New York Yankees: Predicting 5 Impact September Call-Ups for 2017
The final month of the 2017 MLB season is right around the corner, and with that rosters are set to expand from 25 to 40 players.
The bulk of September call-ups consist of players who have spent the season shuttling between Triple-A and the majors—the fringe middle relievers, spot starters, utility infielders and fifth outfielders of the world.
For the most part, those players will be relegated to mop-up duty in blowout games and pinch-hitting in low-leverage situations.
However, there are always a handful of September additions who wind up making impacts.
Here's a look at five New York Yankees players who could join the roster in September and make their presence known.
RHP Ben Heller
Stats (AAA): 52.2 IP, 5-4, 6 SV, 3.08 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, 13.0 K/9
Stats (MLB): 2.1 IP, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 7.7 BB/9, 11.6 K/9
September Role: Middle relief
The 26-year-old was dominant in the upper levels of the minors in 2016, with a 1.69 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 10.3 K/9 over 49 appearances, and he looked poised to carve out a role as part of the 2017 relief corps.
Instead, he's made just two appearances at the MLB level this year and spent the bulk of the season in Triple-A, where he's put up dominant peripheral numbers once again.
Heller has the archetypal late-inning repertoire with a mid-90s fastball and a wipeout slider, and he will be a useful depth arm for the stretch run.
3B Miguel Andujar
Stats (AA/AAA): 476 PA, .319/.357/.506, 139 H, 51 XBH (15 HR), 76 RBI
Stats (MLB): 5 PA, .750/.800/1.000, 3 H, 1 XBH (0 HR), 4 RBI
September Role: Bench bat
Miguel Andujar has played exactly one game at the MLB level, and it was an impressive enough showing that a good-sized portion of the Yankees fanbase has been clamoring for his return ever since.
On June 28, against the Chicago White Sox, he went 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, four RBI and a stolen base in a 12-3 victory.
There's little question he has the bat to make an impact at the highest level, as evidenced by his .319 average, .863 OPS and 51 extra-base hits in the upper levels of the minors this year.
However, questions remain about his glove at the hot corner, and an opportunity to see regular playing time to continue to hone his defensive skills is the reason he was promptly returned to the minors.
The 22-year-old could push for the starting job in 2018, but for now, he'll be a solid bat off the bench.
RHP Domingo German
Stats (AA/AAA): 98.0 IP, 6-6, 2.94 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, 9.8 K/9
Stats (MLB): 10.2 IP, 0-0, 3.38 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 5.9 BB/9, 9.3 K/9
September Role: Long relief
Domingo German was acquired as a 21-year-old with a high ceiling and a limited track record in the deal that sent Martin Prado and David Phelps to the Miami Marlins.
He's been used primarily as a starter in the minors, but with a skinny 6'2", 175-pound frame and just one season prior to this year in which he topped 100 innings, his future is likely in the bullpen.
Working in shorter stints should allow his mid-90s fastball, plus changeup and workable slurvy breaking ball to all play up.
The Yankees have had good recent success slotting former starters in multi-inning roles out of the bullpen, and that could be where German eventually settles.
"Expect the Yankees to count on German mostly in a long relief role, though it's possible they could use him as a Chad Green lite," wrote Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media.
RHP Giovanny Gallegos
Stats (AAA): 42.1 IP, 4-2, 5 SV, 1.70 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, 14.7 K/9
Stats (MLB): 14.0 IP, 0-1, 5.79 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, 9.6 K/9
September Role: Middle relief
Since making the full-time move from starting to relief work in 2015, Giovanny Gallegos has been nothing short of dominant.
- 2015: 35 G, 63.0 IP, 1.71 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 1.3 BB/9, 9.1 K/9
- 2016: 42 G, 78.0 IP, 1.27 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 2.0 BB/9, 12.0 K/9
- 2017: 26 G, 42.1 IP, 1.70 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, 14.7 K/9
The 26-year-old was added to the 40-man roster this past offseason, and he made his MLB debut on May 12 against the Houston Astros.
He doesn't have overpowering stuff but generates plenty of swings and misses with a good slider that complements a fastball in the 93 mph range.
There's not much left for him to prove at the minor league level, so September figures to be an audition of sorts for a spot in the 2018 bullpen.
OF Clint Frazier
Stats (AAA): 320 PA, .256/.344/.473, 70 H, 33 XBH (12 HR), 42 RBI
Stats (MLB): 117 PA, .243/.274/.477, 27 H, 15 XBH (4 HR), 17 RBI
September Role: Part-time DH and corner outfielder
Clint Frazier has been sidelined since Aug. 8 with a strained oblique, but he may be ready to return to action just in time for rosters to expand in September.
The 22-year-old made his MLB debut on July 1 and kicked off his big league career with a bang, going 7-for-24 with three home runs and eight RBI in his first seven games.
His bat had cooled considerably by the end of the month, though. He was striking out at a 29.1 percent clip to go along with a .274 on-base percentage and was likely headed back to the minors before he hit the disabled list instead.
That said, his power from the right side is impossible to ignore.
At the very least, he could see some platoon action in place of lefty-swinging veterans Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury down the stretch.