Yankees Spring Training
Photo by Sandra Molinares for JSN

3 remaining questions as Yankees enter Spring Training

BRONX, NY -- With Spring Training approaching, pitchers and catchers are set to report to George M. Steinbrenner Field in one week. Sixty-six players will have their bags packed for Tampa, as the Yankees have a top-of-the-line roster mixed with veterans and promising prospects. 

Although the Yankees have made several strong moves this offseason, there are three looming questions the Yankees have yet to resolve.

  • After missing out on Yamamoto, are the Yankees banking on the health of starters Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes, or do they plan to acquire/sign a No. 2 arm before the deadline?
  • Who will be the sixth starter and next man up in the bullpen? Could prospects like Will Warren, Clayton Beeter, Yoendrys Gomez, or recent signings like Cody Poteet and Cody Morris pan out to take that spot?
  • Will Anthony Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton, and DJ LeMahieu remain healthy and bounce back after having a below-average season?

Spring Training Invitees To Watch Out For

The Yankees announced that they are inviting 26 players to 2024 Major League spring training. This season, they have invited 11 non-roster invitees (NRIs) that have played in other organizations in 2023 and signed minor league deals with the Yanks: RHP Nick Burdi, RHP Yerry de los Santos, C J.C. Escarra, OF Luis González, LHP Oddanier Mosqueda, INF/OF Jose Rojas, RHP Dennis Santana, INF Kevin Smith, C Luis Torrens, RHP Duane Underwood Jr. and INF Josh VanMeter.

Ten other players in the Yankees organization were also extended invitations to big league camp: C Josh Breaux, INF Jeter Downs, INF Caleb Durbin, OF Oscar González, RHP Chase Hampton, OF Spencer Jones, OF Brandon Lockridge, C Ben Rice, INF T.J. Rumfield and RHP Will Warren.

RHP Will Warren has truly impressed at every level and is now knocking at the doorstep for an MLB call-up. Warren could be the Yankees' sixth starter with a strong spring. He made adjustments in Triple-A with the automated strike zone and finished 2023 on a high note, allowing only two runs in five starts.

Career stats: 19-13, 3.63 ERA, 258.0 IP, 274 SO, 1.28 WHIP

RHP Chase Hampton is the Yankees' top pitching prospect and has climbed the ranks quickly since getting drafted in 2022. Hampton dominated Hudson Valley and finished strong in Somerset. Hampton's fastball tops out around 96 and that's his bread and butter along with his cutter. He also generated a lot of strikeouts with his curve.

Career Stats: 4-3, 3.63 ERA, 106.2 IP, 145 SO, 1.14 WHIP

Spencer Jones, dubbed "lefty Judge," is a special player. He has the ability to be a five-tool player and his combination of speed and size is extremely rare. His defense also stood out with a few diving catches and robbed home runs. Pitcher Carter Holten was teammates with Jones at Vanderbilt and said Jones saved at least four home runs for him. Jones is going to rise through the Yankees system rather quickly. 

Career Stats: 573 AB, .279 AVG, 20 HR, 78 RBI, 55 SB, .810 OPS

C Ben Rice broke out offensively and was named Yankees Minor League Hitting Prospect of the Year. His bat-to-ball skills separate him from most hitters. Rice had a knack for coming up in the clutch. His bat is his best trait, and he might profile more as a first baseman or designated hitter in MLB. His lefty bat could be significant at Yankee Stadium.

Career stats: 547 AB, .287 AVG, 32 HR, 117 RBI, 16 SB, .917 OPS

1B TJ Rumfield had a breakout season with the Patriots in 2023. Rumfield plays exceptional defense and made just two errors last year. He was awarded with a Gold Glove. Sadly, an injury robbed him of a full season, as he only played 86 games.

Career stats: 596 AB, .243 AVG, 21 HR, 100 RBI, 12 SB, .750 OPS

INF Caleb Durbin, a dark horse this spring, finished 2023 with a batting average of .304 and OPS of .822 with 36 SB. He also dominated the Arizona Fall League, slashing an impressive .353/.456/.1.044 and stole 21 bases in just 23 games.

Career stats: 691 AB, .266 AVG, 12 HR, 93 RBI, 79 SB, .753 OPS

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