Yankees 26-man roster prediction 3.0 for 2023 MLB season
With just a couple of weeks until Opening Day, the Yankees have a lot of decisions to make in regards to their roster.
In addition to the position battles in left field and shortstop, the team has had a number of injuries to key players. Carlos Rodon and Harrison Bader will miss Opening Day, and while they are likely to return sooner rather than later, their spots will need to be filled by players who may have had a different role or would not have made it out of camp.
The depth of the Yankees' organization will be tested early on, but if they can weather this string of injuries they should be raring to go for a deep postseason run. And unless GM Brian Cashman makes a move, which I don’t see happening, they’ll have to start April with the players they have in their organization.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Gleyber Torres/DJ LeMahieu, 2B
Oswald Peraza, SS
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Oswaldo Cabrera, RF
Aaron Hicks, LF
Aaron Judge, CF
Jose Trevino, C
Giancarlo Stanton, DH
The Yankees went into spring with a hole in left, and with Bader going down they have to fill center field as well.
Manager Aaron Boone is already looking from within to try to find an answer. Judge and Stanton have taken reps in the corners, and Boone has tried Cabrera in various positions in the outfield as well. But Judge seems like a better option in center until Bader can return. The reigning AL MVP played 78 games in center last season and can do it again.
That also gives Boone flexibility to play Stanton instead of Cabrera in right field on certain days.
In pursuit of outfield options, Boone is even going to try Isiah Kiner-Falefa in center. While IKF in center is highly unlikely, it does give a hint as to what the Yankees feel about their shortstop position.
IKF lost his job at the end of last season, and while he can still win it this spring, his productivity at the plate has not helped his cause. Peraza seems like the more sure bet to be the Opening Day shortstop as he has some major league experience and has been solid this spring.
But where does that leave Anthony Volpe? Oh, we’ll get to him.
Gerrit Cole, RHP
Nestor Cortes, LHP
Luis Severino, RHP
Domingo German, RHP
Clarke Schmidt, RHP
There was a battle for the fifth starter spot this spring between German and Schmidt with Frankie Montas out for a while. But now that Rodon will be on the IL to start the season, there are two spots open and both pitchers deserve to be on the roster.
Hopefully, the rotation depth holds until the Yankees’ biggest offseason acquisition returns sometime in mid-April.
Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP
Clay Holmes, RHP
Wandy Peralta, LHP
Ron Marinaccio, RHP
Matt Krook, LHP
Greg Weissert, RHP
Michael King, RHP
Trivino (elbow strain) and Kahnle (biceps tendinitis) will also begin the regular season on the IL, which leaves more holes in the Yankees roster. Matt Krook has been solid this spring, giving up just three earned runs in nearly eight innings of work. He's also a lefty, which can give Peralta a reprieve in the bullpen against other lefties. It'll also be good to have another lefty until Rodon gets back.
I had eight relievers in my last two predictions, but with the uncertainty in the outfield, I feel an extra bench player would be better until reinforcements arrive.
Kyle Higashioka, C
Isiah Kiner-Falefa, INF
Gleyber Torres/DJ LeMahieu, INF
Anthony Volpe, INF
Willie Calhoun, OF
And here's where things get spicy. As you can see, I believe Volpe makes the roster. Yes, he won't be the Opening Day shortstop, but he can make the roster on the bench.
The 21-year-old has proven he can handle himself this spring -- slashing .321/.424/1.103 with two home runs and three stolen bases on March 14 -- and deserves a spot. He can learn from the big leaguers. And if Peraza falters a bit, Volpe can see some at-bats. He also has the speed to be a late-game, pinch-runner and effect games that way.
Willie Calhoun, the 28-year-old outfielder has played very well this spring, and the Yankees could use his veteran presence. Calhoun has power potential and having a lefty on the bench could benefit the team.
While Jasson Dominguez has opened a lot of eyes this spring, he still needs some time in the minors before making the leap.