We continue to provide our Spring Training coverage of televised New York Yankees game. Today the Bombers would head down to Clearwater and face off against the Philadelphia Phillies. So as we have, we bring you our three big takeaways from today’s game.
J.A. Happ Continues Pitching Well
It’s no secret that the Yankees are continuing to deal with injuries. It’s almost as if someone hit the replay button on the 2019 season. And because of those injuries, the pitcher the Yankees believed would be their fifth starter/trade chip, JA Happ, becomes vitally important to the 2020 season. As the pitching rotations have made their turns, JA Happ has impressed. Happ’s fastball command has looked sharp and in control of both sides of the plate.
Backup Catcher Battle Continues
The Yankees starting catcher, Gary Sanchez, is dealing with a sore back & out of action until at least Friday. This news makes the battle for the backup catcher role even more critical. So the competition between Kyle Higashioka, Erik Kratz, Josh Thole, and Chris Iannetta advances to another level. All four men vying for this position have played relatively well this Spring. When it comes to choosing a backup catcher, the decision is primarily predicated on defense. And whatever offensive contributions are a bonus. There are still 16 days until Opening Day, so a decision isn’t likely to be made until much closer to that timeframe. Higgy is the favorite to earn the position, especially given that he is already in the 40-Man roster. But this is still something to watch for as Spring Training continues.
5th Starter Spot
Much like the backup catcher role, the fifth starter spot in the rotation is up for grabs. We have detailed the injuries to Severino and Paxton. These injuries open up opportunities for players like Michael King and Clarke Schmidt. Deivi Garcia has been hyped up quite a bit this Spring. But it’s highly unlikely that Deivi gets the node. Michael King has pitched 9.1 innings this Spring and has an ERA of 3.86 and surrendered only four runs. The Yankees coaching staff will have a difficult decision ahead of them when it comes to choosing their fifth starter.