The New York Yankees have already promoted six minor leaguers to the Bronx since rosters expanded September 1st, but more reinforcements are likely on the way in the coming weeks.
In the first wave of September call ups, the Yankees added Rob Refsnyder, Eric Young Jr., Kirby Yates, Luis Severino, Jonathan Holder, and Nick Goody to the active roster. In the next few weeks, it’s expected that several more of their minor league compatriots will join them in New York. Last year the team brought up 15 players for the final month.
Here’s a look at which players are most likely to get the call:
Richard Bleier– Frankly it’s surprising that the lefty wasn’t in the first round of call ups. He’s been a fine long-man in limited big league action, with a 3.38 ERA in 13.1 IP and has the advantage of a 40 man spot.
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Mason Williams– The Yankees will leave him down with Scranton to rack up as many PAs as possible after missing so much time with shoulder surgery. Took to MLB like a fish to water in his brief debut last season. Still retains all the tools that made him one of the top talents in New York’s system.
Bryan Mitchell– Like Williams, Mitchell is making up for lost time following an extended injury. Made the team out of spring training before the fractured toe, so seems like a lock to see some action down the stretch as long as he’s healthy.
James Pazos– Yet another injury victim. The 24-year-old lefty reliever was having a nice season for SWB before an undisclosed injury struck in June. He’s made three scoreless appearances since his return in late-August, so should be ready for the next round of call ups.
Giovanny Gallegos– Just looking at the numbers, it’s hard to see why the Yankees wouldn’t give Gallegos a shot. He has a sparkling 1.34 ERA in 73.2 IP in the upper-minors this season. The only argument against him is the number of comparable young relievers already on the 40 man. He doesn’t have a spot, so the team would have to bump someone else who might be more proven. The decision to promote Jonathan Holder may have hurt his chances.
Kyle Higashioka– The last thing New York needs is yet another catcher to find playing time for, with three already on the roster. Yet Higashioka has been one of the hottest hitters in the system this year and can depart as a minor league free agent if he’s not added to the 40-man this fall.
Tyler Webb– Like Gallegos, his performance warrants a look at the big league level. The only drawback is the 40 man roster crunch. Still, the Yankees badly need a lefty reliever after dealing Miller and Chapman. Webb’s not in the same league as those guys, but has potential.
Johnny Barbato– Made the team out of spring training, but has been disappointing in his two MLB stints in 2016, pitching to a 7.62 ERA in 13 IP. May have run out of chances at this point with so many other relievers pushing for time.
Dietrich Enns– Has put up unbelievable numbers the last two seasons, but may be bumping up against his innings limit. He’s at 134 IP, which is a big jump from his previous career high of 82.2 in 2013 or his 58.2 IP last year.
Cito Culver– The former first rounder has been mediocre with the bat in the upper-minors this year, which is a huge step up from his usual miserable production. Is it enough to get him added to the 40-man? It could be if the Yankees think he can handle a utility role next year. He remains a superb defender all around the infield.
Jake Cave– Removing Ben Gamel from the equation drastically increases his chances, but Cave hasn’t really forced the issue in Triple-A like Aaron Judge or Gary Sanchez did. He’s hitting .274/.338/.432 with seven homers and six steals in 340 plate appearances for the Railriders. The Yankees already have a lot of outfielders to juggle, so Cave may not be a priority for them at this point.
Not Going to Happen
Clint Frazier– He was a longshot before a hamstring injury landed him on the disabled list. Now he’ll just have to wait until next year to make his push to the show.
Jorge Mateo– Would have been fun to watch as a pinch runner, and will need to be protected from the Rule 5 draft anyway. The suspension earlier in the season may have discouraged any wild experiments like that.
Cesar Puello– The former top prospect had a modest renaissance this season, hitting .284/.418/.408 in 276 plate appearances for the Railriders. As with Cave though, there is just so much playing time to go around for outfielders and he’s pretty low on the depth chart at this point.