I understand that Spring Training games are meaningless, as it is a time for established players to dust off the cobwebs from the off-season, and get back to a baseball mindset.
Hence why Spring Training stats are not used as a predictor for the regular season.
But it is a time when prospects and invited players showcase their talents with the hope of winning one of the few coveted open roster spots up for grabs.
So what did I learn or takeaway about the Yankees this spring?
- I have been a HUGE Michael Pineda fan since he was in the Mariners minor league system, and have been patiently waiting for him to be healthy enough to pitch as a Yankee. I wrote an article back on May 3, 2011 called Keep This Seattle Pitching Prince On Your Radar before the Yankees traded for Pineda, and the last sentence said “The Prince of New York…doesn’t that have a nice ring to it.” Well, after seeing him throw this spring, I think Prince Pineda has finally arrived.
- Find me a Yankees fan that wasn’t anticipating seeing Japanese Masahiro Tanaka pitch this spring and I will buy you a car. But no one I spoke with predicted that Tanaka would transition so remarkably well even in ST. Tanaka fanned 10 batters in his last ST start vs. the Marlins, and coming from Japan makes his numbers the exception. The Yankees awarded Tanaka with the 2014 James P. Dawson Award for having the most outstanding rookie Spring Training. And lastly just a note…. Commissioner Bud Selig gave Tanaka the nod to wear a surgical mask on the bump, so I hope Yankees fans can be respectful of that even when he does get ruffed up at home.
- It is about time Eduardo Nunez spent some time back in Triple A, as he has blown too many chances already. Fact is Nunez has been handed a roster spot that he never really earned for too long. I was frightened that Nunez was skipper Joe Girardi’s new Sergio Mitre, and had a hard time accepting that I might have to watch him make defense errors all season again. The Yankees might have given Nunez the best gift of his career, a freaking wake-up call that is time to get to work.
- 26-year old Yangervis Solarte has never played in a Major League game before, as he has been between teams in the minors for six seasons. The switch-hitter impressed the Yankees so much in Spring Training, posting .429 batting average, two homers and nine RBIs, giving Girardi no excuse not to keep him. When Solarte heard the great news he said, “it is a dream come true.” Personally, I cannot wait to cheer for Solarte and see what he can do in the Bronx. It was also refreshing that the Yankees gave the job to the real winner, and not the player who makes errors but displayed some potential three years ago.
Bottom line is individual accomplishments are achievements but to steal the words of the great Michael Jordan:
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
"Yankees: Pineda, Tanaka, Nunez, and Solarte",