Yankees Prospects Who Weren’t Invited to Spring Training
By now most fans are aware of the 23 non-roster invitees to Spring Training for the Yankees. But what about the guys who were left off?
Just the other day when the Yankees announced the fortunate names headed to Tampa to take part in Grapefruit League action, my DMs were blown up on Twitter by angry fans wanting to know how the team could not include prospects such as Miguel Andujar, Dietrich Enns, Kyle Higashioka, Jorge Mateo or Domingo German.
Instead of getting into it via social media, I figured I’d wait until now to enlighten a certain section of fans on how the 40-man roster works. Very simply, if a player is on the 40-man, as are each of the aforementioned names, they don’t need an invite to Spring Training, they are automatically scheduled to be there.
Which is why the 23 players who have yet to be named to the 40-man (including 11 free agent signees) needed an invite to the party — regardless of the fact that many of these guys are the Yankees’ cream of the crop when it comes to the farm system’s top prospects (Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, Chance Adams, James Kaprielian, Dustin Fowler).
Depending, how closely you follow the Minor League circuit, you’ll notice the exclusion of three known prospects from the list.
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First, there is Blake Rutherford. Ranked as the No. 22 prospect in all of baseball by ESPN’s Keith Law, the bottom line with Rutherford is that he’s still only 19-years-old — with one full season of Minor League ball under his belt. Yes, he’s going to be good — and he certainly was a steal for the Yankees at No. 18 in last year’s draft, but he’ll need to ascend from Rookie ball before garnering a Spring Training invite. Besides, no one expected Rutherford to head to Tampa just yet, anyway.
Next up we have 22-year-old right-handed pitcher Domingo Acevedo. Ranked as the no. 10 prospect in the Yankees’ system according to Baseball America, Acevedo may have a big league fastball that regularly sits between 96-100 mph, but his control still needs a bit of refinement. With an impressive change-up to boot, had it not been for his ineffective breaking pitches, one would think Acevedo would have been working out with big guns. Expect him to open the season at Double-A Trenton.
Lastly, there is the key piece in the Carlos Beltran trade, former 2015 first round draft pick, Dillon Tate. Tate’s struggles over the past year and a half have been well documented, but he showed signs of turning it around most recently in the Arizona Fall League (a 3.86 ERA in six games). Confidence is huge for a pitcher, which is why I expected the Yankees to reward Tate’s improvement with a trip to sunny Florida. Perhaps the Yankees have been listening to Keith Law a little too closely.
NJ.com reports that Law recently said this about Tate:
“He’s lost his fastball. … I saw him at Santa Barbara, he was 94-98 as a starter and holding it with a pretty good slider. And I saw him last spring with Texas, and the first time out he was bumping 95 and they cleaned up the delivery. … He hurt his hamstring in April, and after he came back and all the way through Fall League when I saw him yet again, his fastball was just not there. He’s pitching with an average fastball now, even in shorter stints in relief. … You are acquiring him hoping that with an offseason of rest and working with him on conditioning stuff, maybe he finds some of that missing fastball.”
Even still, Law rank’s Tate as the Yankees’ No. 14 prospect — which for the No. 2 farm system in baseball according to Law, ain’t too shabby.
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Remember, just because a player gets invited to Spring Training doesn’t mean he’ll stick around very long. Two weeks after the start of big league camps, Minor League camps opens. So this is likely just a stepping stone for many of these prospects to get their feet wet before being sent back down to prepare for their own seasons.
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