1. Scott Effross
When rookie Scott Effross showed up midseason thanks to an unprecedented “top prospect for very controllable reliever” deal with the Cubs, nobody expected him to cover anything past the seventh inning or operate as a closer instead of a fireman. Then, he hit the shelf with a shoulder injury. Dream deferred, right?
Well … not exactly!
While Effross isn’t your prototypical closer — his big, sweeping slider is best served by landing in the other batter’s box rather than challenging hitters — he has continued to pitch smart after returning to the Yankees, striking out 12 men in 12.2 innings with New York and remaining undaunted in big moments.
It might get lost in the shuffle — considering how much we all tried to lose August in its entirety — but Effross’ valiant effort at Fenway Park, retiring Rafael Devers on a dribbler and Xander Bogaerts on a pop out to end a 3-2 win with two runners on, is still the gold standard for cathartic Yankee closer work this year.
Based on his first-half output, Effross still has another level or two to climb in pinstripes, too; his FIP was 2.18 in a larger sample size in Chicago, and 3.43 in pinstripes.
Effross has bent, but rarely broken with the Yankees, and he’s coming off his cleanest outing yet in a two-run game in Texas against Marcus Semien and Corey Seager Monday night. It’s his job, for now.
But oh, boy, do we wish we could demote him and get a few more reliable arms out there.