New York Yankees: Four sleeper candidates to make the Opening Day roster
The Yankees 26-man roster heading into Opening Day is still far from being set in stone with all the uncertainty surrounding the team on the injury front. Jobs are still up for grabs and over the course of the next three weeks, a handful of sleepers could make a strong push to earn one of the final roster spots.
For the second straight offseason/spring, the Yankees have been plagued by injuries to a handful of key players and will not enter the regular season at full strength.
Luis Severino is already done for the season after recently undergoing Tommy John surgery and James Paxton will be out until May at the earliest following back surgery in early February. Aaron Hicks underwent TJ surgery as well in late October and he might not return until July while Giancarlo Stanton is more than likely to start the season on the IL because of a calf strain.
As for Aaron Judge, we’re all still waiting patiently to find out what exactly is causing him pain in his right shoulder and chest area. We should find out soon as the Yankees continue to run him through tests, but considering Judge still hasn’t appeared in a spring training game it’s hard to imagine him being ready for Opening Day.
With three of New York’s top four outfielders currently on the shelf, there’s somewhat of an open competition for the starting jobs in right and left field. We also don’t know who will join backup catcher Kyle Higashioka on the Yankees bench which will likely feature a total of four players. On the pitching side, the battle for the fifth and final spot in the rotation is still ongoing and in the bullpen, there’s a handful of relievers still in the mix to round out the staff.
Most of these jobs will go to players who are already on the Yankees 40-man roster, but that’s not a given. There are a few non-roster invitees who have really impressed thus far and deserve strong consideration for a spot on the team.