Yankees’ September Call-Ups Preview

Many Yankees' prospects will be recalled in the coming days, likely including Rob Refsnyder.
Many Yankees’ prospects will be recalled in the coming days, likely including Rob Refsnyder.

The current state of the New York Yankees is a scary one.  While the playoffs are still well within reach, the aging roster’s struggles of late have led to lots of panic and concern from fans of the Bombers.  But help is on the way in the form of September Call-Ups.  In case you didn’t know or need a refresher, MLB teams may expand their rosters from 25 to 40 men in order to provide reinforcements down the stretch.  With the Yankees’ prospect core as potent as it is now, it is likely that we will see many exciting prospects recalled.  Here’s a preview on who will likely be in Yankee pinstripes down the stretch run.

Locks:

Dustin Ackley, UTIL:

I guess we can look at Ackley as a call-up, right?  Ackley was acquired at the trade deadline to be a bench player for the Yankees, but only played in 2 blowout games before injuring his back.  Currently on Major League Rehab with the AAA Scranton Railriders, Ackley will be on the Yankees’ roster in September.  His ability to play all three outfield positions as well as first and second base makes him valuable.

Nick Goody, RHP:

Goody was just sent back down to AAA Scranton, meaning he cannot be recalled for 10 days barring injury.  Therefore, while Goody won’t be with the Yankees on September 1st, he will undoubtedly be part of the club’s bullpen down the chute.

Nick Rumbelow, RHP:

Much like Goody, Rumbelow was just sent down and can’t be recalled for 10 days.  But Rumbelow will be back for sure.  His 94 mph fastball and 12-6 curveball have pushed him to the top of the ballclub’s list of bullpen reinforcements.

Caleb Cotham, RHP:

September Call-Ups are generally common for AAA relievers that have been shuttled up and down during the season.  Cotham is one of many AAA relievers, but his ability to throw multiple innings is useful.

Jose Pirela, UTIL:

While Dustin Ackley is a similar player to Pirela in terms of his positional versatility, Pirela is a homegrown Yankee and is still young at 25.  His AAA numbers have been outstanding.  Pirela can play second base, third base, or the outfield, has speed and a little bit of pop, and has seen time with the Yankees already this year.

Slade Heathcott, OF:

Every ballclub needs some speed and outfield defense in September, and Heathcott is perfect in that role.  Heathcott is a good hitter that can play all three outfield positions and had impressed the Yankees with his comeback to prospect status after some tough years on and off the field.  Heathcott will see action as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement in many games.

Austin Romine/Gary Sanchez, C:

One of these two will certainly be recalled to the Yankees’ roster soon, but which one?  Sanchez is the highly-touted prospect and is already on the 40-man roster, but Romine is the veteran that’s been here before, is worlds better defensively, and knows the pitchers better.  Romine isn’t on the 40-man roster, but his strong AAA season indicates that he isn’t toast yet.  The Yankees could promote Romine first, play him to gain some trade value, and then flip him for minor league depth in the offseason.  But once the Yankees have clinched, expect Sanchez to see time in the insignificant games that follow.

Likely:

Rob Refsnyder, 2B:

Refsnyder is a fan favorite among Yankees’ prospects, and has already seen Major League time (albeit a brief 4 games).  Refsnyder is a good hitter, plays a position of need, and is a top prospect.  However, his defense could still use work at second base.  The Yankees have some sort of attachment with Stephen Drew and Brendan Ryan, but Refsnyder’s audition for regular playing time in 2016 could be this September.

Chris Martin, RHP:

Remember Chris Martin?  He was the reliever that came out of nowhere to become a trusted member of Joe Girardi’s bullpen circle before getting injured and struggling his way down to AAA, where a staph infection sidelined him further.  Martin doesn’t have the future of the aforementioned bullpenners, but he is major league depth that can soak up innings.

Andrew Bailey, RHP:

Bailey’s comeback is finally nearing completion.  After a strong few years with the Oakland A’s as a shutdown closer, he struggled and hurt his shoulder with the Red Sox.  The Yankees signed him to a minor league deal a couple of years ago, and he has been invaluable at AA Trenton and AAA Scranton while rehabbing.  Bailey has a proven track record, and could potentially join the Yankees’ bullpen for the long haul if he can stay healthy.

Maybe:

Jacob Lindgren, LHP:

If we knew for a fact that Lindgren was healthy after midseason elbow surgery, he’d be a lock for sure.  But his injury means that Yankees fans may have to wait until 2016 to see “Strikeout Factory” again.  But don’t worry, when he is healthy, a spot is waiting for Lindgren.

Rico Noel, OF/PR:

Rico Noel is a very interesting case.  He has very limited hitting ability, but he could receive a call-up for purely his speed and defense.  After seeing the impact a pure pinch runner in Terrance Gore had for the Royals last year in the playoffs, the Yankees could promote Noel for the postseason as a strict pinch-runner. An odd choice, but a trendy choice in this year’s MLB.

40-Man Candidates:

James Pazos, LHP:

The Yankees need to protect the talented lefty Pazos from the Rule 5 Draft this offseason.  That said, are there enough innings to go around for Pazos to be a worthwhile call-up?  Pazos has impressed at AA and AAA this season and will be protected this offseason, so why not give him an audition?

Ben Gamel, OF:

Gamel went from a fringe prospect to an actual prospect this summer.  He has led off at AAA for the majority of the year, can play all three outfield positions, has lefty pop, and needs to be 40-Manned this Winter.  So while Gamel won’t see much time, he has earned a call-up.

Conclusion:

The Yankees can’t give call-ups to all of these guys, but at least 11 of these players definitely see time as Yankees in the coming month.  The 40-Man Roster is a factor, but these kids could prove to be valuable pieces in time.  Don’t look for major impact, but it’s always exciting to see top prospects at the MLB level, no matter the role.

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