New York Yankees: The 5 Most Disappointing Players in Spring Training so FarMarch 15, 2017
New York Yankees: The 5 Most Disappointing Players in Spring Training so Far
It's not all sunshine and bat flips this preseason.
For every player exceeding expectations and making a name for himself, there's an underperforming veteran making fanbases cringe or a fringe player hurting his chances of winning a roster spot.
That's certainly the case in the New York Yankees camp.
While the performance of some of the team's up-and-coming prospects and a healthy return to action for Greg Bird have been among the biggest stories, they have also had their fair share of lackluster individual performances.
Ahead, we've highlighted five notable players who have disappointed so far this spring, including a member of the projected starting rotation and a potential trade candidate who is not helping his stock any.
1B Chris Carter
Projected Role: Backup 1B and occasional DH
Spring Stats: 4-for-25, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 4 BB, 13 K
With Greg Bird returning from a shoulder operation that cost him the entire 2016 season, the New York Yankees decided to take out an insurance policy in the form of Chris Carter on a one-year, $3.5 million deal.
Despite tying for the NL lead with 41 home runs last season, Carter found limited interest on the free-agent market.
That's life for a one-dimensional slugger these days and Carter is just that as he hit .222 and also paced the NL with 206 strikeouts while offering nothing in the way of defensive value.
An early-spring injury to Tyler Austin gave the signing some added significance, but so far this spring it's been a lot of swinging at air for the newest Yankees power threat.
Carter has fanned 13 times in 29 plate appearances, and he's gone deep just once so far.
While his spot on the Opening Day roster isn't in jeopardy, it's not out of the question to think he could be pushed to the side once Austin returns if his slow start carries over into the regular season.
RP Jonathan Holder
Projected Role: Triple-A depth
Spring Stats: 5 G, 6.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
Minor league hitters didn't stand a chance against Jonathan Holder.
The 23-year-old worked 65.1 innings over three levels last season and pitched to a 1.65 ERA and 0.66 WHIP while posting a 101-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Once more, for effect: A 101-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The right-hander made his MLB debut in September and appeared in eight games down the stretch, putting him in prime position to make a run at a bullpen job this spring.
However, his spring stats have been inflated by one rough outing (1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER) and in a tight race for the final bullpen spots that could be enough to cost him an Opening Day gig.
Even if that's the case, Holder is now on the 40-man roster, and he should be among the first players promoted when the bullpen needs extra arms.
SP Jordan Montgomery
Projected Role: Triple-A depth
Spring Stats: 3 G, 6.1 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
The Yankees began spring training set for a four-man battle between Luis Severino, Bryan Mitchell, Chad Green and Luis Cessa for the final two spots in the starting rotation.
Jordan Montgomery was clearly on the outside looking in for a chance to break camp with a spot, but he was a dark horse worth keeping an eye on nonetheless.
His performance last season in the upper levels of the minors warranted that much.
The 24-year-old finished 14-5 with a 2.13 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 134 strikeouts in 139.1 innings, closing out the year with six terrific starts (5-1, 0.97 ERA) at the Triple-A level.
Unfortunately, things have not gone as smoothly this spring. He's been scored on in each of this three Grapefruit League appearances en route to a 5.68 ERA over 6.1 innings of work.
That almost certainly punches his ticket back to Triple-A for the upcoming season, where he'll be waiting in the wings as valuable rotation depth.
IF/OF Rob Refsnyder
Projected Role: Triple-A depth
Spring Stats: 3-for-23, 2 RBI, 3 R, 3 BB, 9 K
Maybe Rob Refsnyder just really wants to stay with the New York Yankees organization.
That would make his 3-for-23 performance so far this spring a sound strategy amid trade rumors.
"According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the Yankees have let clubs know they are willing to listen to trade offers for infielder/outfielder Rob Refsnyder," wrote George A. King III of the New York Post earlier this month.
Not long ago, Refsnyder was viewed as the potential second baseman of the future and one of the best young prospects in the organization.
However, the farm system is now flush with talent and that includes middle infield prospects Gleyber Torres, Jorge Mateo and Tyler Wade, not to mention incumbent starters Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius.
In other words, there's no room for Refsnyder in the long-term plans.
His dismal showing so far this spring has come at an inopportune time if the team hopes to find a taker on the trade market.
SP CC Sabathia
Projected Role: No. 2/3 starter
Spring Stats: 2 GS, 2.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
A slow start to the spring from a veteran starting pitcher is not always cause for alarm.
However, in the case of a 36-year-old with a spotty track record of health and performance in recent years, it's unsettling to say the least.
Ladies and gentlemen, CC Sabathia.
The left-hander returned to relevance last season after three consecutive rough years, going 9-12 with a 3.91 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 152 strikeouts in 179.2 innings of work.
He's no longer an ace, and he's not worth anywhere close to the $25 million that the Yankees will be paying him this coming season, but they're counting on him to help anchor the rotation alongside Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda.
After a solid spring debut, he was lit up for six hits and six runs (four earned) in two-thirds of an inning his last time out.
He still managed to walk away from the outing with some positives, namely the health of his right knee.
"The body feels good," Sabathia said, per the Associated Press (via ESPN). "I was letting some (pitches) go, and I had no problems. As far as the knee, you want to get that out of the way. Make sure you can push off as hard as you can, land and be good. I wanted to accomplish that in the game and I did."
A strong follow-up performance would go a long way in easing the concerns of Yankee fans everywhere.
All regular season stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, while spring stats come via MLB.com.