Four Yankees RHP prospects who could earn non-roster Spring Training invitesWill any of these four get a nod to major-league camp?
All 40 members of the 40-man roster will be there, a slew of extra pitchers will come to eat early innings, more catchers will be there to catch all those hurlers, and surely, position players like Ruben Tejada and Donovan Solano who have inked minor-league deals will get an invite as well.
In part one of a five-part series, we looked at four non-roster outfielders in the Yankees system that we'd like to see earn an invite, and in part two, we're going to tackle half of that pitching equation with four right-handers we'd love to see come Feb. 14.
The Yankees often invite the previous year's top draftee(s) to camp, and Kaprielian got that nod last year. Unfortunately, he only made three appearances once the season actually started thanks to an elbow issue, but he rebounded with a strong Arizona Fall League, and the Yankees may want to continue to monitor his progress as closely as possible this spring. Best way to do that? Invite him to camp, of course, and the byproduct is fans get another up-close look at a possible future ace.
How do you not invite a guy who was arguably the best starting pitcher in the system last season? Adams was drafted in 2015 as a reliever, but converted to the rotation in 2016 and went 13-1 with a 2.33 ERA in 25 games, almost evenly split between Tampa and Trenton (12 and 13, respectively). He also struck out 144 in 127 1/3 innings, and that performance landed him at No. 14 on MLB.com's Yankees prospect rankings. Why not give him a chance to shine on the spring stage?
Originally the No. 4 overall pick in 2015, Tate was one of three players acquired from the Rangers in the Carlos Beltran deal. He was a starter over his year-plus with the Rangers, but Tate worked out of the bullpen once he got to Charleston (posting 3.12 ERA in seven games) and followed that up by allowing only four runs in 9 1/3 innings in the hitter-friendly Arizona Fall League. The Yankees have said they like Tate's potential as a starter, and there will be innings available there before and possibly during the World Baseball Classic.
In just 2 ½ seasons, Wotherspoon, a 34th-round pick in 2014, has been both a starter and a reliever, but he found a niche last year as a longer reliever, throwing three innings or more in 14 of his 36 appearances last season. Overall, the NEPA native was 6-2 with a 2.50 ERA in 90 innings between Trenton and Scranton last year and is likely to start 2017 close to home in Triple-A, but as the Yankees learned last year, you can never have enough pitching depth - and Wotherspoon, who is Rule 5 eligible next winter, has pitched well and could carve out a nice niche as a shuttle swingman.