Ben Gamel‘s single up the middle provided a feel good story from the New York Yankees’ farm system. It was the outfielder’s first major league hit and an achievement for a 23-year-old who is not even the top Yankees’ outfield prospect. Gamel may find himself in the majors for an extended period of time as Jacoby Ellsbury continues to battle the ability to stay healthy and Alex Rodriguez‘s DL stint allows Carlos Beltran to DH full-time.
While we know about the big-time prospects who could make an impact sometime after June 1st (Aaron Judge is at .271/.238 with seven HR and 20 RBI in AAA and Gary Sanchez is up to .282/.333 with five home runs and 20 RBI himself), let’s check in on the next of the best, the group we may see who don’t need full time innings and can still help the team this year:
Rob Refsnyder: Everyone’s favorite “not quite good enough to stick” player could prove useful if Chase Headley continues to struggle or Starlin Castro suffers any sort of injury. Refsnyder is currently hitting: .273/.325 after a slow start to the year and is major league ready with his bat.
Lane Adams: If the Yankees are going to have to dig even deeper and feel Judge isn’t read, it could be Adams next in line after Gamel. With Slade Heathcott struggling to hit and stay on the field (historically), Adams is up to .267/.313 in his first 30 at bats. The outfielder can play all three positions and boasts speed and base stealing abilities.
Nick Swisher: Picture injuries to Beltran, Rodriguez and/or Mark Teixeira. Swishermania has cooled down over the past couple of weeks in AAA and he is now hitting a cool .271/.292 with eight RBI in 85 at bats. Swisher may actually offer the least upside of any of these players at this juncture.
Chad Green: He may be next in line with any additional injuries to a starting pitcher. With Bryan Mitchell on the shelf most of the year and Ivan Nova already filling in for CC Sabathia, Green is currently sporting a 1.22 ERA and 1.10 WHIP for AAA Scranton. The 6’3″ righty has given up just one earned run in his last three starts, totalling 18.1 innings and striking out 20. The 24-year-old was an 11th round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers and came over in the Justin Wilson trade this past winter.
Vinnie Pestano – The 31-year-old journeyman might be pitching his way into the revolving door of relievers Joe Girardi likes to use at the bottom of the bullpen totem pole. Currently, Pestano has a 3.38 ERA in 10.2 innings but offers a 0.84 WHIP and 16 strikeouts. At a minimum, if the Yankees did trade Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman because they were in selling mode, Pestano would be an excellent candidate to eat innings at the back of the bullpen.