Mike Tauchman bursted onto the scene last year for the Yankees, but will he be able to earn himself a spot on the roster to start the 2020 season?
Mike Tauchman took the New York Yankees by storm last summer, slashing .277/.361/.504 in 87 games, bolstered by a stellar defensive showing. Heading into his age-29 season this spring, he will be competing for the starting left field spot.
With Aaron Hicks likely sidelined until at least the All-Star break and Giancarlo Stanton’s status up in the air, the Yankees’ current outfield depth comprises Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, Tauchman, and possibly Miguel Andujar. With Stanton’s injury, it is likely that all five of these guys make the opening day roster; Andujar will slot in as a super-utility player and DH on top of the four natural outfielders.
Going into spring training, it appears Tauchman has the best chance of earning the starting left field spot, but don’t fool yourself into believing he’s a lock. The organization clearly has issues with Clint Frazier, stemming from his handling of the media and poor defensive play, but Brian Cashman has been reluctant to trade him to this point. Sure, it could be that he just hasn’t found the right offer, but we’ve seen Frazier’s capability at the plate. If he shows even a small improvement in the field, he’ll be tough to outplay.
So far in spring training, Frazier has played in four games and is slated to play a fifth later today, while Tauchman has only played in two. Usually the organization eases its starters into spring training more slowly than the players who need to earn a roster spot, so this could be an indicator that Aaron Boone and company intend to start Tauchman in left field on opening day. Frankly, that’s just fine with me.
Among qualified outfielders last season, Mike Tauchman ranked the following defensively:
16 DRS (9th)
4.6 UZR (13th)
14.4 UZR/150 (14th)
9 OAA (9th)
694.1 Innings Played (80th)
Start. Him. Please. pic.twitter.com/kn8DcMD41Q
— Dillard Barnhart (@BarnHasSpoken) February 26, 2020