I haven't updated my Opening Day roster prediction since before Spring Training started and a lot has gone down since then. With less than 2 weeks until Opening Day, I think it's about time for another revision and I think this is going to be the final prediction. So mark it down, lock it in, here we go. Barring injuries, here is the official prediction for Joe's 25-man roster on April 4th: Starting Lineup:
A few notes:
- I have no clue why I had Beltran over A-Rod in the batting order in the first few editions. That's obviously not happening.
- It looks like it's going to be Austin Romine's backup job based on the last few weeks. He's playing better than Gary Sanchez, he's getting more work, and he's hitting higher in the batting order. Again, this ultimately isn't a big deal. Sanchez will get his turn and there's nothing wrong with using a little more Triple-A time to get him swinging a hot bat again and bump back his free agency. And if Romine surprises us in the first month and plays well, well that'd be just fine.
- If you would have told me the last time I did this that Rob Refsnyder was going to make the roster as the backup third baseman, I would have laughed in your face. But who else could it be at this point? Nobody left in camp to compete with him has hit worth a lick and Refs' added positional flexibility and better stick make him even more valuable to Joe as a bench piece.
- Those first 5 bullpen spots are rock solid in my opinion, and I think Mitchell could already be starting to carve out a role as the #2 righty reliever behind Betances. After that, though, it's still wide open. When the dust settles, I think we're going to see Yates and Goody and in there. Goody has pitched a lot and he's been the most consistent of last year's shuttle group. He also hasn't walked a batter in 7 appearances. Yates has been sneaky great so far in ST (4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K in 4 apps.) and he has 50+ innings of big league experience. That'll carry some weight with Joe when it comes time to make a decision, so go ahead and call Yates this year's Chris Martin, the guy nobody expected to get a spot when camp opened but ended up sneaking on in the end.