Yankees: Handicapping the Spring Training position battles

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Miguel Andujar
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Miguel Andujar /

With the Yankees a little more than a third of the way through the Spring Training schedule, the position battles are heating up. Let’s take a look at each player in the race, and the odds he’ll be in Toronto on Opening Day.

Earlier, we took a too-early look at the Yanks’ position battles. The Yankees have now played a dozen games this exhibition season, and since each player has more playing time under his belt, the picture is becoming a bit clearer.

Second Base

Gleyber Torres: After playing second base in seven of the Yanks’ first 12 games, Torres has one error in 19 total chances. However, he’s batting just .158. Torres will probably begin the season at Triple-A, even if he were performing better at the plate, because of MLB’s service time rules. Odds of making the opening day roster: 10-1.

Danny Espinosa: The non-roster invitee’s logged 16 error-free innings at second base so far this spring. He’s also spent some time at third base. His batting average is just .190 in 21 at-bats. It’s not likely he’ll make the team, given the glut of other infielders with major league contracts. Odds of making the opening day roster: 50-1.

Jace Peterson: He has one error in 26 innings at the keystone this spring. Another non-roster invitee, he’s been a long shot to make the roster since camp started. Peterson is batting .111 in nine at-bats. Odds of making the opening day roster: 100-1. 

Tyler Wade: He’s hitting .333 in 18 at-bats this spring. You’ve heard before about his offseason workout with Albert Pujols and how it’s helped Wade at the plate. Wade has also logged time at third base and shortstop so far. He is a strong candidate to at least win the utility infielder role. Odds of making the opening day roster: 5-1.

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Third Base

Miguel Andújar: He’s been the story of the spring so far, slashing .308/.308/.846. Andújar is also handling himself well with the glove, playing 33 innings of error-free ball. The only thing that can keep him from locking down the job for Opening Day could be the Yankees’ desire to hold him in the minors for a couple of weeks to get that extra year of arbitration. Odds of making the opening day roster: 3-1.

Brandon Drury: Major league contract? Check. Versatility? Check. Front office seal of approval? Check. It’s very unlikely Drury doesn’t make the 25-man roster, especially if the Yanks send Andújar to Triple-A to manipulate the service time rules. Drury only has a .235 batting average this spring, but he’s played 29 error-free innings at the hot corner. Also, Drury has yet to spend time at any other position this spring, despite his ability to play second base. That should tell you something. Odds of making the opening day roster: Even money.

Ronald Torreyes: His versatility and experience could save him. Like Wade, Torreyes has played second base, shortstop and third base this spring. He has zero errors at any of those positions. Also, he’s slashing .333/.368/.400. He’ll likely never hit for power, but it appears he’s working on drawing more walks. That was a significant flaw in his game last year. Odds of making the opening day roster: 2-1.

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There you have it. As of right now, I think we’ll see Drury, Wade and Torreyes on the roster for Opening Day, with Wade and Torreyes platooning at second base and Drury at third base. The only reason Andújar isn’t at third base come Opening Day is that I think the Yankees will wait a couple of weeks to call him up, just to get that extra year of team control.

Of course, there’s still plenty of baseball left to play this spring. We’ll keep updating these odds as the exhibition season goes along.