Yankees prospect profile: Relief pitcher Brooks Kriske
Recently added to the Yankees 40-man roster, as to avoid the Rule 5 Draft, relief pitcher Brooks Kriske isn’t well known, but that may change very soon.
At 25, having only pitched 48.2 innings (36 games) at Double-A Trenton, right-handed relief pitcher Brooks Kriske is now a member of the Yankees 40-man roster.
While this isn’t the norm for someone that missed all of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 following Tommy John surgery, the Yanks feel they have something special in the 2016 sixth-round pick out of USC.
Beginning last season at High-A Tampa, Kriske opened eyes by not allowing a run in 12 innings (seven games). Surrendering just four hits, Kriske struck out 16, walked five, picked up one save, and featured a 2.14 FIP and WHIP of 0.750.
Soon promoted to Trenton in April, Kriske proved he was all the way back from TJ surgery. Going 2-2 with a 2.59 ERA, 2.82 FIP, 1.089 WHIP, and producing a 64:23 K:BB ratio, Kriske finished 21 games while saving 11.
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Furthermore, pitching at his highest minor league level thus far in his young career, Kriske gave up just 30 hits and three home runs. While there is still room to decrease his walk totals (3.7 BB/9), Kriske has a three-pitch big-league arsenal.
Adding an extra four-mph to his fastball that regularly reaches 97-mph, a sweeping slider, and a dazzling splitter that neutralizes left-handed hitters, Kriske credits Scott Aldred and Tim Norton with his rapid movement through the Yankees farm system.
Speaking with Sean Miller of NJ.com in July 2019, Kriske said:
"“I added that splitter about a month ago, and I feel like for this last month, things have been going a lot smoother with that third pitch. That has been my main adjustment to the league, adding that pitch and giving guys some different looks off of me. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself with the slider, trying to make it probably better than it needs to be, and Scotty came out and said that it would help to neutralize lefties and could use it against righties as well. I was lucky that I got a pretty good feel for it quickly.”"
Likely to begin next season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Kriske has only thrown 105.1 minor league innings (72 games) across parts of three seasons. Therefore, if he can better his command and control, there’s no reason why he can’t reach the big leagues at some point in 2020.
And with Dellin Betances looking less and less likely to return to the Bronx, adding Kriske to the 40-man roster was an easy decision. While Kriske may not be on any Yankees top prospects lists at the moment, expect that to change very soon.