Here’s the idea: If yesterday’s list of 44 sentences served as a kind of look back at the first half of the season, this list of 44 questions looks ahead to the second half. These aren’t necessarily the 44 players the Yankees are going to use these next two and a half months, but these are 44 players who could most certainly have an impact on the direction of this team going forward the rest of the year.
Manny Banuelos: Yankees have preserved his innings for a potential second-half call-up, but with those Double-A numbers, is he actually ready to be a big league starter?
Shane Greene: The raw stuff looks terrific, but is he a real difference maker, a back-of-the-rotation placeholder, an inevitable letdown, or an end-of-the-month trade piece?
Hiroki Kuroda: Workload is basically the same last year, so is he heading for a familiar down-the-stretch decline that the Yankees can’t afford?
Brandon McCarthy: Does the Yankees infield defense set him up for the same disappointing numbers he had in Arizona?
David Phelps: Can he establish himself as at least a steady No. 4 starter heading into his first year of arbitration?
Michael Pineda: Two questions in one: is he coming back at all, and if he does return, can he repeat that encouraging month of April?
CC Sabathia: How will Sabatha’s injury and long-term uncertainty impact the Yankees urgency at the trade deadline?
Luis Severino: Is there a deadline deal worth surrendering the team’s no-doubt-about-it top prospect?
Masahiro Tanaka: No team has the potential for a down-the-stretch boost like this one, but will the rest and rehab plan actually work?
Chase Whitley: Exactly how many innings can a career reliever give the Yankees in a single season?
Andrew Bailey: Throwing bullpens in Tampa, but is he far enough along to become a big league option down the stretch?
Dellin Betances: Is there any chance the Yankees would try him as a starter again, and if not, would they trade him while his stock is so incredibly high?
Bruce Billings: Isn’t this the most obvious place to start when inevitably opening spots on the 40-man roster?
Danny Burawa: His numbers have faded and it’s worth asking, what happened to all of that Triple-A bullpen depth that used to be knocking on the door?
David Huff: If he doesn’t count down on the walk, is Jeff Francis going to replace him as a long man from the left side?
Shawn Kelley: Were those most recent, strikeout-heavy outings an indication that he’s ready to be an impact reliever again?
Jose Ramirez: Is he going to be healthy enough to get a second chance in the second half?
Dave Robertson: Has the emergence of Betances significantly impacted his chances of signing a new, long-term deal?
Matt Thornton: Can he get the big outs against the big A.L. East lefties?
Nik Turley: Can he get the walks under control, or is Chris Leroux going to be the best short-term rotation replacement in Triple-A?
Adam Warren: Are the Yankees willing to go through the awkward steps of getting him stretched out to help the rotation in the second half?
Tyler Webb: Have the Yankees finally found a left-handed reliever with a chance to reach the big leagues and stick, or are they going to have to wait for Jacob Lindgren?
Francisco Cervelli: Perfectly good backup catcher, but at what point does it make more sense to give his at-bats to one of those guys currently sitting in Triple-A?
Brian McCann: After a horrible month of June, is his .357/.378/.476 slash line in early July an indication that mechanical changes are working?
John Ryan Murphy: In trade talks, are other teams willing to value him as a future everyday catcher or as a young bench guy?
Austin Romine: What does he have to do after the break to reestablish some prospect status and put himself back on the New York map?
Gary Sanchez: Have discipline issues and underwhelming power numbers in Double-A significantly impacted his trade value?
Derek Jeter: After hitting .304/.346/.360 in his past 30 games, does The Captain have one last surge in him?
Kelly Johnson: For a team that could use some infield production, would steady playing time lead to more consistent offensive results?
Pete O’Brien: Is massive power with no set position enough to be a key part of the Yankees future, enough to headline a key deadline deal, or enough for neither?
Rob Refsnyder: If the Yankees future at second base has a .979 OPS with passable defense in Triple-A, then what’s the hold up?
Brian Roberts: Is he really going to make it through a full season without a significant health problem?
Brendan Ryan: Signed for one more year plus a player option, so is he actually a candidate to replace Jeter next season?
Scott Sizemore: A known commodity against lefties, but have his call-up chances vanished in the dust of Refsnyder, Jose Pirela and Zelous Wheeler?
Yangervis Solarte: Just how far over his head was he playing those first two months of the season?
Mark Teixeira: Bat has been encouraging, but are these nagging injuries going to catch up to him before the end of the season?
Zelous Wheeler: With younger options on the verge, is Wheeler any more than a short-term fix and a feel-good story?
Zoilo Almonte: Did last year’s underwhelming debut create a sour first impression that won’t go away?
Carlos Beltran: Was this first half a sign of things to come for the next two and a half years?
Taylor Dugas: Of all those young left-handed outfielders, is the often-overlooked 5-foot-9 guy going to emerge as the most viable big league option?
Jacoby Ellsbury: How long is one of the game’s premier leadoff hitters going to have to bat third?
Brett Gardner: How much open-market money did he cost himself by signing that spring training extension?
Jose Pirela: Encouraging bat for a second baseman, but is it enough to play as a corner outfielder?
Ichiro Suzuki: Outperforming expectations, but is a pure singles hitter really the best use of the right field position?
Associated Press photos