Yankees: 3 non-roster invitees who could make the 2021 roster

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Addison Russ #30 of the Reading Fightin Phils (Photo by Zachary Roy/Getty Images) /

2. Addison Russ

The Yankees left Addison Russ unprotected in this fall’s Rule 5 Draft roster crunch, and we fully anticipated a lesser team in need of ‘pen help would snatch him quickly.

Seriously, where were the Phillies here? Perhaps their familiarity with him led them to pass, which would bode poorly for his chances of making the Yanks. But we digress.

Russ was a certified weapon the last time he took the mound in an organized baseball game — which, thanks to the famous disease The Coronavirus, was 2019. In a full season at Double-A Reading, Russ struck out 81 men in 56.2 innings pitched alongside a 2.54 ERA. He also anecdotally impressed Bryce Harper at spring camp with his devastating splitter, who helped advise him how to stop tipping his pitches.

The Yankees could have an underrated weapon in Addison Russ.

There’s a certified pileup of pitching options in the non-roster invitee ranks for the Yanks this spring. You can find starting depth in Jhoulys Chacin and Asher Wojciechowski. There’s bounce-back veteran relief in former Yankee Adam Warren and Kyle Barraclough. There’s a lefty with promise (and childhood Yankee fan) in Lucas Luetge.

In the Yankees’ best-laid plans, these players likely all find their way to Triple-A Scranton and make up a devastatingly experienced taxi squad. It’s probably between the known and unknown quantities in Warren and Russ for the roster spot headed into 2021, and the openness of the competition will be based on injuries over the course of the next month.

We’ll bet on Russ as the more likely man to put up big numbers in March, though.