Who the Opening Day second baseman for the New York Yankees will be isn’t just a mystery to the team’s fans.
According to Brendan Kuty of NJ.com, Aaron Boone hasn’t chosen a clear frontrunner for the opening at second base. When asked if the decision on the starting second baseman could come down to the last days of the spring, Boone replied “We have good options and guys are making it so it is a decision. Guys are playing well and continuing to keep themselves in that conversation.”
What makes the second base battle so interesting is that Miguel Andujar’s bid for the starting job at third base drastically changes the battle for second. Should Andujar get the job at third, the team will need to find a place for Brandon Drury, likely pushing him to the forefront of the second base job due to his major league experience and how highly he is regarded by Brian Cashman.
Should Andujar start the year in Scranton, however, Drury will be the starting third baseman. That opens up the second base competition to Tyler Wade, Ronald Torreyes, Gleyber Torres, and Danny Espinosa, with the sense that Boone is still waiting to see who wows him enough to earn the spot.
Among that group, Wade has made the strongest case to be the opening day starter. Everyone in the organization raves that the player fans saw last year isn’t the Tyler Wade they expect to see this year. He has a phenomenal glove, great speed, and the ability to hit the ball at a clip that hasn’t quite translated to the major league level yet. He’s hitting .318 this spring which gives fans hope that he can produce if given an everyday role this year. As long as his wrist injury truly isn’t serious, Wade should continue to build his case for the starting job at second base.
Torreyes is an interesting case because he’s the only one of the group that spent all of 2017 with the Yankees. Fans are well aware of the impact he has on the defensive end and in the locker room. The big concern when it comes to Torreyes is that at his size it could be difficult to play an entire season injury-free. He’s received less time at second than the other candidates so he’ll likely return to his role as a super-utility stud.
Torres is intriguing for multiple reasons, including that he’s the top prospect in the Yankees system. Many thought that the second base job would be his to lose this spring but he has slowly fallen out of the conversation after a slow start. The Yankees will probably start him in Scranton and allow him time to get back into baseball after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year.
Espinosa likely won’t make the team. If the Yankees learned anything from the Chris Carter situation last year it’s that a .200 hitter hurts the team regardless of how much power he provides. He could end up being insurance in case of long-term injuries to more promising options but I don’t find it likely that he’ll play.
So while Aaron Boone is still waiting to be wowed by one of the second base candidates, it will likely come down to whether or not Andujar earns the starting third base job. The opening day second baseman will be either Drury or Wade depending on how third base shakes out.