On August 25, 2022, 27-year-old relief pitcher Greg Weissert was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to help fill out a depleted New York Yankees bullpen. With no Scott Effross, Lou Trivino, Miguel Castro, and Aroldis Chapman among a smattering of other pitchers who have hit the injured list this season, it was time for the former Fordham University pitcher to make his debut, which did not go well.
Against the Oakland Athletics, Weissert only managed one out and faced five batters, two of whom were plunked. He allowed three runs and was pulled from the game, and despite many Yankees players, including Aaron Judge and Domingo Germán, attempting to console him, it was evident that he was upset with his performance.
The rookie bounced back in his next two appearances, one coming against the Athletics and the other against the Los Angeles Angels. Weissert put in a total of 4 perfect innings of work, facing 12 batters while striking out 5 of them and not allowing a hit or walk. He also registered his first major league win in the process.
This kind of inconsistency isn’t unnatural for a pitcher in his first MLB season, and despite the somewhat ugly numbers — a 7.88 ERA and 5.16 xFIP in eight innings pitched — there are plenty of things to like about the way Weissert has handled himself and his arsenal. Fortunately, his xERA and WHIP are much better than those previous numbers would suggest. He sits with a 3.10 xERA and 1.25 WHIP so far.
The most dangerous weapon in Weissert’s toolbox is his slider. He uses it most at 38.4 percent, and in combination with his sinker (37.7 percent), it is deadly. Against the Tampa Bay Rays, he went viral for making Yandy Díaz turn away from a pitch that ended up sweeping into the strike zone. Nasty stuff.
The slider clocks in at an average of 81.8 mph with a spin rate of 2855 rpm and 19.4 inches of break, while the sinker speeds things up at 94.8 mph (the fastest of all his pitches) with 17.8 inches of break and 25.0 inches of drop, both above the average.
Below is an overlay of Weissert’s slider and a sinker/two-seam fastball thanks to the amazing PitchingNinja:
Greg Weissert, 95mph Two Seamer and 82mph Slider, Overlay. pic.twitter.com/CkbB4jMw8d— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 5, 2022
Weissert has the nasty slider and sinker/two-seam pitch combination, including a fastball that sits in the 69th percentile of velocity, which is great to help build a foundation. Pitching coach Matt Blake has plenty to work with, and after absolutely dominating in Triple-A (1.76 ERA and 3.00 FIP in 46.0 innings pitched), Weissert has proven all that he can in the lower levels. For more on Weissert’s pitch arsenal, my colleague Esteban Rivera wrote a piece on it shortly after his debut, which you can find here.
The biggest problem that faces the right-hander comes in the form of the roster crunch that is inevitably going to happen when bullpen pitchers return from injury. My fellow writer John Griffin discussed this exact dilemma here, and it’s important to restate that even though he will (and should) get sent back down, there is a very real chance that he cracks the roster in some capacity next season. Even if he was kept on the roster for the postseason, the reps he would get are few and far between, which is what matters at this point.
My colleagues and I have preached about it many times before, but the more diversity in a bullpen, the better. Weissert brings that. He’s a fun pitcher to watch with some nasty stuff. Consistency needs to be worked on, but there’s no need to worry as of now. He has showcased the kind of stuff he can bring, and it’s disgustingly good.