It’s only February 24th and the Yankees just played their first spring training game, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start getting excited.
The Bombers slugged past the Phillies in the opener 9-4, with several key players making big contributions. First, Didi Gregorious wasted no time clubbing a solo shot in his first at-bat of the spring. In the fifth inning, Aaron Judge launched a mammoth home run that nearly went over the scoreboard at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Judge’s blast traveled an estimated 449 feet.
Clint Frazier, the prized prospect the Yankees received in the Andrew Miller trade from the Indians, smacked a two-run triple in his second at-bat of the game showing off glimpses of the talent the Yankees have been infatuated with all offseason. Gleyber Torres, whom the Yankees received from the Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman deal and is regarded as the top prospect in the organization, just missed a home run in his lone at-bat of the game. He instead settled for a sacrifice fly.
While Frazier and Torres likely won’t see anytime in the Bronx this season, the most noteworthy development of the day was Judge’s towering shot. Judge is slated to be the opening day right fielder, and the Yankees need to know it won’t see another stretch where he strikes out 42 times in 84 at-bats.
His power is off the charts, with Matt Holliday drawing comparisons to that of the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton, but if Judge has any reservations of being a cornerstone player on the Yankees, he has to make significantly more contact and raise his batting average to well above .200. Game 1 was a good start.