Here’s the thing about prospect speculation: It requires an enormous amount of guesswork about development and health and opportunity, and part of the fun is that individual opinions will vary quite a bit. When Marcus submitted this morning’s Pinch Hitter post, I emailed him to say I disagreed with a lot of his choices – No Romine? Culver at short over Nunez? Almonte as the fourth outfielder? — but I don’t know any better than he does who’s going to be on the Yankees roster in 2016 (especially in a fictional world with zero free agent signings).
Agree or disagree with his final analysis, his post was meant to be a glimpse into the future, a rough look at the players who might impact the Yankees in a few yaers. For those who follow the minor league system closely, isn’t that what non-roster invites are all about?
I thought we might spend some time today looking at all of the players — and there are a ton of them — coming to Yankees camp this spring. We’ll start behind the plate.
40-MAN ROSTER (3)
A mix of two Major League backups and one upper-level prospect. One of these three will most likely emerge as the favorite to win the starting job in New York.
The most familiar catcher on the roster. Still has an option remaining. Didn’t play much after a September call-up last year.
Coming off a back injury. The Yankees have said they currently project him as the Triple-A starter.
Last year’s backup has a chance to be this year’s regular. Good defensive reputation. Kept the job over Cervelli last year.
MINOR LEAGUE FREE AGENTS (1)
Familiar names like Yorvit Torrealba and Miguel Olivo have agreed to minor league deals elsewhere.
The Angels backup for the past three years. He’s similar to Stewart and Cervelli as a defense-first catcher with big league experience.
ORGANIZATIONAL MINOR LEAGUERS (4)
Every team invites a lot of younger catcher to camp, partially to help handle all of the bullpens being thrown by an enormous number of pitchers. Most of this group is at least two years from the big leagues, with the possible exception of Murphy.
Now 23, he had a dominant first half in Charleston last year, but he struggled after getting more playing time in the second half.
No stranger to big league camp. He turns 23 in April and has never shown much bat in the lower levels.
Prospect status largely tied to his bat, which scouts like. Has stuck at catcher despite some experience at third base. Could push for a Triple-A spot at some point this year.
Considered by some to be the best prospect in the system. Hit .290/.344/.485 between Low-A and High-A last year. Even if he opens back in High-A, Double-A shouldn’t be out of the question.
COULD SEE TIME AT THE POSITION (1)
It’s rare to have someone listed elsewhere who can get behind the plate in something less than an emergency. The Yankees do have a guy, though.
A shortstop by trade, and utility infielder by design, Maruszak has spent a little bit of time at catcher, including a few call-up-for-a-day trips to big league camp to handle bullpens.
Associated Press photo of Stewart