If you’ve listened to discourse about the 2021 Yankees season for even one second, you already know how valuable relievers with options will be this year.
After a shortened season in which nobody threw anything close to the right amount of innings, a lot of people are going to be counted on to fill the same slot at the end of the bullpen this year — on every roster.
With that in mind, when the Yankees exhibit the lower levels of their prospect capital in the back-end innings of spring training games this year, they’re not just trying to get them “experience” on the mound.
They’re looking to see a competitive spark that might be able to help down the stretch.
No, spring training statistics aren’t the be all, end all. But judging by who the Yankees are giving opportunities to, and how they’ve looked so far, you can certainly map out the rest of the pipeline.
That counts for bench bats, too.
Don’t be shocked if these three Yankees prospects make the leap to the big club this year by the time season ends — two relievers who can help out mid-summer, and one offensive player who might hit too much to keep down.
These 3 Yankees prospects might crash the party before Sept. 2021.
3. Luis Gil
40-man roster spot? Check.
Electric fastball and arsenal, without the complete unpredictability of a Luis Medina outing? Also check.
We certainly wouldn’t rule out 22-year-old Luis Gil getting a shot this season, even though he hasn’t had a professional appearance since his exemplary 2019 campaign with the Single-A Charleston Riverdogs.
That year, Gil — fresh from the Minnesota Twins midway through 2018 — whiffed a remarkable 112 men in 83 innings, keeping his WHIP to an advanced 1.19 along the way. He made just three starts at High-A Tampa that season, though, which would lead us to believe he’d at least start at that level (now in Hudson Valley) despite beginning this campaign two years in the future. 2020, am I right?!
By late spring, Gil should be knocking on the door of Double-A Somerset, however, and the Yankees have been quite unafraid to promote greenhorn pitchers if they believe they’ve proven their mettle.
So far, so good — Gil’s thrown a single clean inning, and has begun to work his way into spring training contests. Keep your eyes peeled for the remainder of the month; he’s undoubtedly ahead of Medina on the pecking order right now, though he’s garnered less buzz.