Yankees: A too-early check of the infield position battles

M Andujar (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
M Andujar (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

There’s plenty of intrigue in Yankees Spring Training this year, with several players battling for just a few spots on the roster. We’re only three games into the exhibition schedule, but, just for fun, let’s take a too-early look at the races for second base and third base.

More than a half-dozen players are vying for those two spots in the Yankees lineup. The consolation prize will likely be the utility infielder role that Ronald Torreyes filled for the Yanks last season.

Second Base

Gleyber Torres: He’s the Yanks’ top prospect entered camp as the favorite to win the second base job. Torres played just as many innings at shortstop (his natural position) in the first three exhibition games as he did at second base.

He performed well at both spots defensively but is still trying to get things going at the plate. Torres is 1-for-5 (.200 batting average) in two games, with one run scored.

Danny Espinosa: The 30-year-old utility infielder is working hard just to get a roster spot, but has big league experience, which makes him a candidate to win the job.

Espinosa bounced around the league last season after getting off to a slow offensive start with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He’s played five innings at second and four at third so far, not making an error at either spot. Espinosa has appeared in all three games, going 1-for-5 ( .200 batting average) with two walks and three RBI.

Tyler Wade: Wade may be the most intriguing candidate for either position, given his versatility and left-handed bat. His ability to play second base, shortstop and either corner outfield spot, combined with his offensive skills, has drawn comparisons to the Chicago Cubs’ Ben Zobrist.

In four innings of work at second base for the Yankees this spring, Wade hasn’t made an error. He’s also spent five innings at shortstop, where he’s made one error in two chances.

Wade’s performed well at the plate in a small sample size, where he’s 2-for-5( .400 batting average) with a double and a run scored.

Jace Peterson: Some may consider Peterson an afterthought in this race, but he’s logged the most time at second base through the first three games (13 error-free innings) and has appeared in all three games.

Peterson doesn’t have as much major league experience as Espinosa, but, like Wade, he’s a left-handed hitter, something the Yankees lack. He’s hitless at the plate but has three walks and two runs scored.

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The battle for the Yankees third base job may be a much tighter race, now that Brandon Drury is in the mix. All three candidates have major league experience, which could make manager Aaron Boone‘s decision difficult once Spring Training ends.

Third Base

Miguel Andújar: The Yankees have high hopes for the soon-to-be 23-year-old. He’s logged the most innings at third base so far this spring, playing 11 innings in two appearances. There have been questions for some time about whether Andújar’s defense is ready for the big leagues, but the Yankees’ front office has said in the past they think his bat is ready for prime time. So far, he’s 1-for-5 ( .200 batting average) in two games, with one run scored.

Ronald Torreyes: Last year’s utilityman is trying to snag an everyday role this season. Torreyes has logged time at third base and shortstop in the first three games. He’s errorless at both spots. Toe is 2-for-3 (A .667 batting average) in two games, with a double, a walk and an RBI.

Brandon Drury: The newest Yankee could win the race. Drury has big league experience and versatility. He hasn’t played much in the first three games but figures to see more time as the spring goes on.

Drury has one hit in his only at-bat so far and played three error-free innings at the hot corner.

It’s, of course, impossible to predict at this point who will win these races. If the Yanks made a decision based on this small sample, we’d end up with Wade at second base and Torreyes or Drury at third.

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I think Torres ends up the starting second baseman and Andújar is at third, with Drury unseating Torreyes for the utility infield job. However, I wouldn’t count out Tyler Wade. He’s off to a hot start this spring, and if he can keep it up, his versatility and left-handedness may be too much for the Yanks to ignore.