3 Players Who Impressed Us in Yankees' Spring Training Opener

New York Yankees pitcher JA Happ was lights out in his Spring debut
New York Yankees pitcher JA Happ was lights out in his Spring debut / Bob Levey/Getty Images

The New York Yankees were not victorious against the Toronto Blue Jays in their Spring Training opener, as the Canadian ball-club rode some consistent pitching to a 2-1 victory, but that doesn't mean there was nothing of value for fans of the Bronx Bombers in Tampa this afternoon. These three players may not have helped the Yankees to a victory, but they either improved their chances of making the 40-man roster or helped ease concerns about a patchwork rotation.

3. RP Brooks Kriske

Kriske did an admirable job of pitching the ninth inning in the Yankees' loss to the Blue Jays. Kriske showed off a mid 90s fastball with some run to it that tops off at 97 MPH. He pitched to a 2.08 ERA in the minors last season, including a 2.59 mark in 36 games with the Double-A Trenton Thunder. He could be one to watch if the bullpen ever needs injury reinforcements.

2. 1B Chris Gittens

Gittens was the entire Yankees offense today, as his ninth inning home run was the only time New York got on the board. Gittens was excellent in Double-A Trenton last year, hitting .281 while crushing 23 home runs in a park that has proved difficult for power hitters in years past. The 26-year-old first baseman is 250 pounds of power, and he could very well earn some playing time with the big league club if he keeps homering in the spring.

1. SP JA Happ

Happ appears to be the early Cy Young favorite after blitzing through the Blue Jays. While that is clearly hyperbolic, Happ did give Yankees fans tons of confidence in him after a sparkling start to 2020. He threw two perfect innings, showing that he has a better command of the fastball that proved problematic for him to locate in 2019. If Happ keeps pitching like this, the injuries to James Paxton and Luis Severino won't sting the team as much.