New York Yankees: Predicting the Opening Day Roster

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17: Aaron Judge (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17: Aaron Judge (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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MILWAUKEE, WI – SEPTEMBER 03: Neil Walker (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI – SEPTEMBER 03: Neil Walker (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) /


  • C Austin Romine
  • 1B/OF Tyler Austin
  • INF Neil Walker
  • INF Ronald Torreyes
  • OF Jacoby Ellsbury (DL)
  • OF Clint Frazier (DL)

The New York Yankees lineup is strong from top to bottom and their bench is pretty solid as well. Austin Romine is the obvious choice for backup catcher. Romine is good defensively, works extremely well with New York’s pitching staff, and was solid offensively when getting consistent at-bats last season while filling in for the injured Gary Sanchez.

The Yankees are confident that Greg Bird’s spring struggles are nothing to worry about, but his backup could be called on for important at-bats during the season. Right now Tyler Austin looks to be the backup first baseman for the Yanks. Billy McKinney, an outfielder by trade, made a strong push for a big league roster spot with four spring homers but Austin was able to match his home run total and hits from the right side, making for a natural platoon with Bird if that becomes necessary.

Despite signing with the Yankees on Monday, Neil Walker could end up starting at second base for New York at some point. With his late addition and Tyler Wade’s hot spring, Walker will likely start the year on the bench while he gets back up to speed. As a switch-hitter, Walker will add an intriguing dynamic to the Yankees’ lineup and should take advantage of Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right field when hitting from the left side.

If either Jacoby Ellsbury or Clint Frazier were healthy, they would be the reserve outfielder for the Yankees. Ellsbury is still recovering from a strained oblique. He should be back to baseball activities soon, but may not be able to get enough reps in before Opening Day. Frazier is recovering from a concussion but he continues to have setbacks and, as the Yankees learned from Ellsbury last year, there’s no way to know when a player will recover from a concussion.

With those outfielders likely to start the season on the disabled list, there could be a bench spot open. The Yankees could use that roster spot to carry an extra reliever, but I think they’ll start the year with four bench players. McKinney could be used as New York’s reserve outfielder but I think Ronald Torreyes gets the nod. Torreyes can’t play the outfield but he can play any infield position and would allow Wade or Brandon Drury to play the outfield. Having Giancarlo Stanton at DH also gives the Yankees an extra outfielder on the roster.

One name you could be looking for that we haven’t mention is Miguel Andujar. Just like after Andujar went 3-4 with four RBI in his big league debut last season, the Yankees will want him to get consistent reps. With Drury and Walker on board, Andujar will start the year in Triple-A. His offense, however, could get him back to the major leagues very soon.