After coming to the New York Yankees from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline, Scott Effross became a valuable piece in the bullpen. His unorthodox way of throwing brought plenty of diversity to a pen that was already strong but missing players like Michael King due to injuries. Unfortunately, the bug caught Effross too.
Grade: I (Incomplete)
2022 Statistics (with Yankees): 13 relief appearances, 12.2 IP with Yankees, 2.13 ERA, 3.43 FIP, 4.04 xFIP, 8.53 K/9, 2.84 BB/9, 0.1 fWAR
2023 Contract Status: Pre-Arb Eligible
First, it feels unfair to give Effross a grade for his time with the Yankees. It wasn't going to end up being a long stretch for him because he was a trade deadline acquisition, but also, his season was derailed due to an injury that resulted in him needing Tommy John surgery. It's genuinely upsetting, because Effross is an interesting pitcher that could have been useful down the stretch and because it will be a while before fans see him back on the mound next season.
Effross started his season with the Cubs, pitching to the tune of a 2.66 ERA, 2.18 FIP, 2.94 xFIP, and 1.2 fWAR in 44.0 innings. The 28-year-old right-hander was one of Pinstripe Alley's trade deadline targets, primarily because he is under team control until 2028, and he's a pitcher that not many teams can boast coming out of the bullpen.
What differentiates Effross from the rest of the pack is evident: the way he throws his pitches and the way they move. His slider, sinker, changeup, and four-seam fastball mix confused hitters and allowed manager Aaron Boone and pitching coach Matt Blake some variety in the late-game stages.
Effross, in his first two Yankees appearances, started strong. In a 0.2-inning outing against the Seattle Mariners, he faced three batters and gave up only one hit. Next, against the St. Louis Cardinals, he faced five batters and struck out two in 1.1 innings pitched.
However, his appearance two days later against the same Cardinals team was where he gave up the only runs of his Yankees career thus far, surrendering three hits and three earned runs against six hitters. He made the three outs, but the damage was done.
The good news is that it was the only outing in which he had any real problems. He was rock solid from there on out, giving the Yankees consistent production in the latter stages of contests.
Having only 12.2 innings of work in a uniform, and then sustaining an injury that results in the worst possible surgery for a pitcher is a fate worse than many imagine. I liked what I saw from Effross during his time with the Yankees this past season. It wasn't anything extraordinary, but he came in and did his job when asked to do it. He showed an interesting skillset, one that looked like it would play for years to come. The Yankees' bullpen was arguably their strongest piece during their short postseason stint, but having Effross as insurance would have been useful.
We couldn't in good conscious give him a grade due to his short tenure in the 2022 season, but once he finds his way back to the mound, you can be sure that most of us are optimistic that he will find his footing and get back to his unorthodox but effective ways. That will be an exciting day.