Every MLB team battles injuries and underperformance throughout the season. Those inevitable issues open the door for any number of players to get an opportunity with the big league club.
This past season, the Yankees called upon a number of players to fill gaps on the roster and keep the season moving forward. Some far exceeded expectations, while others fell well short in their opportunity to carve out a larger role with the Yankees. To wrap up this year’s roster report card series, let’s take a look at the miscellaneous players who stepped into notable roles with the Yankees this year.
Grade for the Group: D+
2021 Statistics (MLB): 16 games, 44 PA, .111/.250/.194, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 0 SB, 15.9 BB%, 29.5 K%, 26 OPS+, 33 wRC+, -0.2 fWAR, -0.2 bWAR
2022 Contract Status: Released by the Yankees, pursuing opportunities in Japan
When the Yankees announced during the final days of spring training that Luke Voit was going to be out of action, the focus of many fans immediately turned to their first base depth. Veteran Jay Bruce was given the first chance to hold down the position but after weeks of poor play, he decided to retire as Voit inched his way back from injury. Voit’s return to the roster only lasted a few weeks before the Yankees found themselves in need of a first baseman again.
This time, the Yankees turned to Chris Gittens, who was in the process of putting up monster numbers with Triple-A Scranton, where he eventually finished the season with a .301/.440/.644 line. Unfortunately, Gittens was unable to even sniff his Triple-A production at the MLB level, as he struggled to make the same consistently hard contact. Gittens’ best moment of the season was when he launched a long home run against Toronto for his first big-league hit. After remaining on the 40-man roster through the early part of the offseason, Gittens was released by the Yankees to pursue opportunities playing professionally in Japan.
2021 Statistics (MLB): 15 games, 48 PA, .270/.417/.432, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 5 SB, 10.4 BB%, 27.1 K%, 136 OPS+, 140 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR, 0.4 bWAR
2022 Contract Status: Signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates after the season.
Greg Allen does not deserve to be associated with a D+ grade for his season with the Yankees, as he outperformed every expectation the team could’ve had for him this year. Picked up as a depth piece in a minor trade with San Diego last January, Allen put together a strong Triple-A campaign before getting promoted to the Yankees as a COVID replacement when the team battled an outbreak on the roster.
Allen’s performance was extremely fun and left fans wanting more as he made plays on the basepaths and saw the team go 11-4 in the 15 games he played. It was a true surprise when Allen was sent down after playing so well, but it was likely due to the COVID roster rules that would have exposed him waivers if he had remained with the team much longer.
2021 Statistics (Yankees): 12 games, 18 PA, .059/.111/.059, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB, 8.1 BB%, 28.0 K%, -51 OPS+, -54 wRC+, -0.4 fWAR, -0.4 bWAR
2022 Contract Status: Signed a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers for 2022.
Despite Allen’s strong play, the Yankees felt the need to claim Jonathan Davis off waivers when he was released by division rival Toronto. The Yankees likely felt that Davis’s speed allowed him to play a better center field while Allen was better suited for a corner outfield position. No matter the logic, the Yankees received little production from Davis in the 12 games that he played for them. The Yankees sent Davis down to Triple-A in late August before designating him for assignment in early September.
2021 Statistics (MLB): 11 games, 25 PA, .300/.440/.550, 1 HR, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 1 SB, 20 BB%, 24 K%, 171 OPS+, 173 wRC+, 0.3 fWAR, 0.3 bWAR
2022 Contract Status: Under team control, one minor league option year remaining.
If you only looked at Estevan Florial’s major league performance this past season, you would quickly wonder why he is not written down in ink as the Yankees starting center fielder for the upcoming season. In his very small sample size, Florial looked the part of a top prospect as he gave the Yankees well above average production during his brief moments with the team.
On the downside, Florial did not carry that production through a much larger sample size in the minor leagues hitting just .219/.314/.427 across the Double-A and Triple-A levels. When he was with the Yankees, he continued to flash the speed, power and potential that the scouts have enamored scouts since his breakout season as a prospect in 2017.