Rosell Herrera
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

With spring training well underway in Tampa, the New York Yankees have gotten an impressive glimpse of non-roster invitee Rosell Herrera. 

Allison Case

There are several appeals to spring training for fans. For the New York Yankees, it’s a chance to catch a glimpse of the biggest stars in the game and being able to witness that greatness up close and personal.

While the excitement stems around the names we already know, there are several young non-roster invitees who are there to work their tails off just for an opportunity to sniff an Opening Day roster. This year, however, there is a non-roster invitee who has been impressing on all fronts and, no, he’s not a 20-year-old phenom.

He’s a 27-year-old outfielder who has bounced around various landing spots in his two seasons in the major leagues. Rosell Herrera entered spring training as a relatively unknown player and has since blossomed early.

Sound familiar? His origin story reminds many of one Gio Urshela, who entered 2019 spring training with zero expectations and yet he became easily the most important piece to the puzzle.

Herrera signed a minor-league contract with the Yankees early this year and was invited to participate in spring training. Previously he played for the Miami Marlins before he was designated for assignment in June of 2019. Prior to that, he split his 2018 season between the Cincinnati Reds and the Kansas City Royals.

This being his seventh spring training, Herrera has quickly become one of the hotter hitters at the dish, playing in six games and tallying four RBIs. He’s gone 7-for-14 with a double and triple while adding three runs.

“But spring training statistics don’t count,” they say. Maybe not, but for the Yankees, he has had the second most at-bats and boasts the highest batting average for players with at least 10 at-bats.

Even with the uncertainty of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks, the likelihood of Herrera earning a starting spot is slim. Clint Frazier, Mike Tauchman, Brett Gardner, and even Miguel Andujar are all big names way ahead of him in line. However, this spring performance certainly doesn’t hurt his chances of getting a shot to get called up at some point during the season, barring a release of a roster player.

But it’s not just the stats that have become impressive for Herrera. He can play six different positions, including shortstop and third base. That type of versatility has been a key for the Yankees over the past few seasons, with injuries taking their toll on the entire squad. Not only that, but Herrera offers a specialty the Yankees have been missing, especially with Aaron Hicks on the sidelines.

Herrera is a switch-hitter and it has become clear that he is able to utilitze the bat quite well. Even Aaron Boone has stated just how impressed he’s been with Herrera and his performance so far this spring, an excellent sign moving forward.

While there is no recent scouting report, in January of 2019, radio host Craig Mish shared an older report about Herrera’s talents from a high-ranking MLB official, via SB Nation’s Fish Stripes blog.

The anonymous official referred to Herrera as “refreshing” and “greatest teammate and coachable.” Perhaps the most important piece to this report is that he “plays everywhere.

The scouting report also mentions that one of his biggest weaknesses is his bat. Well, it seems like he might have been working on that this offseason.

Tyler Wade seems to be a lock for the utility role but don’t sleep on Rosell Herrera. He’s really making a push for a roster spot and it’s become fairly entertaining. Keep an eye on Herrera through the rest of this spring season. If he continues to perform, he can’t be denied a potential shot at stardom.

Allison is just a girl with an enormous passion for the game of baseball and the written word. Based in Upstate New York, her life-long relationship with the New York Yankees is something that she developed through close relationships with her mother and grandfather. An aspiring sports writer, she graduated with a journalism degree and is finding places to share her excitement about the sporting world and how it affects us all.