Yankees could have a future closer on roster despite tough MLB debut


The New York Yankees are waving goodbye to the frustrating month of August, and will look to beef up their record in the final weeks of the 2022 season. Part of that transition involves successfully closing out ball games. On Aug. 25, the Yankees called up right-handed closer Greg Weissert from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in an effort to learn what they had at the lower levels.

When the Yankees placed left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman on the 15-day injured list due to a leg infection from a tattoo two days later, the need for back-end help increased. The monster lefty has not been on the bump since the 19th of August.

After a lack of performance in the final innings of crucial games, Chapman was booted from the closer role back in July, and sports a 4.70 ERA so far. He’s thrown 30.2 innings and allowed 14 earned runs, walked 22, and struck out 35 hitters.

Chapman was already on track to depart at the end of the season. Now, with Clay Holmes and Jonathan Loaisiga in limbo, the Yankees’ future closer role is more up for grabs than ever before — and might be vacant down the stretch, depending on Holmes’ recovery.

How does Yankees RHP Greg Weissert fit the picture? What does he offer?

Well, let’s start with the debut. Weissert made his debut on Aug. 25, and it was one to forget.

His very first offering sat on the hip of Oakland Athletics hitter Jonah Bride; Weissert plunked his first major league hitter. This was followed by a balk to advance Bride, another hit batter, and two walks. He was pulled from the game with a 13-2 lead. Not a good first look.

However, this is not at all who Greg Weissert is, nor anywhere close to a display of his full potential. This looked like nerves from being called on to pitch for the first time in the show on a major league field for the first-place New York Yankees.

Weissert’s 2022 looked very different from that initial display, with a 1.76 ERA in Triple-A and 18 saves for the RailRiders. He threw 46 innings of quality pitches, only allowing 22 hits, 9 runs, and 3 home runs. He struck out an impressive 67 men while only walking 19 batters. Despite his two hit batters in his debut, he’s only hit five batters in 46 total minor-league innings. No need to panic!

Weissert stands 6-2 and 215 pounds with pure strength and intensity. He has a Craig Kimbrel look-in approach, with a Mariano Rivera left-lead foot set up, toe-tapping three times before a slingshot three-quarter arm slot delivery. Weissert has good stuff, which is why he’ll succeed as a potential future closer option in New York. His second MLB outing looked much more like Weissert’s baseline (two spotless shutout innings with three strikeouts).

He doesn’t overpower, but has a fastball that can touch up to 96 MPH with good bite. He generates a lot of tail on that fastball with his delivery, and can control it well as long as his finish is consistent. He can locate the fastball on all quadrants. His out pitch is a slider; it’s probably his most effective weapon, working in on left-handed hitters, and away on the right side.

This is also complemented by a sinker which works very similar, but is deceptive in its own way. The changeup is also effective when velocity is shaved off well, working low in the zone.

Weissert has a good pallet of pitch options, and has the chance to close out a lot of Yankees wins, once he’s settled mentally with his approach.