Five observations from the Yankees’ first spring training game
The New York Yankees played a baseball game yesterday. Given it was an exhibition game, it was the first action that the Bronx Bombers have had since the last out was recorded in Houston back in October of 2017. With that being a thing of the past, this first spring training game was a portrayal of the future. Aaron Boone penciled in a plethora of Yankee youngsters in their inaugural contest, and Yankee fans witnessed Giancarlo Stanton in pinstripes for the first time. The Yankees came away with a 3-1 victory, but as everyone knows and constantly reminds me, wins and losses do not matter in the Grapefruit League. They are correct; however, spring training is important, and the games are very telling of what is to come. Here are five observations I made from the Yankees’ “first game.”
Yankee fans are hungry
Never in my lifelong following of the Yankees have I seen such enthusiasm for the first exhibition game of the season. The atmosphere of the game was laid back and the viewing intensity nowhere near resembled a regular season game, yet the Yankee universe was so into it. People were live tweeting the game as if it was a home game in April, and when I heard the YES jingle, I got the chills. My fellow writers at the Bronx Bomber Ball, Yankees Twitter, and fans alike were so eager to see the team back on the field and playing ball. If this game was any indication for the future, the fans are beyond pumped for 2018.
Tyler Wade is a man on a mission
Tyler Wade is one of the Baby Bombers who made their spring debut on Friday, and performed exceptionally well. Wade had a hustle double in his first at-bat and another hit in his second plate appearance. He worked with one of the greatest right-handed hitters of all-time in Albert Pujols over the offseason to improve his swing and approach, and even in such a small sample size, an obvious difference was noticeable. Wade brings immense versatility, a solid running game, and a solid contact rate, when he is playing up to his potential. As I wrote in my Pinstripe Preview for Wade, if he can harness this potential, Yankee fans are in store for a dynamic player.
Ben Heller is the frontrunner for the final bullpen spot
I wrote in my 25-man roster preview that I believed Ben Heller should earn the final spot in the Yankee bullpen. Heller has posted a 2.76 ERA and a 12.1 K/9 in the minors and deserved the opportunity more than almost anyone. His electric stuff was put on full display in his spring debut, and despite scattering two hits, he looked like an established major league reliever in midseason form on the mound. Heller has a plus fastball, devastating breaking pitches, and is a gamer on the mound. Heller’s final line was: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 K, 0 BB. His spring sample size is small, but it should be fun to see what else he has in store.
Giancarlo Stanton is ecstatic to be a Yankee
Arguably the spectacle of the day was seeing the Yankees prized offseason trade acquisition wear pinstripes in a game for the first time. He did not start off his spring with anything special as he walked and hit into a double play, but the energy was there. Stanton told the media that the atmosphere in Marlins camp could not compare to that in Yankees camp. He was not shy about how much he was anticipating his debut and how excited he was to be a Bronx Bomber.
The Yankees are a deep organization
The Yankees roster is pretty set with just a few positions involving battles, but in reality, there’s only four or five candidates that truly have a chance at earning one of those roster spots. Nevertheless, my final observation from this game is that the Yankees are DEEP. If injuries occur throughout the season, the Yankees contain a large number of internal options that could more than capably step-in. In this game alone, Yankee fans saw Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, Billy McKinney, Miguel Andujar, Estevan Florial, Tyler Austin, Tyler Wade and Ben Heller in action. All of them young and only a fraction of them will actually make the team. If players do not pan out at their respective positions or injuries start to take their toll, odds are the Yankees have a solid minor league player scoped in on proving that they belong in the majors.
Article by: Ryan Thoms