By Alfredo Alvarez
Miami-Normally a migraine attack can be exasperating, but in this case, what the new manager of the New York Yankees, Aaron Boone, experiences after each game, is a mixture of headache and pleasure. Every day the fight for the second and third base of the most famous team of all professional sports becomes more difficult.
The battle this spring is getting better and better. 8 are the candidates and maybe only 3 or 4 will survive this stage and can start the 2018 wearing pinstripes.
Let’s analyze the candidates one by one with their numbers and their performance in general in this Grapefruit League.
We started with who undoubtedly has been the sensation of this 2018 Spring Training: Miguel Andújar. Undoubtedly the Dominican has put up a show. The native of San Cristóbal, has the hottest bat of all the Bombers. 4 homers in 17 at-bats with 7 RBIs, 5 runs scored and a batting average of 412. According to the scouts, the defense would have been Andújar’s weak point, which last season, despite hitting 3 for 4 in his MLB debut, he was returned to the Minor Leagues. But in these training camps, in 24 defensives opportunities has not made an error in 7 chances with 5 assists and two putout. It is clear that the 23 year old is determined to be the starting third baseman for the opening day.
Gleyber Torres: Incredibly, Gleyber has been the opposite of Andujar. Who despite arriving this season with the reputation of being one of the 5 best prospects in all the Minor League baseball, has not been good with the wood in his hands. 1 hit only in 13 at bats for an anemic 077. The defense cannot be said to have surprised either, an error in 12 chances and 29 innings defended so far does not impress. We cannot forget that Torres is back from a Tommy John surgery, who left him out last season in the minors, and although this is an injury that affects more pitchers, there is no doubt that Gleyber is still in the process of recovery .
Danny Espinosa: This is one of those who has looked good in the 6 games he has participated. Although his average is not exorbitant: 250, he has hit the ball hard. A homer, a double and 4 brought to the plate, are part of his offensive production. A negative point is that he has taken 6 chocolates (strikeouts) in the 12 at bats he has consumed. On defense, Espinosa has looked great. Without errors in 7 chances and 22 innings plays, show that Danny is a firm candidate for the 2018 Yankees.
Tyler Wade: Last season, the Yankees gave Wade the opportunity to demonstrate his skills and the reality is that he did not meet expectations. An average of 155, with 9 hits in 58 innings and 19 strikeouts was not a positive point at all. But the 23-year-old came to these workouts with almost 20 pounds more of muscles. In the off season he was receiving advice from a certain Albert Pujols, who worked with him on his inside swing. The result: 417 average in this Grapefruit League. Five hits, including a double and a RBI are some of his antics. In addition only 2 strikeouts in 12 at-bats, has given quality, fight and good swings. On defense he has an error, but has been much more relaxed and with much more power in his throwing arm.
Kyle Holder: One that was not in the plans of many, nor which has been commented. But the 23-year-old shortstop has put a smile on more than one face. With 3 hits, including a double in 10 at-bats, Holder, is batting for 300 average and the defense is immaculate without committing errors in 8 chances. For Holder it will be very difficult to get a place in the 25 man roster, but without doubts in this pre-season there is nothing safe and as my grandfather Tito said: » The one who can hit always find a place to play ».
Brandon Drury: In the words of Yankees general manager Brian Cashman: «For several years they have been looking for Drury.» Who finally came to the big apple in a three team trade. Everything seems to indicate that Drury is one of those who must be part of the initial roster. In what goes of training, Drury, is batting for 375, with a home run in 8 turns. On defense, he has done very well and looks solid in both second and third base.
Jace Peterson: Another sign during the offseason by Cashman was to bring Peterson to the Yankees. A versatile player and already experienced in the majors, can undoubtedly give a lot of depth to the picture. So far in pre-season, Jace has not been good at all. Still looking for his first hit, with two strikeouts and 7 at-bats. The small number of at bats in comparison to other players could indicate that Peterson is a candidate to start this 2018 in the Minor Leagues although it is too early to make a decision.
Ronald Torreyes: The last of the 8 gladiators who are fighting to survive this Grapefruit League and wear the Yankee uniform. Torreyes, do not need much presentation. If you follow the Yankees, you know that this is one of those players who when he puts on his uniform goes out there to give 110% on the field without caring about anything else. Its average is 286, with a double and 2 RBI’s. His at-bats have been good. Taking into account, the fame that already precedes the little Torreyes, and the good numbers that he has put up since he came to the Yankees in 2016, we could say that he should make the team without problems although with the quality and quantity of contenders for the position nothing is written yet.
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