Yankees impressed by relief prospect 'throwing gas out of nowhere' at spring training

Feb 19, 2024; Tampa, FL, USA;  New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) participates in
Feb 19, 2024; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) participates in / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Every spring, at least one player emerges out of the Yankees' gas house seemingly out of nowhere, suddenly throwing in the upper 90s with a wipeout slider, ready to compete for a bullpen role.

This March, that newly-minted big-league option might just be ... Jackson Fristoe? Jackson Fristoe! Exactly!

Chris Kirschner and Brendan Kuty's first official dispatch of notes from spring training for The Athletic was relentlessly hopeful enough to make any Yankees fan seek wood and knock on it. Other than downplaying the team's interest in Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery, The Athletic's insiders expressed tangible optimism over Carlos Rodón, Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony Volpe, and Robinson Canó's influence over getting Juan Soto to stay in New York long-term (seriously).

Towards the end of the piece, they also noted the rise of Fristoe, a 2022 12th-round pick out of Mississippi State. According to evaluators who've watched him toss in the Yankees' offseason player development, he's leapt from the low-to-mid 90s to the high 90s. In other words, "Gas out of nowhere," per one anonymous Yankees staffer.

Yankees prospect Jackson Fristoe emerges from offseason full of gas

It takes a true sicko to sift through all those crucial notes about potential impact or bounce back 2024 big-leaguers and come away with love for Fristoe, but we're all sickos here.

Theoretically, the Yankees "print" bullpen arms, but they'd better get going on this year's process quickly. Impactful names like Chad Green, Wandy Peralta and Aroldis Chapman have all departed in recent years, and Clay Holmes enters free agency after the 2024 season.

The 22-year-old Fristoe is still a ways away from making a big-league impact, only scratching Single-A Tampa for 9 1/3 innings last season and posting a 4.91 ERA in total (45 Ks in 36 2/3 frames). Look for Hudson Valley to get a gas infusion this summer, though, potentially propelling him to the big-league roster a little further down the line.

Then, it'll be time for the next Fristoe to find an extra 5 MPH in the Florida Complex League.