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  • Patrick Gunn

Lefty Pitchers, Left Field: Yankees Thoughts Pre-Spring Training

by Patrick Gunn

February 13, 2023

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Hard to believe that the Yankees are days away from opening camp. Glendale, Arizona has cleaned the last confetti off the turf as MLB players prepare their bags and take their final workouts at home before joining the team. Oh, and several Bombers jump right into competition for the World Baseball Classic. There is still plenty of time for the Yankees to figure out their roster ahead of opening day on March 30th against the Giants. Here are five of my loose thoughts on the state of the team heading into the week.


  • I would’ve liked to see the Yankees go after Andrew Chafin. Sure, he walks a lot of batters (career 9.2 BB%) and low fastball velocity (23rd Percentile per MLB Savant), but he gets a lot of strikeouts and whiffs and would give the Yankees an inexpensive Southpaw (Rosenthal reports he’s signing for $6.5 million). Not to mention the Yankees have only one southpaw - Wandy Peralta - confirmed to make the open the season in the Yankees’ bullpen. I still don’t understand why the Bombers released Lucas Luetge to bring in Tommy Kahnle. Excluding starters Nestor Cortes Jr. and Carlos Rodon, Matt Krook is the only other lefty on the Yankees’ roster and he’s never pitched in the majors. He did do a good job against lefties as a starter last season in Scranton, but New York should find some more help.


  • In terms of non-roster invitees, the Yankees invited four left-handed pitchers to camp this year. Nick Ramirez is an interesting story - he started as a first baseman before switching to the mound in 2017 with the Brewers. He’s still growing but a cool story. Not sure if any of them have a chance of making the opening-day roster, but keep an eye on Lisandro Santos. The 24-year-old has struck out more than 25% of batters in the minors the last two seasons (albeit with consistently high walk percentages. Here’s a FanGraphs scouting report from early last season when he got off to a torrid start). That is to say, the Yankees are most likely looking outside the house for left-handed pitching.


  • I’m not as upset about David Peralta signing elsewhere. He’s a decent platoon player who rates better on defense per outs above average than you’d expect, he hit righties well but struggled in the second half and he’s 35. He could have been a good stopgap option but not essential. Now, the Dodgers (reportedly) signing him does raise an eyebrow and make me reconsider, but the Yankees should not lose sleep over this miss. However…


  • They should still look for improvements in left field. It is surprising the Bombers have nearly made it to Spring Training without any external help - or position player changes in general. Free agency offers slim chances for improvement, but Jurickson Profar, Tyler Naquin, and Robbie Grossman are still available. Why not a reunion with Ben Gamel? Our own Andy Singer and Paul Semendinger made compelling cases as to why the Yankees should trade for Seth Brown of Oakland as a platoon player.


  • The Yankees have some compelling non-roster sleepers for the position. Rafael Ortega has been around the block and had some success with the Cubs in 2021. Jake Bauers has struggled since his early years with the Rays and Guardians and may be more of a first baseman than outfielder, but he can get on base and is only 27. Finally, Billy McKinney is another former Bomber who could offer some occasional pop.

13 comments

13 comentários


cpogo0502
13 de fev. de 2023

The problem with the Yankees is that they are not a balanced ball club, in fact they are woefully out of balance. A predominantly right-handed hitting team with right-handed pitching; exactly the wrong recipe for Yankee stadium. This is all on Cashman for not understanding what wins championships and specifically how to take advantage of the home field. Oh, and by the way, we have a second pitcher (left-handed to boot) that is injured. Nestor left the World Baseball Classic with a recurrence of the same hamstring injury that limited him at the end of the season. That's 2/5 of our rotation starting the season injured.

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
13 de fev. de 2023
Respondendo a

EXACTLY. 100%.

I can spend lots of money, but if I spend it foolishly, what good does it do?

Every person who follows the Yankees' history knows that the team is based on lefty pitching and lefty power. The Yankees have been trying to win without that model for many years now. If the goal is reaching and winning the World Series, then this approach has failed.


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jjw49
13 de fev. de 2023

It appears Cashman has free rein in spending up to a certain threshold. The roster right now has not improved.... I suspect Yankees will struggle this year and are projected to win 89 games? They might be best in AL East so what the prize is World Series.The balanced schedule should help but this team has problems. Do Yankees spend wisely? No.. Do Yankees spend money? Yes. The real problem is ..... Cashman.... you can't teach an old dog new tricks. 😀

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
13 de fev. de 2023
Respondendo a

Great point. It's the goal of the fans. I'm not convinced it is the ultimate goal for the management.

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
13 de fev. de 2023

Great points Patrick.


I think the Yankees came up to the luxury tax threshold they didn't want to pass so they simply stopped spending. As I have written, I don't think they planned well, they just spent whatever they had to (and they had to bring back Rizzo and Judge and it was almost as necessary to get Rodon) and then realized that they couldn't spend any more without paying additional luxury taxes. The Yankees spend big, until they don't, but the result isn't necessarily a team that has spent wisely.


I also wish they had planned better with their bullpen and for left field and with left-handed bats. I do find it amazing that the Yankee formula for left…


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fuster
13 de fev. de 2023
Respondendo a

is Cabrera a good lefty bat?


is Dominguez?

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fuster
13 de fev. de 2023

who could possible be a better left fielder than Estavan Florial?

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