Yankees 26-man roster prediction for 2024 MLB Opening Day

Spring training is winding down and the Yankees' Opening Day roster could have some big names missing.

The injuries to Gerrit Cole, Aaron Judge, and DJ LeMahieu have put a damper on a 2024 season with high expectations. And while the Yanks can still end up being World Series champions for the first time since 2009, the health of their stars puts a giant question mark on how feasible that goal is.

While we won't know how Cole, Judge, and LeMahieu will bounce back from their injuries, we do know that some -- if not all -- of these players will make the Opening Day roster.

Cole is expected to be out for 10-to-12 weeks so he'll start the season on the IL, while Judge and LeMahieu are nursing injuries and hope to be good to go for Opening Day. While the Yankees are taking a wait-and-see approach with them, here's our final 26-man roster prediction for the 2024 season…

Starting Lineup

This version of the Opening Day starters is based on the assumption that LeMahieu and Judge will be healthy enough to avoid the IL.

Judge has returned to the lineup after missing nine days with abdominal soreness, while LeMahieu continues to miss games with a foot injury.

Judge's insistence that he'll be ready for Opening Day has me optimistic that he'll be in the outfield on March 28 to start the season. In his first spring game back from injury, the Yankees captain hit a double and looked fine tracking down flyballs in the outfield.

Now, LeMahieu is a different story.

New York Yankees first baseman DJ LeMahieu (26) is congratulated by teammate after scoring during the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium

LeMahieu has had foot issues in the past, most notably heading into the 2022 postseason, where he looked like such a shell of his former batting champion self that the team left him off the playoff roster.

Manager Aaron Boone initially thought the injury was "pretty significant," but has since backtracked. The Yanks feel fortunate with how LeMahieu's scans looked -- it's just a matter of when he can get back in the lineup.

With a week to go until Opening Day, will he be ready? I get the feeling he will be, but if he's not, then the Yankees will have to dig into their bench for an infielder. This is where Oswald Peraza would have filled in, but his injury will sideline him for the start of the season.

Oswaldo Cabrera would be a safe bet to be an option but has yet to acclimate to major league pitching in his two seasons. Then there is someone like Kevin Smith, who has played in the majors across three seasons but is a shortstop by trade.

If LeMahieu isn't ready for Opening Day, it opens up a can of worms for the bench, which we'll get to later.


Nestor Cortes: LHP
Carlos Rodon: LHP
Marcus StromanRHP
Clarke Schmidt: RHP
Luke Weaver:

And now we're getting into a big absence on the Opening Day roster. Cole will miss the start of the season with his elbow injury, but who will the Yankees use to fill his spot in the rotation?

They have a lot of options including Weaver, Cody Poteet, Luis Gil, Will Warren and Clayton Beeter. However, Weaver gets the nod because he has major league experience as a starter, including 25 starts between the Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners, and Yankees in 2023.

Gil has starting experience, but he's still recovering from Tommy John surgery and it may be best not to push him this early. Poteet also has major league experience but not much -- 19 appearances, nine starts in two seasons -- so Weaver feels like the guy who would get the spot in the rotation, at least for now.

Sep 22, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luke Weaver (30) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports


Clay HolmesRHP
Jonathan Loaisiga: RHP
Cody Poteet: RHP
Ian Hamilton: RHP
Ron Marinaccio: RHP
Victor Gonzalez : LHP
Caleb FergusonLHP
Will Warren: RHP

Weaver was in the bullpen in my last prediction, but since he's been promoted to the rotation there's a spot open for another pitcher. This is where Warren makes the Opening Day roster.

The right-hander has been great this spring with the only blip being his last outing against the Red Sox when he gave up six runs (two earned) on six hits in 2.2 innings. Before that start, Warren only gave up three runs in 7.2 innings.

While the start against Boston didn't go well, Boone spoke very highly of Warren and his ability to bounce back with a shutout inning after a disastrous one. Even pitching coach Matt Blake said he expects Warren to be in the majors this season. So why not now?

Poteet, who is in the running for the fifth spot in the rotation, will remain in the bullpen. Although he has three options remaining, like Beeter, he's just been great. the righty has given up just two runs in 7.2 innings pitched and accumulated seven strikeouts.

Beeter will likely get a call-up this season, but someone has to start in the minors and he's unfortunately the odd man out.


Trent Grisham: OF
Oswaldo Cabrera: INF/OF
Austin Wells: C
Kevin Smith: INF

And finally, we have the bench. Since Peraza went down, this has been a focus of the media and fans.

Peraza's injury puts more of an emphasis on versatility on the bench, which Cabrera gives. He's familiar with the team, and playing in the majors. He's not the best offensive option the Yanks have, but he gives Boone someone who can play every position in the infield and the ability to play the outfield -- especially when Judge gets the day off and Grisham is already starting.

Or on the rare day when Stanton is playing the outfield, an extra outfielder might need to be used. 

If Oscar Gonzalez could play the infield he would be perfect. The 26-year-old outfielder has been awesome this spring, hitting .350 (14-40) in parts of 17 games. He's been very impressive but he also has minor league options, so he could potentially start there and be called up if they need another outfielder.

Before LeMahieu's injury, I would have said Gonzalez makes the roster with Cabrera being the versatile bench piece, but with the uncertainty of LeMahieu's status, a pure infielder is needed.

Smith fits the bill, being able to play all over the infield. While his bat is akin to that of a bench player -- hitting just .250 (9-for-36) -- he is a reliable, contact-first infielder whom the Yankees need. If LeMahieu lands on the IL to start the season, I could see the Yankees carrying Gonzalez with Cabrera and Smith sharing the starting duties.