The Yankees will look to infuse some more young talent onto their roster with September call ups, and it appears the plan will be to use nearly the full 40-man roster and hope that the new players can provide the spark the Yankees need to get over the top in the American League East. We have taken the time to evaluate many of the players who are on the 40-man roster and see which of those guys, as well as certain prospects not on the 40-man roster yet, have chances to be called up this September. We have sorted them into categories assessing the likelihood of them being with the Yankees next month, and noted whether or not they are on the 40-man roster. If they are a candidate to be designated for assignment (DFA’d) and removed from the roster to clear room for other players, we have noted it. Also remember that if a player is on the 60-Day DL, he is not counted as one of the 40 players on the 40-man roster.
Nearly a Guarantee
Nick Goody– RP- (40-man)
Nick Rumbelow– RP- (40-man)
Branden Pinder– RP- (40-man)
– We’re lumping together the three relievers here because these guys are among the crowd of relievers the Yankees have shuttled back and forth between the majors and the minors. The Yankees need to lighten the load on the back end of their bullpen as much as possible, and the relatively solid trio of Goody, Rumbelow, and Pinder are all but guaranteed to be up shortly after rosters expand on Tuesday.
Rob Refsnyder– 2B- (40-man)
Jose Pirela– 2B- (40-man)
– It’s typical for teams to go for at least one extra infielder. The Yankees will bring up two, because Pirela has been solid and offers speed off the bench while Refsynder has pretty much proven everything he needs to prove down in AAA. Neither of these guys may start very often thanks to the Yankees’ insistence on using Stephen Drew, Dustin Ackley, and Brendan Ryan, but adding Refsynder and Pirela should help a bit.
Slade Heathcott– OF- (40-man)
– There’s always an extra outfielder, and given the fact that Heathcott has been up this year and remains on the 40-man roster while doing a satisfactory job in AAA, Heathcott will likely fill that role.
More Likely Than Not
Andrew Bailey– RP- (not on 40 man)
– We covered the two time All-Star’s efforts to claw his way back to the Majors in a Yankees minor league update earlier this month, and Bailey has continued to do well in AAA, pitching to a 2.89 ERA with 11 K’s in 9 1/3 innings with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. This contributes to his yearlong numbers of a 1.97 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP, and 40 K’s in 32 innings pitched. Bailey is recovering from multiple injuries to his shoulder and is not on the 40-man roster, slightly diminishing his chance to be called up, but the Yankees may look to capitalize on their speculative investment in Bailey by taking advantage of his arm while they still can.
Gary Sanchez– C- (40-man)
– Sanchez will probably be the third catcher since he, unlike Austin Romine, is on the 40-man roster and he also is still one of the Yankees’ top prospects. While Sanchez may not play much behind the plate, the Yankees will find a way to get Sanchez some at bats due to his offensive upside.
Caleb Cotham– RP- (40-man)- outside candidate for a DFA
Bryan Mitchell– RP- (40-man) (7-Day DL)
– Cotham and Mitchell will likely both be with the Yankees in early September but have different question marks that could see them not on the roster. Cotham is an outside candidate to be DFA’d if the Yankees need to fill more roster spots with players who are not currently on the 40-man roster. Since he, at 27, is older than most of the reliever corps the Yankees have been shuttling between AAA and the majors, the Yankees may see him as expendable. Mitchell, meanwhile, is still recovering from his injuries after being hit in the face by a line drive. If he is healthy, he will be back on the active roster.
Aaron Judge– OF- (not on 40 man)
– Judge has the raw talent to play in the majors and may be a starter come Opening Day 2016, but the Yankees outfield would just be too crowded for Judge to find regular playing time. Judge has also cooled off at AAA, hitting just .238 with a .322 OBP and 59 K’s in 181 at-bats. Judge has kept up his power, however, hitting 8 HR’s in that span. He will be there soon, but September is no guarantee, especially since the Yankees do not need to worry about protecting Judge from the Rule 5 draft this offseason.
Rico Noel– OF- (not on 40 man)
– Noel’s speed makes him a candidate to be the Yankees’ version of what the Royals had with Terrence Gore last season. Noel, who has 19 steals in 116 at bats this season, stole 90 bases in High-A ball in 2012 and followed it up with 59 steals at AA in 2013 when he was in the Padres’ system. Noel would make for a great pinch runner, but the fact that he is not already on the 40-man roster makes it less likely that he will be called up.
Chris Martin– RP- (40 man)- outside DFA candidate
Johnny Barbato– RP- not on 40 man
– Martin may not make it because he is already 29 and has been dealing with injury troubles this season, making him a DFA candidate. Barbato, meanwhile, could be a replacement in the ‘pen as the righty has 59 K’s in 59 innings between Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to go with a 3.05 ERA this season, including an ERA of only 0.54 in 10 AAA appearances. The Yankees will need to decide whether or not to protect Barbato this winter, and if they are planning on doing so may choose to call him up and place him on the roster this September.
Cole Figueroa– 2B- (40 man)- DFA candidate
– Figueroa is 28 and may not be viewed by the organization as someone with much upside, so if the Yankees need to clear room, it may be at his expense.
Jacob Lindgren– RP- (40 man)
– Lindgren has been dealing with elbow troubles, so if he is unable to come back, the Yankees may look to place him on the 60-Day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot. If Lindgren is healthy, however, expect the young lefty to be on the roster.
Unlikely Candidates with Rule 5 Concerns
Ben Gamel– OF- (not on 40 man)
Tony Renda– 2B- (not on 40 man)
Jake Cave– OF- (not on 40 man)
Rookie Davis– SP- (not on 40 man)
– These four players are guys who the Yankees are pretty high on but who would be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this winter, allowing them to possibly be poached by other major league teams, if they are not placed on the 40-man roster. Expect most of these guys to be on the 40-man this winter, but one or two of these guys, particularly Gamel or Renda, have outside shots of being placed on the 40-man a bit earlier and given a chance in September. Gamel would be more likely to actually get playing time than Renda, who would be stuck behind Pirela and Refsnyder, but they have better shots than Cave, who has underperformed at AA and Davis, who was just called up to AA about a month ago.
Nearly No Chance
Domingo German– RP- (40-man)- (Minor League DL)
CC Sabathia– SP- (40-man)- 15-Day DL
Austin Romine- C- (not on 40-man)
Tyler Austin– OF- (40-man)
Brady Lail– SP- (Not on 40-man)
James Kaprielian– SP- (not on 40-man)
Jorge Mateo– SS/2B- (not on 40-man)
– German is likely to miss the remainder of the season, and it would be unsurprising if Sabathia did as well given the nature of his injury. If Sabathia proves healthy, he will be on the roster, but it would be expected that the Yankees bump him to the 60-Day DL to end his season and clear a roster spot. Romine is a candidate to be an extra catcher, but will probably lose out to Gary Sanchez because Sanchez is already on the 40-man roster, unlike Romine. Tyler Austin is on the 40-man roster, but disappointed in AAA, hitting only .235 with a .309 OBP and 4 HR’s in 264 at bats before losing playing time and being demoted to AA. Austin has not earned the call, and will likely remain in the minors if he is not designated for assignment to clear a spot if necessary. The Yankees may be hesitant to do this, however, as Austin is only 23 years old and has time to turn it around. Lail, Kaprielian, and Mateo are oft-mentioned top prospects, but none of them will be up next month. Lail has only five starts at AAA and does not have to be rushed yet to avoid the Rule 5 Draft. In Kaprielian’s case, the Yankees drafted him because he could move quickly through the minors, but not this quickly. Expect him to be in the conversation next September. Mateo has over 80 steals this season in A-ball, but does not need to be rushed. The Yankees can already fill the pinch runner role with somebody like the aforementioned Rico Noel or Jose Pirela. Mateo will also likely be up within two years, but the Yankees have no need to rush the 20 year-old.