With the Winter Meetings now behind us and several minor league free agents signed the roster picture for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders is becoming a bit clearer. While we will not know exactly who will be on the roster until opening day we can start piecing together a preliminary roster.
The one thing that could change heavily between now and opening day is the starting rotation. Assuming the Yankees sign or trade for another pitcher the RailRiders rotation looks to include right-handers Bryan Mitchell and Zach Nuding as well as lefty, Matt Tracy and Jose De Paula. Chase Whitley could also fit into the rotation plans if he does not make the Yankees bullpen out of spring training. Now that the Yankees traded Manny Banuelos to the Braves expect them to sign least one starting pitcher to a minor league deal to help fill out rotation depth at Triple-A.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre bullpen is one to watch in 2015. With the new 40-man roster additions Branden Pinder and Danny Burawa likely opening the season there, joining guys like Jose Ramirez, Nick Rumbelow, Tyler Webb and the recently re-signed Andrew Bailey. Others they will likely head to Triple-A are James Pazos, Jacob Lindgren, Taylor Garrison and Aaron Dott. Newly acquired lefty reliever Chasen Shreve is also expected to head to Scranton to start the season.
The catching situation is one that will not be clear until closer to the season. With Austin Romine out of options he is the favorite for the backup catcher job in The Bronx. But that would leave John Ryan Murphy and Gary Sanchez splitting time behind the dish. It is still very likely that one of Gary Sanchez or Austin Romine could be traded. Recently signed Juan Graterol could find himself battling Yankees minor league mainstay Francisco Arcia for a backup catcher spot in AAA.
The infield picture has gotten a lot clearer and somewhat complicated. The Yankees recently sine Cole Figueroa, Nick Noonan and Jonathan Galvez. All three along with Adonis Garcia can play almost any infield position plus the outfield. Shortstop Ali Castillo is certainly deserving of starting for the RailRiders, while Rob Segedin is likely being penciled in for third base. Kyle Roller would more than likely be primarily a designated hitter with Rob Refsnyder getting regular playing time at second base to further work on his defense.
The outfield should feature standouts Taylor Dugas, Ramon Flores and Tyler Austin. Austin will likely head to right field with Dugas and Flores switching between left and centerfield. If the Yankees resign Slade Heathcott, he could find himself roaming the outfield at PNC Field as well. Could Mason Williams be in Scranton? That will depend on how he performs in spring training. The young outfielder has struggled offensively in Double-A and will likely repeating the level again in 2015.