So. You want to know which New York Yankees top prospects you’ve heard so much about are eligible for immediate big-league promotion, if they’ve earned it, and which would require a corresponding roster cut in exchange for a call-up. You’ve come to the right place.
The Yankees’ 40-man roster is full of top-level talent, including plenty of players who’ve been on the big-league shuttle the past few seasons. Quite a few big names in the upper minors are still on the outside looking in, though, leading to some complicated questions — especially in the wake of Luis Gil’s elbow injury.
So, who can help the Yankees in the second half without a shuffle? And who might be stuck at Triple-A a little longer than what feels right?
The Yankees’ 40-man roster features a number of top relievers who the team worried would be taken in the Rule 5 draft this winter, an event that was … canceled. They did a lot of work to clear space for all those folks, jettisoning Clint Frazier, Tyler Wade and Donny Sands, among others, in an ultimately fruitless exercise that led to everything still being super crowded.
That means Ron Marinaccio, JP Sears and Stephen Ridings can go up and down whenever the Yankees want them to this year (once the latter is healthy).
Unfortunately, things get trickier with the team’s top starters.
Yankees 40-man roster: Which prospects can come up and play?
On the 40-man?
- Deivi Garcia, who has fallen so far down the trust tree he’s licking sap off the stump
- Luis Gil, who has undergone Tommy John surgery (and can be transferred to the 60-day IL)
- Clarke Schmidt, who’s likely next in line to get a spot start, but has been an exceedingly valuable fireman in the middle innings
- Luis Medina, an electric option but objectively not ready for primetime
- Yoendrys Gomez, a 22-year-old top-10 prospect/mystery man who’s still recovering from Tommy John surgery himself
- Domingo German: Not a prospect, and would be nice to just drop him off somewhere
Not on the 40-man?
- Hayden Wesneski, the 24-year-old with the magic breaking ball and probably the most exciting option the Yankees could promote short-term
- Ken Waldichuk, a left-handed wizard who’s dominated Double-A for the end of 2021/start of 2022 and just earned a promotion
- Manny Bañuelos, forgotten ex-Yankees prospect and spring darling
- Randy Vasquez, Double-A Somerset’s current beast, who’s rocking a 1.86 ERA in five starts after breaking out last season
How can this team clear 40-man space for Wesneski/Waldichuk? Outside of a major injury or someone who can be sadly transferred to the 60-Day IL (Gil…), there’s one surprising name still holding onto a spot: David McKay, a reliever plucked from the Rays just before Opening Day who joined the Yankees’ system on the condition that he’d be given a 40-man spot.
Done! Through 12.2 innings with Scranton, he’s posted a 2.13 ERA with 16 strikeouts … but also 8 walks. Who would the Yankees rather have on their shuttle? McKay or Ridings, who’s been nursing an injury all season long?
Both of those players could find themselves on the chopping block if New York tries Wesneski out at the big-league level in 2022.
UPDATE: McKay was surprisingly promoted on Sunday and tossed a scoreless inning. Of course he did.