Continuing with our Top 10 Tuesday Series, today we focus on the present.
There are many players competing for jobs on the Yankees' 25-man roster this Spring. However, when Spring Training began, only about 10 of them were looking to be in the Opening Day starting lineup, or to be members of the starting rotation. Here's a look at the 10 guys in The Race For Opening Day:
10. Tyler Austin: Austin fell off this list in an eye blink, when he fractured his foot before the 1B competition between him, Greg Bird and Chris Carter even got underway. Only a miracle will get him on the Opening Day roster at this point.
9. Chris Carter: Signed just before the start of Spring Training, Carter's acquisition was a head-scratcher until Austin went down. However, hitting .160 with 1HR going into today is likely to get some heads itching again, if they aren't already.
8. Aaron Hicks: Hicks obviously wants to be the starting RF in 2017, which must be hard when the entire organization wants the guy he's competing with, Aaron Judge, to get the job. Hicks's spring has gone better than the first half of his 2016 season, but that's not saying a lot.
7. Aaron Judge: Aaron Judge has made progress this spring, cutting down on his strikeouts and being more selective overall at the plate. His numbers are a bit better than Hicks' at this point (.310/2HR vs .250/1HR) and, even if they fall slightly below, I still think he'll get the job.
6. Luis Severino: Of the five pitchers competing for the two starting rotation jobs, Severino has fared the worst. He is in the WBC designated pitching pool for the Dominican Republic, but if I were him, I'd ask to be removed, so that I can concentrate fully on making the starting rotation for the Yankees.
5. Luis Cessa: Cessa seems bound to be a nice, serviceable MLB pitcher. He has had a decent Spring Training but, at this point, he seems ticketed for Scranton-Wilkes Barre. We'll see him during the season if an injury or double header comes up.
4. Adam Warren: Good old Adam Warren. He hates being a hybrid but knows that's his lot in life. Look for him to come out of the bullpen to eat up innings and to spell the back end.
3. Bryan Mitchell: If Spring Training ended today, this guy would probably be in the starting rotation. He started off with a bang but has hit a few speed bumps lately. The organization seems to be very high on him, however, so unless he falls apart completely, he'll make the Opening Day roster.
2. Chad Green: Green has better numbers than Mitchell, but has pitched fewer innings. Needless to say, he would also make the starting rotation if Spring Training ended today. GM Brian Cashman caught hell for his and Luis Cessa's acquisition in exchange for, what was his name? Justin Wilson? Whatever.
1. Greg Bird: As soon as his shoulder surgery was announced after the 2015 season, the question on every one's mind was, "Will Greg Bird be ready for the 2017 season?" When Chris Carter was signed, many people said, "perhaps not." But he has put all doubters to rest this Spring, hitting.400 going into today with a .483 OBP and 3HR. Barring another injury, he IS your 2017 Opening Day 1B.