Judge, Severino, Bird, Lindgren, Refsnyder headline Spring Training invitees list

Refsnyder. (MiLB.com)
Refsnyder. (MiLB.com)

Two weeks from tomorrow, pitchers and catchers will report to Tampa for the start of Spring Training 2015. Baseball’s getting closer, folks. On Thursday, the Yankees officially announced their list of Spring Training invitees, a list that runs 66 (!) players deep.

As a reminder, everyone on the 40-man roster automatically goes to big league Spring Training, because duh. Here’s the 40-man roster and here are the 26 non-40-man roster players who have been invited to big league camp, which include some of the Yankees’ top prospects:

POSITION PLAYERS
C Francisco Arcia
C Trent Garrison
C Juan Graterol
C Kyle Higashioka
C Eddy Rodriguez
1B Greg Bird
1B Kyle Roller
IF Cito Culver
IF Cole Figueroa
IF Jonathan Galvez
IF Nick Noonan
IF Rob Refsnyder
OF Jake Cave
OF Slade Heathcott
OF Aaron Judge

PITCHERS
RHP Andrew Bailey
RHP Scott Baker
RHP Jose Campos
RHP Nick Goody
LHP Jacob Lindgren
RHP Diego Moreno
LHP James Pazos
RHP Wilking Rodriguez
RHP Nick Rumbelow
RHP Luis Severino
LHP Tyler Webb

Obviously the biggest names here are Judge, Bird, Severino, Refsnyder, and Lindgren, five of the team’s very best prospects. Lindgren, the Yankees’ top pick in last year’s draft, has a legitimate chance to make the Opening Day roster. So does Refsnyder, but he has more bodies ahead of him on the depth chart. I can’t see any scenario in which Judge, Severino, or Bird make the roster out of camp.

Bailey has been rehabbing from shoulder capsule surgery for nearly two years now and appears to finally be healthy. Could he step in and close with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller working as setup men? Bailey has closer experience, you know. Graterol, Figueroa, Galvez, Noonan, Baker, and the two Rodriguezes were added a minor league free agents for depth this winter. The rest are farm system products. Guys looking to put themselves on the map for a midseason call-up.

Teams always need extra catchers to help catch all those early-Spring Training bullpen sessions, which is why the Yankees are bringing five non-roster backstops to camp in addition to the four catchers already on the 40-man roster. The last bullpen spot is up for grabs — it could be more than one if Adam Warren and/or Esmil Rogers are needed to help the rotation — so camp is a big opportunity for these pitchers, especially guys like Rumbelow, Webb, Goody, and Pazos, who aren’t top prospects.

Yankees to play exhibition game at Nationals Park to end Spring Training

The Yankees will close out Spring Training next year with an exhibition game at Nationals Park on Saturday, April 4th, the team announced. Neat. They’ll make the quick stop in D.C. on their way up from Tampa before opening the 2015 regular season at home against the Blue Jays on April 6th. The full Spring Training schedule is right here.

Yankees announce Spring Training schedule, pitchers and catchers report February 20th

The Yankees officially announced their Spring Training schedule this afternoon. Pitchers and catchers will report to Tampa on Friday, February 20th, four months from¬† today. Position players report on the 25th and the first full squad workout is day after that. The regular season doesn’t begin until April 6th next year, which is why Spring Training is starting about a week later than usual.

The team’s first Grapefruit League game will be played on the road against the Phillies on Tuesday, March 3rd. Their first home exhibition game is the next day, also against the Phillies. The full Spring Training schedule can be seen right here. I’m sure most of their Grapefruit League games will be televised somewhere, but we’re still months away from seeing any kind of broadcast schedule.

5/9-5/11 Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers

(Getty)
(Getty)

For the first time this season, the Yankees are in a National League park for an interleague series. That means no designated hitter and lots of so-called strategy. The Yankees open a three-game set against the Brewers tonight, their first trip to Milwaukee since 2005. The last time they visited Miller Park, Alex Rodriguez hit his 400th career homerun (video). How about that?

What Have They Done Lately?
The Brew Crew come into this series with a 22-13 record and a +13 run differential. That’s the second best record in the game. They have hit the skids of late though, losing their last two games, four of their last five, and six of their last eight.

Offense
Manager Ron Roenicke’s club has a team 90 wRC+ and averages 3.97 runs per game, so it’s a below-average attack. That surprised me. For some reason I thought they were better. OF Ryan Braun (156 wRC+) is currently on the disabled list with an oblique problem and he is not eligible to return until next week. OF Carlos Gomez (147 wRC+) is healthy, but the appeal of his three-game suspension (stemming from a brawl with the Pirates) will be heard today, so he figures to miss at least one game this weekend. His rematch with Brian McCann will have to wait.

(Joe Sargent/Getty)
(Joe Sargent/Getty)

With Braun and potentially Gomez out, the Milwaukee lineup is headlined by C Jonathan Lucroy (117 wRC+), who is one of the most underrated players in the game. He’s a stud both at and behind the plate. 3B Aramis Ramirez (81 wRC+) is off to a really slow start, but you’ll hear him referred to as an “RBI Guy” anyway. Former Yankees 1B Lyle Overbay (79 wRC+) and 1B/3B Mark Reynolds (115 wRC+) are kinda sorta platooning at first, though Reynolds is seeing more and more time given his strong start (and Overbay’s poor start).

2B Rickie Weeks (78 wRC+) has been relegated to the bench in favor of 2B Scooter Gennett (97 wRC+). OF Khris Davis (75 wRC+) has a hilarious 35/1 K/BB, and SS Jean Segura (69 wRC+) simply hasn’t hit since about last June. He got off to such a great start last season but just stopped hitting all together. OF Logan Schafer (63 wRC+) has been playing regularly with Braun out. C Martin Maldonado (208 wRC+), OF Caleb Gindl (1 wRC+), and IF Jeff Bianchi (8 wRC+) fill out the bench and have been varying degrees of useful in limited time. It’s worth noting the Brewers have hit 36 homers this season, the fifth most in baseball. Miller Park is a big-time hitter’s park.

Pitching Matchups

Friday: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (No vs. MIL) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (vs. NYY) (GIFs)
Gallardo, 28, has rebounded from the worst season of his career wonderfully: 2.47 ERA (3.63 FIP) in seven starts and 43.2 innings, with excellent walk (2.27 BB/9 and 6.1 BB%), homer (0.62 HR/9 and 7.0 HR/FB%), and ground ball (51.8%) rates. He isn’t striking out many guys though (5.36 K/9 and 14.4 K%), and righties (.307 wOBA) are hitting him harder than lefties (.273 wOBA). Gallardo has reinvented himself as a two-seam fastball pitcher, using it more than ever before at the expense of his four-seamer. Both pitches sit in the low-90s. He also throws a mid-80s slider and an upper-70s curveball. Gallardo doesn’t have much of a changeup at all.

(Jeffrey Phelps/Getty)
(Jeffrey Phelps/Getty)

Saturday: LHP CC Sabathia (vs. MIL) vs. RHP Kyle Lohse (vs. NYY) (Pitcher GIFs)
Many Cardinals reclamation project pitchers fail to sustain their success elsewhere, but Lohse is the exception. The 35-year-old has a 2.72 ERA (3.25 FIP) in seven starts and 46.1 innings this year thanks to strong strikeout (8.16 K/9 and 22.0 K%), walk (2.33 BB/9 and 6.3 BB%), and homerun (0.78 HR/9 and 8.3 HR/FB%) rates. The grounder rate (39.8%) isn’t anything special. Lefties have clobbered Lohse this year (.372 wOBA) and righties haven’t touched him (.210 wOBA). An upper-80s sinker and low-80s slider are his two main pitches, though he’ll also throw an upper-70s changeup and a mid-70s curve. Lohse is really good, very Hiroki Kuroda-ian. Mixes it up, throws anything at anytime. His days of trying to throw fastballs by everyone are long gone.

By the way, expect Sabathia to get a massive ovation tomorrow night. He’s beloved in Milwaukee for what he did in 2008. Dude started four games in 12 days down the stretch and threw a 122-pitch complete game against the 97-win Cubs on the final day of the season to clinch the Brewers’ first postseason berth in 25 years. Ridiculous.

Sunday: RHP David Phelps (vs. MIL) vs. RHP Matt Garza (vs. NYY) (Pitcher GIFs)
Garza, 30, is a familiar face after all his time with the Rays. He has a 4.93 ERA (3.74 FIP) in his first seven starts and 42 innings with the Brewers, and the peripherals are okay: 7.50 K/9 (18.9 K%), 3.00 BB/9 (7.6 BB%), 0.86 HR/9 (8.5 HR/FB%), and 42.6% grounders. Lefties (.366 wOBA) have roughed him up pretty good so far this year. Righties (.281 wOBA) … not so much. Garza is almost exclusively a low-to-mid-90s fastball/mid-80s slider pitcher at this point. He throws a handful of mid-80s changeups and mid-70s curveballs per start, but not nearly as many as he used to. It’s worth noting Garza has been dealing with a thumb issue (jammed it during an at-bat, hooray DH!) and has his last two starts were up and down.

(Rick Yeatts/Getty)
(Rick Yeatts/Getty)

Bullpen Status
The Brewers were off yesterday, so their heavily used bullpen was able to get some rest. RHP Francisco Rodriguez (1.05 FIP) has been dynamite this year, as have setup men RHP Tyler Thornburg (2.12 FIP) and LHP Will Smith (2.19 FIP). Smith might be the most dominant lefty specialist in the game right now. He’s held same-side hitters a .146 wOBA with a 46.2% strikeout rate. Crazy. K-Rod, Thornburg, and Smith are three of only 12 pitchers to appear in 18 games so far this season.

The rest of the bullpen includes RHP Brandon Kintzler (6.58 FIP), RHP Rob Wooten (4.96 FIP), and LHP Zach Duke (1.84 FIP). The Brewers are also carrying Rule 5 Draft pick LHP Wei-Chung Wang (8.81 FIP), who jumped from rookie ball (!) to MLB. Roenicke never uses him. Wang has appeared in only five games (seven innings) this year and they have all been super low leverage emergency mop-up situations. They basically roll with a six-man bullpen and a 24-man roster. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of the Yankees relievers, then check out Disciples of Uecker  and Brew Crew Ball for everything you need to know about the Brewers.

Sunday Night Open Thread

Spring Training is technically over, but Michael Pineda did not join the rest of the Yankees on their trip to Houston last night, instead staying behind in Tampa so he could throw in a minor league game this morning. According to Erik Boland, Pineda struck out eight and allowed one run on three hits and three walks in six innings. It was his final tune-up before his first start of the regular season next Saturday, his first MLB start in more than two years.

Here is your open thread for the night. The regular season (re)starts tonight with the Dodgers and Padres on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball at 8pm ET. Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy is your pitching matchup. The (hockey) Rangers, Knicks, and Nets are also playing. Talk about anything you like right here. Enjoy.

Open Thread: 3/29 Camp Notes

Spring Training is over. The Yankees’ final Grapefruit League game was rained out this afternoon, and the team is leaving for Houston this evening. Well, some of the team. A bunch of guys are staying behind for the night and will fly out on their own tomorrow. Veterans have it good like that.

The Yankees finished the spring 17-12-2 with 128 runs scored and 106 runs allowed. They hit .250/.314/.359 with 20 homers as a team, the seventh fewest in baseball. Oh well. Those stats are all washed away when the regular season begins against the Astros on Tuesday. The Yankees will have a workout at Minute Maid Park on Monday. Here is 2014’s last round of camp notes:

Here is your open thread for the evening. MLB Network is showing a few live Spring Training games throughout the night, plus both the Devils and Islanders are playing. There’s also college basketball on somewhere. Talk about whatever you like here.

Spring Training Game Thread: Finale

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

At long last, Spring Training is finally over. The Yankees will play their final Grapefruit League game this afternoon after six successful weeks, successful in the sense that they suffered no major injuries or controversies. Part of that is Alex Rodriguez being away, obviously. Masahiro Tanaka has acclimated well, Michael Pineda looks healthy, Dellin Betances and some other youngsters were impressive … yeah, pretty good six weeks.

Jacoby Ellsbury returns to the lineup for the first time in 15 days, though he has been playing in minor league games all week. By all accounts his tight calf is a non-issue at this point and he will be ready for Opening Day. Starting the first year of a seven-year contract on the DL wouldn’t have been the best first impression. Ivan Nova will make his final spring tune-up appearance before getting the ball in the third game of the regular season on Thursday.

The Marlins are back in Tampa following last night’s game — they probably never left, their Spring Training home is four hours away in Jupiter — and they’ve got a representative lineup. Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, and former Yankee Casey McGehee are all playing. Right-hander Tom Koehler is on the mound. Here is Joe Girardi‘s final starting lineup of the spring:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. DH Carlos Beltran
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 1B Mark Teixeira
  6. RF Alfonso Soriano
  7. LF Brett Gardner
  8. 2B Brian Roberts
  9. 3B Kelly Johnson
    RHP Ivan Nova

Available Pitchers: RHP David Robertson, RHP Shawn Kelley, LHP Matt Thornton, RHP David Phelps, RHP Adam Warren, and RHP Matt Daley are all scheduled to pitch. RHP Mark Montgomery, RHP Danny Burawa, and LHP Fred Lewis are the extra arms.

Available Position Players: C Austin Romine, 1B Jose Gil, 2B Yangervis Solarte, SS Dean Anna, 3B Eduardo Nunez, LF Zelous Wheeler, and RF Adonis Garcia will be the second string off the bench. C Roybell Herrera, SS Carmen Angelini, OF Ichiro Suzuki, and OF Antoan Richardson are also available.

Now, the bad news: it’s supposed to rain in Tampa this afternoon and continue pretty much all night. There’s a good chance the game will be cancelled because no one is sitting through a postponement for the final spring game. What that means for Ellsbury and Nova, I have no idea. I’m guessing Nova will throw inside in the batting cage. If they do play, and I hope they do, you can watch live on YES and MLB.tv. Enjoy what is hopefully the last meaningless Yankees game of 2014.

Update (1:05pm): First pitch has been pushed back to 1:15pm ET.

Update (1:13pm): The game has been cancelled. Spring Training is over.