The New York Yankees 2017 right field job is expected to be decided by a competition in spring training. Here’s an early look at the contenders.
When rookie Aaron Judge was promoted to the Bronx on August 13th, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made it clear that he was the team’s starting right fielder and would play every day.
Judge had hit .270/.366/.489 with 19 home runs and 65 RBI in 410 plate appearances for Scranton Wilkes-Barre, made the International League All-Star team, and been named the league’s player of the month after a monster June. There was little doubt the former first rounder had earned an extended shot.
One month later, when announcing that the 24-year-old would not play again in 2016 because of a strained right oblique, Cashman was considerably more reserved when discussing Judge, saying he would need to earn his spot on the team like anyone else.
In Cashman’s 2016 season-in-review press conference, he confirmed what many analysts had speculated, that the Yankees would likely fill their open starting jobs in right field and first base internally, revealing that the team would several candidates for both positions next March.
"You’ll have some competitions taking place, mostly in right field and first base with the return of a hopefully healthy Greg Bird in combination with Tyler Austin at first base and seeing how the competition in right field with Judge, Austin, Refsnyder, and Hicks, not in any particular order…how that transpires."
Bird seems like the clear favorite to be the starting first baseman assuming he’s healthy, although Austin could earn himself a platoon role with a strong showing. Right field, on the other hand, seems like more of an open field. Cashman names four competitors, and there are at least two to three players in-house more with some chance to win the job. Let’s take a look at the field.