The New York Yankees' Opening Day roster is here ahead of the season-opening series against the San Francisco Giants, and while Anthony Volpe's presence has stolen all the headlines, there are a lot of question marks present due to injury issues.
The starting rotation is decimated, with all of Carlos Rodón, Luis Severino and Frankie Montas out for the start of the season and beyond. Harrison Bader will start the year on the IL. The bullpen will be missing Tommy Kahnle and Lou Trivino.
All of those injuries have opened up spots or promotions for others who haven't exactly proved themselves in pinstripes just yet. And since Yankees fans have seen far too many lackluster or undeserving performances get more run than they should have over the last few years, we're hoping for a change in philosophy on that front since the time to contend is now as everything comes into focus.
Upping the competition and keeping everybody on their toes will only foster growth for a Yankees team that badly needs to get over the hump after heartbreaking playoff performances since the 2018 season.
3 Yankees who made Opening Day roster but shouldn't have long leashes
Clarke Schmidt somehow went from multi-inning reliever to the No. 2 starter (on paper, he's starting the second game of the season) as the injuries mounted and forced him into the starting rotation. However, he's yet to prove himself in any role on the pitching staff dating back to 2020.
This spring, for example, in his audition for the rotation, he logged a 5.03 ERA in his six games. Across 19.2 innings, he allowed 11 earned runs on six hits, four walks and a hit batter. He looked good three times and downright bad three times, still struggling to maintain any sort of consistency.
Fans might look back on his 2022 and think the 3.12 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 1.20 WHIP and 56 strikeouts in 57.2 innings was more than suitable, but did you ever really trust he'd get off the mound unscathed when he was out there? For some bizarre reason, he was only effective when pitching innings 4-6 and was knocked around in frames 1-3 and 7-9. Whenever he gives up ground balls (.323 AVG against) or line drives (.417 AVG against), they go for hits. Only fly balls are his friend.
Overall, Schmidt hasn't been bad. But he hasn't exactly been reliable, and there's still no clear role for him on the pitching staff (unless the Yankees wanted to exclusively use him smack dab in the middle of games). To be honest, it's their fault for jerking him around like that, but Schmidt's the one throwing the ball. He needs to locate better, attack hitters better, and mix up his offerings better.
By no means should he be tossed aside if he doesn't perform, but the Yankees will need to find a better rotation option or high-leverage innings option if things don't pan out.