: Scott Baker Was A Great Signing For The Yankees

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