Yankees: Seven players fighting for a spot on the Opening Day roster this spring
1B Mike Ford
Ford was one of the many Baby Bombers who burst onto the scene in 2019 and made a huge impact despite starting the season in the minors. Ford was somewhat of an afterthought entering spring training this time a year ago, but in April he was called up to make his big league debut because of all the early season injuries the Yankees suffered.
Ford had three stints with the Yanks last season and after being called up on August 3rd he stayed in the big leagues for the rest of the season and for good reason. Ford played in 50 games in 2019 and finished the year with a .259 AVG, 12 HR, 25 RBI and an OPS of .909. His best stretch came in the final two months of the season when he combined to hit .274 with 11 HR, 23 RBI, and a .619 SLG%. He hit .343 in September with an OPS of 1.142.
I thought Ford deserved a spot on the ALDS roster over Luke Voit who really struggled down the stretch after returning from injury but he was left off and sent to Tampa. This spring he’s still behind Voit on the depth chart at first base, but if he can put together a strong performance throughout camp he’ll definitely earn consideration for a spot on the 26-man roster.
One factor that could give Ford an edge this spring is he’s a left-handed hitter which is something the Yankees are seriously lacking with Aaron Hicks injured and Didi Gregorius now in Philadelphia. He also has a terrific eye at the plate and doesn’t strike out a lot so he’d be a great option to have on the bench.
Even though Voit will likely start the year as the starting first basemen he still has a lot to prove as well and if he falters he could end splitting some of the reps with Ford. Neither one is a plus defender, but Ford strikes out a lot less than Voit does and he could add more balance to the lineup with his left-handed pop.