The fewer Spring Training reps, the much, much worse for these three New York Yankees with clouded futures.
While we have no idea how long the eternal-seeming delay will last, spring contests have been axed at least through Friday, March 4, with further postponements likely as MLB and the MLBPA continue their extremely important week of meetings designed for real progress.
This means some Yankees who seemed poised to make a significant first impression are instead twiddling their thumbs. It also means some injured players looking to prove themselves — either to the front office or to the rest of the league — won’t get a real shot before the free agency frenzy theoretically begins.
So, who’s watched their 2022 change the most by the slow-developing conversation?
You can remove all pitchers — honestly, slightly fewer spring innings could be a good thing, in their cases, so long as they receive adequate ramp-up time. Bottom line? An abbreviated spring that cuts too deep will be damaging to all pitchers, equally. There’s nobody in the Yankees’ corps desperate to “prove themselves”; every pitcher who loses reps and feels rushed will be at risk of everything catching up to them later in the season, however.
These three Yankees are most at risk of regretting even the one week of canceled games, which shifts their timelines significantly in an all-important stretch.
Of course, in reality, they’re all tied for second place behind “The Fans,” who’ve certainly been most affected by this current brand of nonsense and have no way to control it.
3 Yankees most affected by canceled Spring Training games
3. Luke Voit
Every Yankees game missed means less time for Luke Voit to get the showcase he deserves; instead, the sour taste from the end of 2021 still remains as New York theoretically looks to trade him prior to Opening Day.
If only he could’ve been dealt midway through August, when everything was absolutely clicking.
There was a time, immediately after the trade deadline, where it seemed like New York had pulled off a coup by keeping him in addition to Anthony Rizzo. Voit’s bat was booming while Rizzo hit the COVID-IL for an offense-starved Yankee team, leading many to decry those around the league that passed on his services when Brian Cashman was essentially dangling him for free as Aug. 1 approached.
Instead of balancing the two sticks when Rizzo came back, though, Voit’s schedule was messed with. Often relegated to pinch-hitting appearances in blowouts, he hit .171 with three homers in 48 plate appearances across September and October.
Now, that’s what teams across the league are working off of when Voit’s floated to them as a trade possibility. They recall his 2021 injury issues, many tied to his surgically-repaired knee. They recall him getting buried on the depth chart. They don’t recall his 2020 season, featuring a league-leading 22 homers and ninth-place MVP finish, all collected while he battled “foot stuff.”
Voit has been an above-average bat whenever he’s been healthy during his Yankees career. Unfortunately, until Spring Training resumes, the most recent footage we have of him features neither health nor productivity.