As the 2023 MLB season inches closer, Kyle Higashioka remains the only recognized catcher in the New York Yankees lineup.
The New York Yankees face an uphill battle ahead of the 2023 MLB season as they tackle serious injury issues. The team’s catching depth has depleted completely as key players picked up injuries at the worst possible time. The damage looks beyond repair at the moment. Despite this, the Yankees are banking on a 32-year-old catcher to hold the fort for them this season.
Kyle Higashioka has been with the Yankees since 2017. After being tossed around the minor and major league for several years, the catcher finally cemented his position on the team after an impressive 2021 season. Further, the catcher opted to represent Team USA in the ongoing World Baseball Classic, serving primarily as a backup catcher. However, the fans wonder if Kyle’s WBC participation was possibly a wise choice.
Onus On Kyle Higashioka To Lead The Catching Department
The New York Yankees’ defense dealt major damage this spring training. Josh Breaux, Austin Wells, Ben Rorvedt, and the latest addition, Jose Trevino, are set to start the 2023 season on the injury list. The only people left in the so-called depth are Carlos Narváez and Kyle Higashioka. Meanwhile, Kyle skipped the spring training camp to feature in the World Baseball Classic. Once he returns, a bucketload of responsibilities will be put on his back.
Kyle Higashioka will be expected to start as the leading catcher of the lineup in Jose Trevino’s absence. Last season the catcher recorded .227, 10 homers, and 31 RBIs in 83 games. However, in defense, his numbers were average. While Higashioka may not have the same level of offensive production as Trevino, he offers a reliable option behind the plate. And not that the Yankees really have an option here. Narváez is doing well in spring training but not enough to fill the big shoes of a starting catcher. Hence, presently, Kyle remains their only best choice to salvage the crisis.
Was Attending The WBC A Wise Choice For Higashioka?
Kyle Higashioka attended the New York Yankees spring training’ initial rep sessions, and before the Grapefruit League could begin, he left the camp to feature in the WBC. He played, rather than sat on the bench, for Team USA. The 32-year-old was mainly kept as a backup. However, due to his WBC participation, the catcher missed a significant amount of game time with the Yankees.
Hence, fans and critics wonder if participating in WBC was worth enough for Kyle to miss crucial time with the Yankees. The opening day is just two weeks away, and now that WBC is coming to an end, the catcher will have mere one and a half weeks of time to do some reps. Hence, uncertainty looms over Kyle Higashioka’s form ahead of the New York Yankees’ crucial season opener against the San Francisco Giants.