Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Spring Training Invites

Spring training is shaping up, less than 31 days before pitchers and catchers report. Reporting to Florida is the forty man roster and 26 non roster invitees. Here's a break down via position.

Key: Italics are non roster invites
Bold is my predicted opening day roster

Catcher: Jorge Posada, Jose Molina, Franciso Cervelli, Kyle Anson, Jason Brown, Jesus Montero, P.J. Pilittere, Austine Romine

Posada and Molina should be a lock for the opening day roster, injuries aside. After all, Posada just signed a new contract, as did Molina. The Yankees like Molina, or they wouldn't have resigned him. The non roster invites that hold the most potential are Jesus Montero and Austine Romine. Despite this, they as well as the other prospects, are not Major League ready. Jesus Montero is the top rated in the Yankees system, but he's also the youngest. Unless the Yankees want to carry three catchers and take away learning experience in the minors, it's Molina and Posada in 08'.

Infield: Jason Giambi(DH*), Shelley Duncan,Wilson Betemit, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, A-Rod, Alberto Gonzalez, Juan Miranda, Bernie Castro, Eric Duncan, Nick Green, Cody Ransom, Marco Vechionacci

Betemit will continue to fullfill the all position purpose he did last year. Starting jobs aren't changing for the most part, platoon at first aside. A-Rod, Jeter, and Cano will hold down the fort, while Duncan and Giambi will take time at first base, as well as Betemit. As for the non roster invites, Castro had some solid numbers last season in Columbus, and could break camp. Don't look for Duncan in New York unless he has an outstanding Spring Training. First base is too crowded, and until Giambi is gone, it doesn't matter how Duncan does. Nick Green is back in the pinstripes, but is going to be in the minors for the 08' season, and is a reserve at best.

Outfield: Bobby Abreu, Melkey Cabrera, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Shelley Duncan(will get starts in the outfield, but will be used primarily at first base),Justin Christian, Colin Curtis, Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson, Jason Lane, Greg Porter, Jose Tabata

Jackson and Tabata will have spots in New York, but not in 08'. Gardner has an outside shot of making the roster, but as a reserve. The starting positions are crowded as it is, making it tough for any player not named Matsui, Damon, Cabrera or Abreu, to make the team. Christian, Gardner,Jackson, and Tabata are strong players, and provide some options if any injuries occur. Oh yeah, there's that Jason Lane character. Lane is another strong reserve candidate. Needless to say, the Yankees have the potential for a strong outfield a few years from now. Yankee fans can't be too upset about the current one. Abreu has played well in New York, and will continue to do so. The Damon/Matsui leftfield tandom isn't horrible, but both players would like to play everyday and could cause some problems. The Melkman will be the centerfielder and rightfully so.

Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Phillip Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Mike Mussina, Ian Kennedy, Jonathon Albaladejo, Andrew Brackman(on 40 man roster, still rehabing), Chris Britton, Brian Bruney, Kyle Farnsworth, LaTroy Hawkins, Sean Henn, Kei Igawa, Jeff Karstens, Jeff Marquez, Ross Ohlendorf, Scott Patterson, Carl Pavano(no comment), Mariano Rivera, Edwar Ramirez, Humberto Sanchez, Jose Veras, Steven White, Chase Wright, Daniel Giese, Alan Horne, Steven Jackson, Daniel McCutchen, Mark Melancon, Heath Phillips, Darrel Rasner, Scott Strickland,

There are the obvious ones here, but then there are a lot of x-factors. Take for exampe guys like Daniel Giese or Heath Phillips(who's a lefty), who could do well enough to make the Major League roster, and have Major League experience. I don't see Edwar Ramirez getting a spot because I believe the organization wants to see him get more time to work on his fastball control and slider. I personally believe Steven White, Steven Jackson, and Ross Ohlendorf has a great shot of making the roster. It's hard to make the call, but I believe all three could get a spot in the pen. Brian Bruney lost a job in the playoffs last year and I see him regaining it this year. As for Carl Pavano...just kidding. Final two spots on the roster are hard to pick, at this point, I do have both Kennedy and Mussina on the final roster. I believe one person will be in the bullpen, and one will be in the starting rotation.

To finish out the roster, I see Jose Veras continuing the success he had at the end of last season and I'll do something no one would have predicted, call Ohlendorf to make the roster.
If you want more info or have any questions about any particular prospects, feel free to comment.

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