Today marked the expansion of MLB rosters around the league, as competing teams prepare for the final month’s stretch run and some in the second division take a closer look at prospects while hoping to play spoiler along the way. As has been documented, September call-ups are different in 2021 than they have been in the past. Prior to 2020, teams could promote anyone who was active and on the 40-man roster, which was nice for both depth and minor leaguers hoping to earn big-league money but also led to bloated rosters and box scores, as evidenced by the absurd 2011 regular season finale.
The rules were out the window in the abbreviated 2020, but now, there’s a limit to the September rosters. Teams can carry a maximum of 28 players, so they have to be selective about who gets tabbed to join the Major League club.
The 23-year-old Florial has had an odd season, impressing in limited action in New York (6-for-20 with two doubles, a homer, and five walks, a .990 OPS), but only posting pedestrian numbers in more extended looks in Triple-A. Since his early promotion from Double-A Somerset, Florial has hit just .210/.307/.374 with eight homers and an 83 wRC+ in Scranton. He is a 93rd-percentile runner by sprint speed though, so he certainly fits the bill as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement in center field.
The 27-year-old Kriske is, well, exactly what he is. There’s no getting around the fact that he’s been awful in pretty much every MLB opportunity over the past couple seasons, notching a 12.19 ERA, 8.69 FIP, and 2.129 WHIP in 11 games out of the bullpen, most notably blowing up in a nightmarish outing of four wild pitches back on July 22nd. If you’re looking for any reason for hope, Dan Kelly has you covered: Kriske has an ERA of 0.00 with 20 strikeouts and just a single walk in his last 15 innings of work with Triple-A Scranton, so make of that what you will.
Unfortunately, brief August bullpen favorite Stephen Ridings was not an option, as he is on the IL in Scranton with an elbow issue, though he may be back soon. As for fellow rookie sensation Luis Gil, it seems likely that he will simply be promoted to the 28-man roster on an “as needed” basis, and the Yankees don’t want to use a roster spot on a sixth starter. They have said that Gill will likely be used at some point during the upcoming 20-games-in-20-days stretch.
Nothing’s forcing them from keeping Kriske on their roster all month long, so don’t read too much into his selection. (Florial could return to Triple-A shortly as well with Gleyber Torres due back on Friday and Aaron Boone expecting Andrew Velazquez to remain on the roster.) He was just the reliever who happened to be available with Albert Abreu too recently demoted to return, sans injury.