Let's set the record straight. Spring Training is awesome. You get to see new faces in the pinstripes, returning players looking already in mid-season form, and great highlight reels of monstrous homeruns against AA opposing pitchers.
On the contrary, spring training is also not the time to get your hopes up, or set unrealistic expectations , or think that the sky is falling when something doesn't go as planned.
I tend to fail to realize the second part.
Nevertheless, so far, I like what I am seeing from the early weeks of spring training, and I've compiled a list of some reactions thus far. Hopefully they aren't too crazy. I am just excited for baseball season to begin already.
The team has some personality and chemistry
Anyone who says playing for the Yankees is all business has rocks for brains. There is a reason why players come to the Bronx. Not only for the history, pedigree, and best ability to win, but also because it's an enjoyable atmosphere. The social team has done a great job catching little moments. The walk-in videos of the guys answering questions are gold. They even had a mini-golf tournament to break up the practices. Team chemistry is already 10-out-of-10.
Anthony Volpe has a real shot of the big leagues
The talk of the town has been Oswald Peraza, and his likely chance of being the next Yankee shortstop, but don't count out Anthony Volpe, who might be in play for any of the positions around the diamond (except first). His bat, speed, and defense is being put on notice, and he is excelling from what the reports are saying.
He's also is becoming a fan favorite. Old photos with Jeter, story's about rooting for his AA teammates despite getting called up, his love for the Yankees. It's the perfect story for hopefully a perfect career in pinstripes. He'll likely start the season in AAA, but there is a shot he gets his chance very soon in the majors. There's a reason why he wasn't included in any trades.
Torres is going to have his best offensive season in his career
The trade rumors definitely got into Torres' head, but I think with the emergence of the new "baby-bombers", Gleyber is going to have his best season offensively. He smacked a nice homer this past week, and I think he is the perfect lineup guy that can offer versatility throughout the batting order. Everyone looks as Gleyber as the "kid", but he is maturing into one of the great leaders of this team, and I hope he gets to stick around and kill it this season.
I am so excited for a full season of Bader
We had such a small glimpse of Harrison Bader last year, and I cannot wait for what 2023 has in store for him. He brings a new flare and excitement on a personal level, and his stout defense, quick speed, and new found bat, is going to inject so many new opportunities for this Yankee squad. He has All-Star potential written all over him, and I am so glad he's on this squad. Jordan Montgomery, who???
Clarke Schmidt is the 5th starter
I've moved on from the Montas drama. I don't need the negativity. But let's cut to the chase. Clarke Schmidt needs to be the 5th starter, and Domingo can be the long relief guy / sixth man in the rotation. The way Schmidt looks out there right now, he could be a true difference maker for this Yankees pitching staff.
Are we going to add any catching depth?
This is a position that we don't necessarily need to worry about. Trevino is terrific, an all-star and platinum glover, who also can mash the ball now. Higgy is serviceable, and can bring some juice to the lineup from time to time. However, Ben Rortvedt (who I swear is a made up person) is hurt again, and highly touted prospect Austin Wells will be out a few weeks with a rib injury. I had Wells potentially seeing some time in the big leagues, but the Yankees might need to look around for some potential backups. Maybe prospects Josh Breaux or Anthony Seigler get an opportunity.
Some surprise names making their cases?
I was worried when the Martian got the invite, that he would be overhyped and overpromised. Turns out, Jasson Dominguez is looking incredible, and might honestly be in the big leagues next year. I think he gets his shot in AAA this year, and hopefully continues to excel.
Wilmer Difo, Willie Calhoun, Rafael Ortega, and Jimmy Cordero have all had some nice moments and plays this spring training thus far, and are names to keep an eye on in the minors.
One name I was surprised is making some noise is Andres Chaparro. The new "Chappy" wasn't protected from the Rule 5 Draft but somehow remained with the organization when no team grabbed him. He hasn't been past AA, but he is crushing the ball. Could he grab sometime in AAA and eventually at third base or DH for the Yankees? Who's to say?
I LOVE the Yankee favorites coming back to to mentor this team.
When the Yankee Alumni come back and serve as mentors and advisors for the team, I eat that up. Nick Swisher gets the juice flowing, Willie Randolph provides wisdom, Bernie Williams brings the jams, and CC Sabathia looks like he can pitch seven innings again. As a young prospect or former teammate, you gotta love when these guys show up and just bring a new sense of excitement to the spring. It would be sick if AROD and Jeter swung by, but for now, this group is perfect.
Can we get the lineup that is going to win us a championship already?
I know it's spring training, but come on...
DJ LeMahieu needs to be starting at third over Donaldson.
Gleyber Torres is an everyday player, and will have his best offensive season
IKF cannot be at shortstop
Hicks is the 4th outfielder
Don't play games anymore. Inject the youth, best players play, and win a damn championship...