5 interesting 2024 Yankees spring training stories to watch
Yankees spring training is about to begin and even though the 2024 team is going in to win the World Series this season, the journey to the Fall Classic begins now.
GM Brian Cashman has retooled the roster a bit this offseason to fill some of the team’s gaping holes, especially in the outfield, but will it be enough? It has been an interesting season where, at the time of writing, as many superstars Blake Snell and Cody Bellinger They are still free agents.
Could the Yankees make a move for one of these names? Yes, but with the odds of that happening being very low, we’re here to take a look at the current team and see what we can get out of spring training.
Here are the five most interesting Yankees storylines to watch for this spring training…
Which catchers will start this year with the Yankees?
He is the starting catcher for the Yankees in 2024 — injury free — Jose Trevino. That is not in question. The former All-Star shortstop will look to bounce back from an injury-shortened 2023 and lead the Yankees rotation to bigger and better things.
But who will bring it back? Saw the last seasons Kyle Higashioka as the team’s backup but now that he is in San Diego, who will pick up that mantle? Mount Rory, received in the Josh Donaldson contract in 2022, played some time last year largely because it came to be Gerrit Coleis a personal receiver.
Unfortunately, Rortvedt’s offensive numbers left a lot to be desired. In 32 games, the 26-year-old had eight total hits, and only three went for extra bases.
The other option is preview Austin Wells. The 24-year-old was called up in September and looked to be very comfortable at and behind the plate by the end of the regular season. Among Wells’ 10 more hits, there were four home runs – including three in the last five games.
It will be interesting to see if Wells can continue to show his expected offensive ability while also proving that he can be a capable backup.
Which young pitchers can be options down the line?
The Yankees rotation has a lot of question marks but Cashman and the organization have done a great job of assembling a lot of young arms in their farm system. Even after dealing a bunch of them this offseason, the Yankees still have several catchers who can make the team on Opening Day if they aren’t called up during the season.
With the health of most of the rotation in question, it’s likely that a starter or two will be needed and that’s where this spring training will come into play. Kittens like it Will Warren, Chase Hampton, Clayton Beeter and there will be more in the camp to show the material.
Can one or two prove that they can be contacted when the time comes? The Yankees have a good history of successfully using young pitchers to start as Luis Gil, Randy Vasquez and Johnny Brito. With Vasquez and Brito gone, who will fill that role this season? It’s something to keep an eye on.
What will the outfield look like?
Judge Aaron was the same outfield stable for the Yankees when the offseason began, but who would the team have around their captain? Well, the trade for Juan Soto solve one of these spots but there is still a question of how to do Aaron Boone used outwardly, defensively?
Judge can play both center and right field, but the organization would like to avoid their slugger putting too much weight on his feet in center field. Unfortunately, a true middle fielder has not been dealt this season so it looks like Judge will be playing a lot of games in the middle this season.
What fans and the basketball world will want to watch is how everyone else will be used. Soto will likely play right field because it’s easier for him at Yankee Stadium while left field will see a mix of Alex Verdugo and Trent Grisham out there.
Yankee fans should get used to an outfield of Verdugo, Judge and Soto but how often will we see Grisham start? And what about it Giancarlo Stanton? Are his days playing the ballpark over with the addition of Soto and Verdugo?
Can beginners stay fit?
The Yankees saw three potential starters from last season wind up on different teams. Luis Severino signed by the Mets after hitting free agency, Michael King traded to the Padres in the Soto deal and German Domingo released.
Who did the Yanks get to fill their spots? well, Marcus Stroman He was the big signing for New York this season and will wear pinstripes for the first time this spring. Stroman is coming off an All-Star season, but his second half was marred by injuries. He said he went through his injuries last year, which affected his pitching ability – and his numbers showed that – but can he stay healthy? He says that he is completely healthy but that his journey this spring will go a long way to prove that he is.
The same is for Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes. Rodon’s first year in the Bronx was not ideal. The lefty who signed a six-year, $162 million contract before the 2023 season last year had many starts and stops. He started just 14 games and went to a 3-8 record and a 6.85 ERA. The 31-year-old was injured during spring training last year, and the Yanks are hoping he can get through February and March healthy so he can find that consistency out of the gate.
And then we have Cortes. The 29-year-old was able to make just 12 starts and while he was solid – going 5-2 with a 4.97 ERA – he couldn’t stay on the field. If the Yankees have any chance of going far this season, they need Cortes and the others to stay relatively healthy. It is something to behold.
Who is hitting where?
Much has been made of the Yankees lineup. Boone has said that the order is still “up in the air” but he expects Soto to hit second in front of Judge. That lineup can change depending on the starter to keep it as balanced as possible with Judge right and Soto left moving around.
However, the fluidity of the Yankees’ everyday lineup goes beyond where Soto and Judge hit. will be DJ LeMahieu lead off? Where will be Anthony Volpe hit? What about Verdugo and Glieber Torres?
There are so many possibilities for how Boone can run his offense that it will be interesting to see where he ends up landing. Expect a different variation of the lineup used in the early days of spring training as pitchers try to get used to hitting in different parts of the lineup. And then we finally get to see what looks like an Opening Day series as we get closer and closer to March 28 when the Yanks travel to Houston to take on the Astros.