3 surprise players who've dominated early at Yankees spring training

Aug 31, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Ian Hamilton (63) pitches to make
Aug 31, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Ian Hamilton (63) pitches to make / Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
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No, the results don't matter in Spring Training. Yankees stars will be Yankees stars. If they're captain types, they'll be in the dugout rallying the kids after checking out in the fifth inning. If they're not? They'll be at a private course teeing off by 2:30 PM on gameday.

Nothing the team's projected starters do is ever particularly surprising, from the early-spring pop (Jose Trevino) to the first start struggles (Luis Severino). Top prospects? They can open some eyes -- Anthony Volpe's speed and Jasson Dominguez's poise have both popped off the screen so far. But when a top prospect stands out, it confirms our priors. It's a hopeful exhale. It's not a complete shock.

When a name you'd barely paid attention to before shines while rocking No. 98, though? That's special. That's why spring training exists.

We're not saying these early spring standouts will all be Lucas Luetges and will break camp with the Yankees. We're not even saying they've wedged their way into the team's future. We're just saying they've each individually shined so far in a way that we maybe didn't think was possible. All three players listed here have had all-caps MOMENTS after the first few days of official action. They weren't even on the first page of the roster printout last week. That matters.

3 Yankees surprises -- out of literal nowhere -- at 2023 spring training

Tayler Aguilar, OF

Hey, all praise to you if you had 2022 fifteenth-rounder Tayler Aguilar -- out of Grand Canyon University -- making an early impact on offense and defense while bringing the energy.

Most of us, though, were not inclined to pay attention to Aguilar, who seemed likely to be a late-inning defensive replacement up from the minor-league camp on a few different occasions and nothing more. Wrong!

Aguilar is, instead, a shot of adrenaline with a killer mustache. He stole the show late in Monday's primetime game with the Tigers, delivering a clutch bloop double to aid the Yankees in a late rally before showing off the coup de grace: his cannon of an arm, which cut down the potential tying run at the plate during the next half inning.

Aguilar, a lefty swinger, popped 23 home runs in 59 games in his final collegiate season in 2023. Consider our interest piqued. We promise to never spell "Tayler" wrong again.