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What each Yankees September call-up candidate needs to prove

Everyone has something to prove when they reach the big leagues

MLB: New York Yankees at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are bringing up prospects at this point in the season, and so far it’s worked out pretty well for them. As we head into September, rosters will expand to 40 and more young players will get a chance to impress in the majors. There are a few minor leaguers who are expected to join the team next week, and some others who have an outside shot. Here is what each of them has to accomplish with the Yankees to prove they belong.

Johnny Barbato - Prove he can avoid meltdowns

I recently discussed Barbato deserving another chance in the big leagues because his unsightly 7.62 ERA can be blamed on two very bad outings and he was very solid otherwise. Allowing four runs in a third of an inning and three runs without getting an out will make anyone look bad. The Yankees need to see who they have heading into next season, and giving Barbato time to redeem himself could go a long way towards building a better bullpen.

Dietrich Enns - Prove he’s a major league arm

After a breakout season in the rotation, Enns has been moved to the bullpen in order to limit his innings. In my opinion, if they’re worrying about this with the minor league season almost over, they must be preparing him for a call-up in September.

He’s been effective in the rotation, but many believe the soft-tossing lefty will eventually end up in the bullpen. I could see him in a longman role, since he can pitch multiple innings, but all that matters now is that he can get major league batters out. If he can make himself look good now, he’ll have a much better time getting a chance in 2017.

Giovanny Gallegos - Prove that he’s different

Over the last year the Yankees have called up many different bullpen arms, most of whom have struggled or gotten hurt. The question then becomes, can Gallegos stand out against the sea of mediocrity?

Gallegos is a guy not many know about, but he currently has a 1.55 ERA with a 10.2 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in Triple-A. He throws in the mid-90s and, as a former starter, has the secondary offerings to back it up. Can he do what many young relievers in the organization have failed to do–become a league-average bullpen arm?

Ben Gamel - Prove he deserves more playing time

Once September rolls around, Ben Gamel will be one of the first players called up, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to get a lot of playing time. Between Aaron Judge, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, and a resurgent Aaron Hicks, Gamel will spend a lot of time on the bench, though he’ll still get his chances.

The 24-year-old outfielder can hit for average, so it will be interesting to see what he can do in limited playing time. If he continues to hit, it will be hard for them not to play him. He has a lot to prove in a short amount of time, but luckily nothing to lose either.

Rob Refsnyder - Prove he can hit consistently

Refsnyder was given a perfect opportunity to prove his worth to the major league team when Mark Teixeira, and every other first baseman in the organization, went down. He managed to put together a strong month of June, but proved to be somewhat ineffective against right-handed pitchers. As a platoon first baseman with no power, it was easy to see why he was sent back to Triple-A.

A funny thing happened, though, and he’s been unstoppable since he was optioned, hitting .447/.491/.511 in 13 games. Refsnyder has always been a high-average singles hitter, and while that’s not an everyday first baseman, if he can prove to be a consistent bat in the lineup, the Yankees will find a way to fit him in somewhere.

Luis Severino - Prove he can get major league hitters out

This has been a disaster season for him, so I could understand if the Yankees just didn’t want to bring him back up this year. Still though, he needs to actually prove he can get MLB hitters out, and waiting another year to find out isn’t going to do any good.

Velocity aside, he has shown to have very poor fastball command, which has led to him being very hittable against the better talent in the majors. If he can finally start using his changeup more like the Yankees have wanted, maybe he’ll have a better time of it. I’d also love to see how Gary Sanchez can help him behind the plate.

Mason Williams - Prove he can stay healthy

Remember him? The 25-year-old outfielder made his debut last season before dislocating his shoulder and undergoing surgery. The injury was so serious that he didn’t appear on a baseball diamond for over a year afterwards.

You would think this meant he was out of the running for consideration, but since his rehab stint ended he has hit an impressive .310/.330/.391 over 22 games. After missing so much time, he needs to just prove he’s healthy and can stay on the field. He can serve the role of a backup outfielder and maybe get an occasional start in center as he tries to look good in consideration for next year.