6 things to watch as 2021 Yankees spring training games begin

Michael King gets set to fire pitch to home plate against Mets

Michael King readies to fire pitch to home base versus Mets

The Yankees start their Grapefruit League season Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. versus the packed Toronto Blue Jays. ‘Nuff said, right?

It’s excellent to have baseball back, specifically with the included benefit of a minimal variety of fans in the stands at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. Bid farewell to those uncomfortable canned cheers that assisted specify the odd 2020 pandemic season.

It’s simply the very first video game and there’s a long method to precede the standings matter, however there’s more factors to view than simply immersing yourself in the green area of the outfield on your TELEVISION screen, or to hearing the fracture of the bat once again.

Here’s what to keep your eye on as the Yanks toss their very first pitches of the year versus a genuine, live challenger:

Pitching, pitching and more pitching

Nobody actually understands what the result of the reduced 2020 season will be on pitchers and their 2021 work, so it’s Topic No. 1 and will be all season.

A veteran such as Gerrit Cole figures to have the very best opportunity to duplicate previous full-season work, however the Yankees will require lots of arms to make it through the year thinking about others in their rotation (Corey Kluber, Jameson Taillon, Domingo German, Jordan Montgomery, etc.) haven’t pitched almost as much just recently.

Depth will be essential which’s why Michael King’s start on Sunday is fascinating. King, an appealing righty who had a 7.76 AGE in 9 video games in 2015, is among a group of pitchers the Yanks will want to for innings this year, supplied he shows himself. As other prospective beginners, such as Deivi Garcia, get their turn, the Yankees will have more of a concept who can fit where. 5 other pitchers working Sunday might consider relief depth: Asher Wojciechowski, Lucas Luetge, Kyle Barraclough, Nick Goody and Adam Warren.

Gary at a look

Gary Sánchez, as typical, is among the flashpoints of Yankee camp. Aaron Boone stated Sánchez will DH Sunday and after that capture Monday when Cole and Taillon are set up to pitch back-to-back. Sanchez, coming off a challenging 2020, is wanting to re-establish himself as star product. Sure would assist if he might develop a bond with Cole, the undisputed rotation ace.

Torres time?

Beyond Sánchez, Gleyber Torres is most likely the Yankee position gamer who’s influenced the most handwringing after a less-than-ideal 2020. However he looks fit — that was a problem in 2015 — and appears identified to reword his story with a huge year at the plate and at shortstop.

“He looks really good,” Boone said. “I like his defensive work. I like the physical assessment he went through, the tests, physicals, strength and conditioning. …Time will tell on how guys are, but he came in in a real good physical place and a real good frame of mind.”

Finding a fit

There aren’t a lot of jobs available in Yankee Land. It’s mostly an end-of-the-roster gig or simply put-yourself-in-position-to-be-called-up-later. So where does that leave Miguel Andújar, a talented hitter without a real position?

Gio Urshela is the third baseman and Andújar’s amazing 2018 appears like ages ago. He’ll get his chances, Boone stated.

“He’s going to get a lot of opportunity to play here early and hopefully get some consistent reps and build momentum,” Boone stated. “I think we all understand what he’s capable of.” Where that lands him is unclear, however.

Health assessment

This will be a daily watch at Yankee camp. In recent years, the club has had trouble keeping some stars healthy, including Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. Boone stated he’d wait a few days to use Stanton, though the manager said it wasn’t for a particular concern. But it’s vital for the Yankees to get complete seasons from the two sluggers, so they have to stay fit while accomplishing their spring work.

Nuts and bolts

Sunday’s game is slated for seven innings and Boone said the first “three or four” exhibition games will be seven innings…No team made more errors in 2020 than the Yankees. Keep an eye on their defense during spring…Can Jay Bruce hit his way into a roster spot during camp? He told reporters he has actually a March 25 opt-out in his contract, though he hopes not to utilize it…Sunday’s video game will be telecasted on the YES Network and likewise relayed on WFAN.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.