New York Yankees 2016 Opening Day Roster Breakdown

Tomorrow the New York Yankees will begin their quest for a 28th World Championship by opening up the 2016 season in a Wild Card Game rematch against Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros. Keuchel dominated the Yankees in that game, and pretty much every time he’s faced them, so they will have their work cut out for them right off the bat. Fortunately, the Yankees broke camp without any catasrophic injuries *knocks on wood* but they will be without Bryan Mitchell for three months and of course Greg Bird who will miss the whole season. While losing Mitchell isn’t the end of the world, he will be missed as he was going to essentially replace Adam Warren’s swingman role on the staff. Other than those two injuries, the rest of the roster is in tact for the most part.

Regular Starting Lineup

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. DH Alex Rodriguez
  6. C Brian McCann
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. 2B Starlin Castro
  9. SS Didi Gregorius

Those will be the usual nine starters for the Yankees and a general idea of where they will be batting, although it’s certainly not set in stone. ARod could be third with Beltran fifth; Beltran could be sixth with McCann fifth; Castro could be seventh with Headley eighth; but usually the lineup will look something like that. If they get above average health, which is a big if, the Yankee lineup will be a force again this season. That’s as talented a lineup as you’ll see in the majors… it just needs to stay on the field. Last season when Ellsbury and Gardner were both healthy and productive, the Yankees were unstoppable. Those two are the catalysts at the top of the order setting up the big boppers in the middle. The biggest upgrade the Yankees made in the offseason was the addition of Castro. They might lose a little defensively with him at second, but the days of Stephen Drew hitting barely .200 are over. Thank heavens for that. Castro is by far the best 2B the Yankees have had since Robinson Cano left.

Bench

  • OF Aaron Hicks
  • UTIL Dustin Ackley
  • INF Ronald Torreyes
  • C Austin Romine

It’s not a flashy bench, but it’s not terrible. The most important piece is Aaron Hicks who has the potential to be a five-tool player. He has good speed and is a plus defender with a cannon for an arm. What makes him a perfect fit is that he is a switch-hitter who excels from the right side of the plate. Both Ellsbury and Gardner are left-handed and will need plenty of days off to ensure they stay fresh as well as Beltran. Hicks will be a vital member of the outfield corps and seemingly find his way into the ballgame every day one way or another. Ackley is a solid hitter who can play second, first and outfield as well. Torreyes is your classic utility infielder who can play second, short and third. Romine won the backup catcher job in spring after being in the running for that spot virtually year after year. He always was terrific defensively and hopefully the nice bat we saw during the spring follows him into the season.

Starting Rotation

  1. Masahiro Tanaka
  2. Michael Pineda
  3. Nathan Eovaldi
  4. Luis Severino
  5. C.C. Sabathia

There were no real surprises here, except if you actually thought the Yankees would send $25M to the bullpen. That was never happening and it really shouldn’t have. Sabathia just didn’t fit in the bullpen. If he was healthy and on the team, he’d be starting. Let’s just hope he’s effective. As for the other four spots, there’s a lot of talent there. Severino is the future ace of the staff. Eovaldi became a stud after he learned how to throw the splitter. Pineda is hot and cold, but the raw ability is there. For me, a ton hinges on Tanaka. He’s still the ace of the team and I refuse to be disappointed by Spring Training results. The biggest concern with him, and most of the team, is his health. If he can avoid that catastrophic injury, he’ll pitch really well. This rotation has a lot of question marks, but if all goes well it could be really good. Only time will tell.

Bullpen

  • Andrew Miller
  • Dellin Betances
  • Chasen Shreve
  • Johnny Barbato
  • Luis Cessa
  • Ivan Nova
  • Kirby Yates

This is where the Yankees’ bread is buttered. Remember Aroldis Chapman is returning from his suspension in May which will then create the most dominant bullpen maybe ever. As it stands currently, it’s still pretty darn good. Miller, who already survived a huge injury scare, and Betances are dynamite and I have a ton of faith that Shreve will be the pitcher he was last season before September. Barbato is someone who should get plenty of early opportunities to pitch important innings. He was outstanding during the spring which won him a roster spot and he will need to continue that in order to avoid the “Scranton Shuttle.” I really feel like he could be this season’s reliever on the rise like Betances was two years ago and Shreve was last season. Cessa is basically replacing Mitchell as that reliever who can pitch anywhere between an inning or three. Nova is your quintessential long-man/sixth starter while Yates rounds out the bullpen. After the first three, none of these spots are safe and the “Scranton Shuttle” will likely come into play if/when someone doesn’t perform or an injury pops up.

All-in-all, the Yankees roster is full of quality MLB players. It’s certainly a veteran group with some talented youngsters sprinkled in. The key to the season is health. If the Yankees can stay healthy, they will compete for the division and another championship. If they can’t, well let’s just hope they can.

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About David Berger

I'm a 24-year-old sports fanatic that wanted to get back into writing. I wrote for a year at Pucks and Pitchforks covering the New Jersey Devils and really enjoyed my time. Baseball and hockey are my specialties, but I love all sports. I hope you enjoy!
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