As spring training is well underway for the New York Yankees, ESNY breaks down which players are on fire, and which ones are ice cold. 

Too bad it’s only spring training because the New York Yankees are off to a hot start. Even manager Joe Girardi has enjoyed the way his team has looked during the first few weeks of the spring.

“We have done so many good things in Spring Training up to this point,” Girardi told the YES Network during the game against the Pittsburg Pirates on Sunday. “I have to find little things to look for to get better at. That’s a great thing too.”


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So many Yankees off to great starts, but with that being said let’s take a look at who’s been hot, and who’s been not.

Who’s Hot

1. Greg Bird: 

It seems that he has recovered nicely from the torn Labrum injury that caused him to miss last year.

In 16 at-bats, Bird has six hits and three home runs. He has driven in five runs and is sporting a batting average of .375, an on-base percentage of .474 and a slugging percentage of 1.063.

It’s great to see that he is off to a great start, the Yankees are counting on him to be their everyday first baseman.

2. Matt Holliday

The veteran was signed by the Yankees to be the everyday designated hitter and already appears comfortable playing for his new team.

Holliday has hit safely in seven of his 14 at-bats, good enough for a batting average of .500 while he’s currently the leader in doubles (3) for the Yankees.

The 37-year old hasn’t provided just a nice bat in the Yankees lineup, but he also provides leadership, which has made the Yankees love him even more. 

3. Billy McKinney:

McKinney was a part of the Aroldis Chapman trade and while he wasn’t regarded as a major pick-up for the Yankees in that deal, he has turned some heads this spring.

The 22-year-old has a .556 batting average and has a higher slugging percentage than Bird has right now with 1.444. McKinney’s four out of five hits are extra base hits, two being doubles and the other two being home runs.


CHECK OUT the New York Yankees Team Center: News, Stats, Standings


With numbers like this he is certainly making a name for himself, and someone the Yankees will keep their eyes on.

4. Masahiro Tanaka

Tanaka had a strong 2016 campaign finishing 14-4 with 3.12 ERA. He finished just under 200 innings throwing 199.2 innings pitched.

Tanaka has looked sharp in his first two starts of the spring. He has pitched in five innings thus far and has allowed only three hits while striking out six hitters. Opponents are batting only .176 off of him. In his last start against the Pirates, he struck out three in three innings pitched.

It was no surprise but the Yankees have named Tanaka the opening day starter. It’s a good sign to see the team’s ace off to a great start and is healthy.

5. Adam Warren


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With another chance for Warren to crack a rotation, he has certainly been impressive in his two starts where he has pitched in five innings. The righty has allowed just one hit, one run and one walk with five strikeouts during this span. His ERA is only 1.80 and his batting average against is a stellar .063.

Who’s Not

1. Rob Refsnyder:

This was big spring training for Refsnyder and so far he has fallen flat on his face. Last year he had to play multiple different positions for the Yankees. This would include first base, which he has never played before. Having to focus on learning new positions caused him to struggle at the plate.


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“I was learning a bunch of new positions last year,” Refsnyder told Dan Martin of the New York Post. “So I focused a lot more on hitting this offseason. I felt like I haven’t been focusing on offense as much as should have.”

So far this spring Refsnyder has seen 17 plate appearances where he only has two hits. That is a mediocre .118 batting average. Also, he has zero extra base hits thus far. His slugging percentage is just .118 with an on-base percentage of .211.

There does not seem to be any place for Refsnyder on the New York Yankees roster and there are reports that the Yankees are looking to trade him.

2. Chris Carter

Carter was brought in as an insurance guy just in case Greg Bird was rusty coming off his shoulder injury. Thank goodness Bird hasn’t been because Carter has struggled this spring.

In 15 plate appearances, he has struck out a total of seven times and homered just once. He is just 3-for-15, keeping him precisely on the Mendoza line at .200.

Can’t stress it enough with Carter struggling: it’s great to see Bird playing at such a high level.

 NEXT: Sanchez's Power Goes Beyond His Bat


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Originally from Long Island, Matt grew up as a die heart Yankees, Jets, Knicks, and Rangers fan. Matt moved to South Carolina when he was 13, but this did not stop him from watching his favorite teams. He graduated with a Bachelor degree in Mass Communications from the University of South Carolina Upstate. Other than a contributor for Elite Sports NY, Matt was a former writer for Skyscrapersports and currently is a writer and co-host for The Assist Podcast. He is also a sports reporter for Greer Today.