The Wild Card roster is starting to take shape!
The Yankees announced that Luis Severino will be taking the ball on Wednesday night in the Bronx, hoping to redeem himself for the abysmal second half of this season, as well as last year’s Wild Card Game against the Minnesota Twins.
I think this is ultimately the right move when you consider how Boone, Cashman, and Co. are planning to attack this game. It isn’t like a normal start. If it were, my first choice would probably still be Masahiro Tanaka and I would have been very okay with JA Happ starting. The Yankees, however, are going with Sevy because his best stuff is the best stuff. Not just on the team, either! His stuff can be the best in baseball when he’s right.
The Yankees, by all accounts, have every intention to turn this into a bullpen game as early as possible. I think Sevy maxes out at three innings before flipping it over to the pen. That’s why it’s going to be Sevy in this one because you can tell him to throw 100 mile-per-hour heaters for three innings and get him out of there. They don’t need him to give length in the winner-take-all game. If they get an early lead and Sevy is dicing up the A’s, then, sure, keep him going and try to keep as many arms fresh as possible for the trip to Boston. That’s not the game plan, though, I think.
Along with announcing Sevy as the starter, we received some additional updates to the roster. We know there will be ten pitchers carried on the squad. Those ten:
- Lance Lynn
- Aroldis Chapman
- Zach Britton
- Dellin Betances
- David Robertson
- Chad Green
- Jonathan Holder
Carrying three starters on the Wild Card roster is far from unprecedented. The Yankees did it just a year ago when they had CC Sabathia and Sonny Gray on the active roster against Minnesota. They have to have those guys there because of the proverbial 20-inning game. They’d feel pretty silly if they found themselves running out of pitchers who can give length in that case.
One notable omission is 25-year-old lefty reliever Stephen Tarpley. Tarpley, excusing his MLB-debut jitters, has been nails for the Bombers since he came up at the beginning of September. The numbers (excluding the debut): 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 12 K across nine appearances. A little bit of a walking issue, but he’s getting strikeouts and generating ground balls. He’s been great!
I thought they’d include him on the roster as a lefty specialist to come in and get out Matt Olson or something with a runner in scoring position. I still think he’ll be on the team once they get into the ALDS or beyond, should they get that far, but it’s looking like he’s not on the Wild Card roster.
Tommy Kahnle was also left off the roster. I'm fine with it because he has been mostly VERY disappointing this year. Ditto Sonny Gray, AJ Cole, Luis Cessa, and the other guys who aren't good.
We also got word the Kyle Higashioka will be on the Wild Card roster as the third catcher, in a decision that will upset some fans. Including a third catcher is far from unprecedented, though. The Yanks had Gary Sanchez on the active roster in the 2015 Wild Card Game against Houston. I’d rather have Tarpley than HIgashioka, but that’s probably splitting hairs. I’m not upset about Higgy’s inclusion here.
Beyond the pitchers, there are 15 spots left that will go to position players. We know many of them! In no intended or particular order, here are the guys guaranteed to be there:
- Aaron Judge
- Giancarlo Stanton
- Andrew McCutchen
- Aaron Hicks
- Didi Gregorius
- Gleyber Torres
- Miguel Andujar
- Gary Sanchez
- Luke Voit
- Austin Romine
- Kyle Higashioka
- Brett Gardner
- Neil Walker
Is there anyone else fully guaranteed to be there? I don’t think so. There are two more bench spots to join Romine (backup catcher), Gardner (4th outfielder/pinch runner), Neil Walker (utility infielder), and Higashioka (3rd catcher). Those last two spots will go to any two of Adeiny Hechavarria (defensive sub), Greg Bird (lefty power threat), Tyler Wade (Pinch runner and defense at virtually every position), and Ronald Torreyes (utility infielder and looks adorable).
Much to the chagrin of some fans, I think Bird will be on the Wild Card roster. As a power threat who can come take aim at the short porch, they can’t afford to not have him be an option, as bad as his season has been. I am very cool with it, but I love Greg Bird way more than many fans do. I want him there.
The last spot, I believe, will go to Wade. He might be the fastest guy in the organization and that alone will get him a spot for this game as a pinch runner. It helps that he can play every non-catcher, non-first base position on the field, but if he enters the game, it’s for his legs.
Walker will very likely serve as the ninth inning sub for Miguel Andujar instead of Hechavarria, which I am perfectly fine with, so no need for Hech on the roster.
So yeah, that’s who I think will be on the roster moving forward after the updates we got today.
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