Yankees scouting report to begin 2023 MLB season
Even with two of the relievers expected to be significant contributors to the 2023 Yankees bullpen – righthanders Tommy Kahnle and Lou Trivino – slated to start the season on the injured list, the club should be able to withstand their absence. Clay Holmes, Ron Marinaccio, Wandy Peralta, Michael King and Jonathan Loaisiga are all power arms and the Yankees very much like Greg Weissert and Jimmy Cordero. Albert Abreu, out of options and therefore expected to be a part of the group out of camp, threw well throughout the exhibition season.
The Yankees went down to the final week before deciding to keep Anthony Volpe and demote Oswald Peraza to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. As Gerrit Cole said toward the end of spring training: “There’s no bad choice.” Keeping both Volpe and Peraza would have required a trade, and there was interest in second baseman Gleyber Torres, who came to camp motivated to recapture the form that made him an All-Star in 2018 and ’19.
Anthony Rizzo, who battled back issues for much of the second half of last season, missed two games in spring training when his back flared up, but by all accounts, he was fine after that. The lefthanded-hitting first baseman enjoyed a strong camp at the plate, but spring training results rarely are predictive of what’s to come in the regular season, good or bad. The Yankees are hoping for a bounce-back season from third baseman Josh Donaldson, whom they tried to trade in the offseason. He never got his bat going until late in Grapefruit League play but did show his usual good glove.
The Yankees took a hit during camp when centerfielder Harrison Bader went down with an oblique strain that will keep him out until at least mid-April. Don’t be surprised to see an Opening Day outfield alignment of Aaron Hicks in left, Aaron Judge in center and Giancarlo Stanton or Oswaldo Cabrera in right. The presence of Judge and Bader’s return makes this group close to elite.
Starter Jose Trevino suffered a mild right wrist sprain during camp, but it was not expected to be something that would keep him from being ready for Opening Day. Kyle Higashioka missed much of camp, but that was because he was the third catcher for the United States in the World Baseball Classic. It’s a good defensive battery with not a lot of punch at the plate. One cautionary note: the Yankees very much hope neither gets hurt. Because of injuries, their organizational depth at catcher currently is a mess.
Stanton, who in an ideal Yankees world would play 40 to 60 games in the outfield, still is the primary designated hitter. Everyone knows what he’s capable of if he stays healthy, and Stanton is the first to say he’s at his best at the plate when he sees at least somewhat consistent time in the outfield. Cabrera, an infielder coming up through the system, has shown the ability and willingness to play every position on the field but pitcher and catcher (and he’d probably be more than willing to try those, too).