More Promotions Could Be on the Way for the Yankees this Weekend
With the Triple-A International League Championship series concluding this weekend, the New York Yankees could receive another wave of reinforcements from the minor leagues.
Game five of the International League Championship series between the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders and the Gwinnett Braves is scheduled for Saturday 7:05 pm ET. Regardless of what happens in Friday night’s game four match up, the New York Yankees Triple-A affiliate will finish their season this weekend.
The Railriders are up two games to one following Thurday night’s 3-0 victory. They will have the chance to seal their first International League title since 2008 Friday with Daniel Camanera facing off against Rob Wooten.
That could mean an additional wave of call ups for the big league squad as soon as Saturday or Sunday. The Yankees have been struggling to hold onto their playoff hopes in recent weeks, but their thin roster has started to catch up to them following a seven-game win streak that launched them back to serious contender status.
The injuries that ended the seasons of starting pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Chad Green have left the Yankees with few remaining rotation options. The Railriders have starters Dietrich Enns and Jordan Montgomery remaining on their roster, although neither seems particularly likely options for a call up at this point.
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Montgomery won’t be eligible for the Rule 5 draft until next winter, so adding him to the 40-man this winter would mean potentially leaving a prospect open to being selected because of the team’s crowded roster.
On the other hand, pundits were saying the same thing before the team decided to promote reliever Jonathan Holder earlier in the month, so it’s not completely off the table. Montgomery pitched to a 2.13 ERA in 139.1 IP in the upper minors this year and has plenty of wiggle room with his innings after throwing 134.1 IP the previous year. Team’s typically don’t mind an increase of up to 50 innings between seasons.
Enns does need to be added to the 40-man this winter or he will almost certainly be selected after compiling a 1.73 ERA in 135 IP between Double-A and Triple-A this year. Unfortunately, the team removed him from starting duties to limit his innings in late-August. If he does get a call up, it would probably be as a reliever.
Two more bullpen options who will be Rule 5 eligible if they are not added to the 40 man this winter are Giovanny Gallegos and Tyler Webb. Gallegos has a pristine 1.27 ERA in 78 IP split between Trenton and Scranton Wilkes-Barre this year. The 25-year-old righty could push out one of the less-productive members of the Scranton Shuttle for next year.
The 26-year-old Webb seems like a decent bet to challenge Tommy Layne and Chasen Shreve for LOOGY work for 2017. He has a 3.59 ERA in 72.2 IP for the Railriders in his fourth year in the Yankees system.
Perhaps New York’s most difficult decision will be what to do about this year’s most surprising minor league breakout, Kyle Higashioka. The 26-year-old catcher has a .276/.337/.511 batting line in the upper-minors with 21 homers and 81 RBI in 416 plate appearances.
Higashioka can walk following the season if he’s not added to the 40-man, and he will have no trouble finding a club to give him a major league contract this winter with the numbers he’s put up.
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Obviously the Yankees are pretty set at catcher with Gary Sanchez, Brian McCann, and Austin Romine already on the active roster, but Higashioka might get a September promotion just because he is too valuable a player just to let walk for nothing. His emergence could even be seen as another reason to shop McCann this winter.