Yankees 26-man roster prediction 1.0 for 2021 MLB season

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Scott Thompson
·4 min read
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Aaron Judge/Miguel Andujar/Brian Cashman/Gerrit Cole/DJ LeMahieu
Aaron Judge/Miguel Andujar/Brian Cashman/Gerrit Cole/DJ LeMahieu

Spring training is upon us as pitchers and catchers report to camps across the country this week -- including Tampa, Fla., where the Yankees are set to begin preparation for the 2021 season.

A few new faces will grace the clubhouse this season, upgrading the roster once again to try and get to the World Series -- which has alluded the Yankees for over a decade now. This roster is more than capable of reaching that feat, though, and hopes to make it happen in 2021.

So, without further ado, let's try and predict the full 26-man roster for the Yanks entering spring training. Come Opening Day, we'll see if how it shakes out. Not much is changing, but spring training roster battles can always sway the front office and coaches to make adjustments as they see fit.

Let's start with the starting lineup as it might look on Opening Day:

STARTING LINEUP

DJ LeMahieu, 2B
Aaron Judge, RF
Giancarlo Stanton, DH
Luke Voit, 1B
Aaron Hicks, CF
Gleyber Torres, SS
Gio Urshela, 3B
Gary Sanchez, C
Clint Frazier, LF

Since the last time we did this, LeMahieu finally re-signed with the Yanks on a six-year pact, confirming that the MVP of the squad will be leading off with his high-contact bat for years to come.

Sanchez remains a question mark entering Tampa after the rough 2020 campaign. GM Brian Cashman noted that Sanchez’s job is basically his to lose at catcher, with Kyle Higashioka still trailing. There is a slim chance Higashioka beats out Sanchez for the Opening Day role. The Yankees still trust in Sanchez's bat.

Other than that, it's business as usual for the regular lineup. Frazier gets the start in left field with no deal imminent for Brett Gardner to return. Either way, Frazier earned the right to start in left after making significant improvements to his defensive game, while providing quality at-bats throughout the season.

STARTING ROTATION

Gerrit Cole, RHP
Corey Kluber, RHP
Jordan Montgomery, LHP
Jameson Taillon, RHP
Domingo German, RHP

This will be the biggest camp competition that transpires over the next month or so. It's really the only question mark surrounding the Yanks after the departures of Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and J.A. Happ. Luis Severino is still rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, so he won't be available for the beginning of the season.

So it will be a battle between a few youngster and vets for the back two rotation spots. One must think that Taillon will have one of those spots after Cashman traded for him earlier this offseason. He has reconfigured his approach on the mound, and is determined to prove that early on in camp.

German also returns to the mix as well as the young arms like Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt, who are gunning for a spot in the rotation, too. It will be fun to see how they perform in their outings to get a better look at how this battle could shake out. Either way you look at it, the Yankees are just looking for consistency behind Cole -- a key component in going far this postseason.

BULLPEN

Aroldis Chapman, CLS
Zack Britton, LHP
Darren O’Day, RHP
Justin Wilson, LHP
Chad Green, RHP
Luis Cessa, RHP
Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP
Clarke Schmidt, RHP
Deivi Garcia, RHP

Since the Yankees are in "serious talks" with Wilson, let's imagine for now that they'll add the solid, veteran lefty to the mix this season. He would be a great addition that can fill in anywhere Aaron Boone would need him.

O'Day is also a solid new arm in the 'pen, pitching with consistency himself over his career with his submarine style.

Finally, we'll say that Schmidt and Garcia make the bullpen to give them the much-needed experience this season as well. They had up-and-down outings in the bigs last season, but learning from that, we'll figure that they'll enter camp with solid learning experiences and want to build off that. Nick Nelson, Michael King, Albert Abreu, Luis Gil and others will also be looking for roles here.

BENCH

Miguel Andujar, UTIL
Kyle Higashioka, C
Mike Tauchman, OF

Andujar is a big question mark entering spring training to begin with, but the early assumption is that his bat is going to beat out other bench options like Thairo Estrada and Tyler Wade here. Wade has usually been the super utility guy, but if Andujar is showing better movement and play in the outfield, then maybe he can serve in a bit of a role like Wade with much better production at the plate.

Greg Allen is also a threat to Tauchman's role, as is Gardner if he returns later in the spring on a short-term pact. We'll see how that turns out, but he'll face competition right away.