We're over a week into the Spring Training game schedule now, and while that still isn't enough time to make concrete determinations on who will end up where and what the Opening Day roster will be, it is enough time to start making some informed comments on whose stock is rising and falling in those key roster battles. Real quickly, here are some of the early winners and losers from the first 11 St games.
Winner- Jose Pirela
He's swinging the bat well (8-15, 3 XBH, 2 BB) and drawing a lot of positive chatter from coaches, players, scouts, and fans alike. His defensive value as a guy who can play multiple positions has been on display and right now he looks like the best option for one of the 4 bench spots.
Loser- Brendan Ryan
As Pirela's star rises, Ryan's continues to sink. It's not even really his fault, unless you want to blame him for going too hard on those wrist curls and straining his back. The guy is hurt, he isn't playing as a result, and he's losing his grip on a roster spot that his "experienced veteran" status might have granted him if he were healthy.
Winner- Adam Warren
Has pitched pretty well in his first 2 starts and now gets elevated to the de facto #5 starter with Capuano on the shelf. Warren came into this season as the most likely pitcher to ascend to that David Phelps/Shane Greene position of unexpectedly helpful starter. With everything that's happened so far, he's right on track to do it.
Loser- Scott Baker
It's admittedly a little unfair to label him after only 2 outings, but he looked really hittable in his first one and that couldn't have helped any chances he had of working his way into the rotation discussion with Cap out. He's going to end up either leaving for greener pastures later in the spring, if there are any out there for him, or settling into a Triple-A depth role.
Winner- Greg Bird
Everybody's favorite prospect is showing why he's built this cult following over the last few years. He's raked at the plate (5-11, 4 XBH) and flashed a little leather in the field. He's never going to be a Gold Glove defensive first baseman, but he does look like he can handle the position and won't be the weakness there that some have predicted.
Loser- Stephen Drew
Not in the sense that he is going to lose his anticipated starting second base job. Joe has all but said that Drew is his man there to start the season. But his 1-13 start at the plate and an early error in the field has fired the hate engine right back up from the end of last season. Drew is in position to overtake A-Rod as the single most "hated" Yankee if he hasn't already, and that's never fun.