The Yankees have five players who are favorites to make the 25-man roster participating in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, which begins Monday with Round Robin play. What is the potential level of impact for the players and the club?
Tyler Clippard, who is on the United States club, will likely feel no impact from his participation. The veteran 34-year-old right handed reliever came to camp with a job locked down and nothing in particular to work on other than getting ready for the regular season.
The lone positional regular on a WBC roster is Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius. Now that Gregorius is entrenched in his role and coming off a breakout season, there is little concern he'll miss a beat while playing with the Netherlands squad.
Minimal to moderate impact
Tommy Layne, who is playing for the Italian team, is not a shoo-in for the Yankees Opening Day roster. With that in mind, his participation in the event could be viewed as a chance for others to show their value to the Yankees while he is away. While Layne is a favorite for a role as a left-handed middle reliever, he could have used the time with the club to demonstrate he is the reliever the Yankees want in the bullpen.
Dellin Betances' role with the Yankees is solid, but there is legitimate concern with the yearly issues he has getting his mechanics straight after the offseason. What if he has problems finding the plate while playing for the Dominican Republic? While a couple of weeks built into the spring training schedule allow for Betances to fix any difficulties he might encounter, there is a decent chance they could drag into the regular season. The ability to fix any mechanical flaws in camp in the middle of spring training, is certainly better than hoping to do so at the end of it.
Moderate to high impact
One player who might be heavily impacted by a stint with his WBC club is Luis Severino. Severino is part of the Dominican Republic's "designated pitcher pool," meaning he will not be used in the first round of the event, but could be selected for the second round or the final if the team advances.
The 23-year-old right hander is one of the five pitchers vying for one of two open rotation spots this spring. Severino is coming off an odd season in which he struggled as a starter, but excelled as a reliever. The Yankees view him as a starter, suggesting that if he does not make the club as a starter, he will be sent to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to remain stretched out. The point: Severino needs to be completely on top of his game in order to break camp with the big league club.
The Yankees need to see Severino each time he takes the mound. Of course there is video, but it's not the same as judging a player from the dugout. For example, if Severino encounters problems with his changeup -- a pitch he is working on this spring -- wouldn't it be better if pitching coach Larry Rothschild notices it in-game instead of allowing Severino to get off track while pitching elsewhere?
In the end, the Yankees will hope that their players return playing at the same level they were before their departure. If not, the time left before the regular season begins is short and the process to regroup could creep into games that matter.