New York Yankees set player pool before start of camp

Aaron Boone addresses reporters during Spring Training in Tampa.|Art or Photo Credit: AP

The Yankees have set their player pool for the upcoming summer camp at Yankee Stadium, which is slated to begin on July 1. The first workout is expected to be held on July 3 in preparation for a season opener which will take place on July 23 or 24.

The Bombers have elected to carry 58 of a possible 60 players in a pool that includes six catchers, eight infielders, eight outfielders, three infielders/outfielders and 33 pitchers.

All of the players on the Yankees’ 40-man roster have been included in the player pool, with right-hander Luis Severino having been transferred to the 60-day injured list following February surgery to repair a torn right ulnar collateral ligament. Prospects on the 60-man player pool will only gain service time if added to the active roster.

Additionally, the Yankees announced that they have signed infielder Matt Duffy and catcher Max McDowell to Minor League contracts. Right-hander Dan Otero was released and re-signed to a new Minor League contract.

The Yankees have not yet announced where their secondary training site will be, though the leading options are believed to include the home ballparks of their top Minor League affiliates in Trenton, N.J. and Moosic, Pa.

Catchers (6): Kyle Higashioka, Chris Iannetta, Erik Kratz, Max McDowell, Gary Sánchez, Josh Thole

Back in February and March, Yankees manager Aaron Boone strongly indicated that he expected Higashioka to begin the season as the backup to Sánchez. Iannetta, Kratz and Thole were brought in as veteran options to push Higashioka, who is seeking to make his first career Opening Day roster. The 26-year-old McDowell, who signed his contract on Sunday, played last year at Double-A Biloxi in the Brewers’ system.

Infielders (8): Matt Duffy, Thairo Estrada, Mike Ford, Kyle Holder, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela, Luke Voit

The projected starting infield of Voit, LeMahieu, Torres and Urshela is contained in this group, while Ford’s left-handed power bat could factor into a platoon at first base. Estrada and Holder boast multi-position versatility and the ability to spell Torres at shortstop. A 29-year-old who has played mostly third base during his five-year big league career, Duffy signed his contract on Sunday. He attended Spring Training with the Rangers, for whom he went 9-for-32 (.281).

Outfielders (8): Estevan Florial, Clint Frazier, Brett Gardner, Zack Granite, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Tauchman

If the season had started as scheduled on March 26, the Yanks’ starting outfield likely would have been comprised by some arrangement of Frazier, Gardner and Tauchman, with Hicks (Tommy John surgery), Judge (right rib fracture) and Stanton (right calf strain) all expected to be weeks or months away at that time. Instead, Hicks, Judge and Stanton could all be active for the opener, which pushes Frazier and Tauchman into battles for playing time.

Florial is a high-ceiling talent who is rated as the Yanks’ No. 6 prospect by MLB Pipeline, though injuries have hindered his progress. Granite, a Staten Island, N.Y., product who has seen big league time with the Twins, was in camp this spring as a roster hopeful.

Infielders/outfielders (3): Miguel Andújar, Rosell Herrera, Tyler Wade

Given the unique nature of this season, it could be to the Yankees’ advantage that they have three true options to shift between the infield and the outfield.

Andujar was the runner-up to the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani for the 2017 American League Rookie of the Year Award, but he missed most of last season with a right shoulder injury; he saw reps in left field this spring in an effort to increase versatility. The switch-hitting Herrera inserted his name into consideration for a bench role as a spring standout, hitting .400 (10-for-25) when play halted on March 12. Wade is the fastest player on the roster, per Statcast, and he has played every position but first base, catcher and pitcher in the big leagues.

Pitchers (33): Albert Abreu, Domingo Acevedo, Daniel Alvarez, Luis Avilán, Zack Britton, Luis Cessa, Aroldis Chapman, Gerrit Cole, Deivi Garcia, Luis Gil, Chad Green, David Hale, J.A. Happ, Ben Heller, Jonathan Holder, Tommy Kahnle, Michael King, Brooks Kriske, Jonathan Loaisiga, Tyler Lyons, Luis Medina, Jordan Montgomery, Nick Nelson, Dan Otero, Adam Ottavino, James Paxton, Adonis Rosa, Clarke Schmidt, Masahiro Tanaka, Nick Tropeano, Alexander Vizcaíno, Miguel Yajure, Tony Zych

Cole will resume preparation for his long-awaited pinstriped debut, having signed a nine-year, $324 million contract this past offseason as he embraces the challenge of becoming the Bombers’ new ace. Paxton has recovered from back surgery performed in February, and the rotation projects to also include Tanaka and Happ. Montgomery seemed to be a rotation lock this spring.

Chapman heads a bullpen that sets up with Britton, Green, Holder, Kahnle and Ottavino in prominent roles. Cessa is expected to be on the staff as a long reliever, while pitching coach Matt Blake said that the team was considering Loaisiga in a variety of roles, including as a swingman between the rotation and bullpen.

As in February and March, there will be young arms to watch in camp. Schmidt and Garcia are the Yankees’ No. 2 and No. 3 prospects, respectively, according to MLB Pipeline. Gil is the club’s No. 5 prospect, while Medina is ranked No. 10. Abreu (No. 11), Yajure (No. 14), Nelson (No. 16) and King (No. 25) also are highly regarded.

According to MLB's Operating Manual, all players on a 40-man roster “that the Club anticipates participating” during the season will be part of the player pool, while the rest will be made up of non-40-man roster players under contract. Any 40-man-roster players who are not included in a player pool (for example, maybe a prospect who isn’t deemed ready for the Majors) will still be paid during the season.

No team will be allowed to exceed the limit of 60 players in its player pool at any time during Spring Training 2.0 or the regular season.