Yankees Spring Training News & Notes: February 25, 2021

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Another quiet day for the Yankees in Tampa. So it goes. Spring training is in full swing and we’re not too far away from game action (this Sunday! and it’s on TV!).

Before we get to the story of the day and a few other notes, take a look at the ups and downs of Mike Tauchman’s day:

Take it easy there! It’s not even March yet. Then again, Tauchman is fighting for a job this spring. With Kyle Higashioka, Tyler Wade, and Brett Gardner assured bench roles already, there’s just one open spot remaining. Could be Tauchman, but he’ll have to beat out Jay Bruce and Derek Dietrich. At least Tauchman redeemed himself later:

Similar to what Lindsey tweeted, it’s still a lengthy spring training to get through. A lot of players are eager to head north within a week or two of Opening Day, but Tauchman could still be fighting for a job at that point.

Dispelling concerns about the Yankees’ pitching depth

Via @Yankees

There’s a pervasive thought that the Yankees lack sufficient pitching depth coming into the 2021 season. For many, the gambles on Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon are too risky. Allowing Masahiro Tanaka to depart was a mistake. There’s no one after Gerrit Cole who the team can count on to carry a significant workload. All of these are valid concerns to an extent.

Yet, various projections indicate that the Yankees’ pitching staff stacks up with the best of the league. PECOTA says the Yankees have the fifth-best group by WARP, whereas the Yankees are number one per FanGraphs Depth Charts. This completely cuts against the grain of many folks’ sentiments.

Room for Improvement: Jordan Montgomery

In one important way, 2020 was a runaway success for Jordan Montgomery. After pitching just 31.1 innings between 2018-2019 thanks to Tommy John Surgery, Monty got back on the bump in 2020 and threw 44 innings for the Yankees across ten starts.

Despite an ugly 5.11 ERA, he managed some great peripherals: 3.87 FIP (85 FIP-); 24.4% K; 4.7% BB; 42.9% GB. According to Statcast, he was in the 95th and 88th percentiles, respectively, for exit velocity (84.6) and hard contact rate (29.9) against.

Even that ERA is perhaps a touch misleading. He had two really awful starts: a 4 inning, 5 run clunker against the Phillies in August and a 0.2 inning, 4 run nightmare of a start against Tampa in September.

Health alone would’ve made 2020 successful for Montgomery, but there were also results that made it so as well. Like everyone, though, he could still stand to improve in 2021, specifically in two areas: line drives and length.

The Infield Corners: Voit, Urshela, and Thoughts and Prayers [2021 Season Preview]

Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports

The Top-Flight First Baseman

On August 2, 2018, Luke Voit made his pinstriped debut. It was a relatively dull introduction to Yankees fans, as he went 0-for-4 in a 15-7 loss to the Red Sox. And, to be frank, it wasn’t all that shocking either; after all, Voit was a no-name 27-year-old first baseman that many assumed was the secondary piece in the deal that sent Gio Gallegos to the Cardinals for international bonus money.

As it turns out, that was the low point of Voit’s tenure.

Voit has hit .279/.372/.543 as a member of the Yankees, which is good for a 144 wRC+. That wRC+ ranks third among first basemen, behind 2019 MVP Cody Bellinger (who has played more outfield in this span) and 2020 MVP Freddie Freeman. That’s pretty good company, folks. And, if you want to go even deeper, his 144 wRC+ ranks 12th among all hitters.

Yankees Spring Training News & Notes: February 24, 2021

Happy Wednesday, everyone. It was another full day of Yankee camp – and yet another day without an injury. That’s two days in a row now. As the old saying goes, three is a streak. So let’s make it a streak, shall we?

Despite the full day of camp, it was again a (relatively) light news day today, so I’ll try to keep this one as brief as possible. Here is today’s video, before we get to it. This time it is Jameson Taillon throwing live BP to his new teammates:

Here’s to a great year from Jameson Taillon. It all starts here. Anyway, news after the jump.

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