The Yankees will be getting more than just Giancarlo Stanton back for their West Coast swing through Oakland and Anaheim. Per Joel Sherman, reliever Greg Weissert will be joining them as well; there is a player going to the injured list who has not yet been reported. (Update: Ugh. It’s Nestor Cortes with a groin injury, per Lindsey Adler. We’ll have more on this soon.)
Esteban just made Weissert’s case for the big league roster the other day, and his write-up is absolutely worth a look if you’re curious to learn more about what he has to offer. The short version is that he’s an 18th-round success story, as after being drafted out of Fordham in 2016, the Long Island native has gradually ascended the Yankees’ system. After making mincemeat of his Double-A competition in his first month with Somerset in 2021, Weissert has spent the last year and a half with Triple-A Scranton. He looked good last year at the highest minor league level, but he has surpassed that effort during this go-around.
In 40 games as the RailRiders’ primary closer for 2022, Weissert is 18-for-19 in save opportunities while pitching to a 1.76 ERA, 2.99 FIP, and 0.891 WHIP, striking out 67 batters in 46 innings, with just three homers allowed. Among all Triple-A pitchers who have thrown at least 40 frames, the 27-year-old right-hander’s 36.8-percent strikeout rate trails only two players. He’s been at his best recently, as he hasn’t allowed a run since June 8th (a scoreless streak of 23.1 innings), and he’s fanned 33 of 87 batters in that span.
Baseball America dubbed Weissert’s slider as the best in the system prior to the start of the 2022 season, noting that it averages 2,800 rpms with 19 inches of horizontal break.
Sometimes, Weissert loses command of his slider and that leads to walks (10.4% BB%, 3.7 BB/9 in 2022), but as the clip above can attest, it’s pretty nasty at its best. He previously paired this pitch with a two-seam fastball (which has seen an uptick in velocity this year to the mid-90s), but he’s also added a low-to-mid-90s sinker this season as well.
The Yankees will need to make a 40-man roster move to add Weissert unless a player is heading to the 60-day injured list; perhaps Albert Abreu’s recent injury doesn’t look good, or they move Harrison Bader since that won’t change his timeline anyway (update: Bader is indeed the move). I would say that a logical DFA option would be journeyman Luke Bard, who has only been with the organization since August 3rd, but as far as we know, he’s not leaving the current bullpen for Weissert (due to the Cortes injury). Little-used Marwin Gonzalez could also be a possibility, though a 1-for-1 pitcher swap makes the most sense.