By: Gavin Ewbank | Lead Writer
We're about a week away from being halfway through the spring training schedule, and things are starting to shape with how the Yankees might construct their Opening Day roster.
I gave you my original roster prediction a couple weeks ago before spring game actually started, but now that I've gotten a good amount of games to look back on, it's time to update that roster prediction.
I'm picking this roster off of the assumption that the Yankees will bring 12 pitchers and 13 hitters with them to Houston to open the season.
The hitters: Brian McCann, Francisco Cervelli, Mark Teixeira, Brian Roberts, Derek Jeter, Kelly Johnson, Alfonso Soriano, Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Ichiro Suzuki, Yangervis Solarte, Scott Sizemore.
Things things I have to say about the 13 hitters I selected. One: Ichiro is only on the team is he's not traded, and that might not be the easiest thing to do given his age an contract. The Phillies could be a possible trade partner, as ESPN's Buster Olney noted yesterday. He'll be the fifth outfielder on the roster, and though the Yankees probably don't want that, they'll have to find a role for him.
Second: Solarte will win the job if, and only if, he continues to play as well as he has so far. I think Joe Girardi knows what this guy can bring. He's a lot like Eduardo Nunez, but without the unpredictability. He can play around the infield and even give innings in the outfield. I like him, and would give him a shot if I were Girardi.
The pitchers: CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Masahiro Tanaka, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, David Phelps, Matt Thornton, Preston Claiborne, Shawn Kelley, David Robertson, Dellin Betances.
I think that Pineda is going to win the fifth starter job if he continues to build off of his very impressive debut on Friday against the Tigers. If he doesn't pitch that way for the best of the spring, there is no way he loses the competition against Phelps and Adam Warren.
And Betances has been great so far. He offspeed pitches have been filthy, and he's finally pitching like the Yankees hoped he would turn out to be some day. He could be a very important piece in the Yankees' bullpen this season is things come together for him.
Honorable mentions: Fred Lewis and Matt Daley have looked good this spring. Girardi noted a couple days ago that he has been impressed with Lewis. Vidal Nuno has looked goo, but was always a far outside shot at making the roster. We'll probably see him once or twice during the season if the Yankees are looking for a spot start or are trying to replace an injured starter.
Dean Anna have been solid and he's one of the guys that I've been rooting for, but in the end, there just won't be enough room for them to make the club. He'll provide depth in the minors if needed.