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Yankees 2015 Roster Report Card: Nick Rumbelow

Another hard-throwing young arm entered the bullpen mix in 2015, and while the numbers weren't there, he flashed potential.

Al Bello/Getty Images

Grade: B-

2015 Statistics: 4.02 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 15.2 IP (MLB), 4.27 ERA
9.7 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 52 2/3 IP (AAA)

2016 Contract Status: 40-man roster, pre-arb

It was a quick rise to the major leagues for righty reliever Nick Rumbelow. Taken in the seventh round of the 2013 MLB Draft, Rumbelow officially signed with the Yankees on June 23, 2013. Fast forward two years to the day on June 25, 2013, and he was making his MLB debut against the Phillies; not too shabby.

A pivotal part of the LSU baseball program during his collegiate days, Rumbelow wasted no time making an impression. In 19 games with Staten Island after being drafted, he pitched to a 2.35 ERA, 2.70 FIP, and struck out nearly a batter per inning. The next season was even better, as he rose all the way from Low-A Charleston to Triple-A Scranton over the course of the campaign, a remarkable ascent for a 22-year-old.

Deploying a mid-to-high 90s fastball that paired with a sharp curveball, no one below Triple-A could even sniff Rumbelow. He fanned 62 batters in 42 2/3 innings, good for a superlative 13.1 K/9, all with good control, a 2.11 ERA, and without allowing a single home run. Scranton only slowed him down a little bit, as he struck out 19 in 15 2/3 innings, though his ERA was a little higher. Given such a quick rise to the precipice of the majors, it was understandable to hope for big things from Rumbelow in 2015.

Returning to the Electric City, Rumbelow's performance was up and down, but perhaps it was fitting, given his year. He earned a promotion to the Yankees bullpen in late June anyway as one of the many relievers who rode the Scranton/Bronx "25th man" carousel. For the rest of 2015, it was back and forth and Rumbelow as he, like many of his other Triple-A teammates, struggled to maintain consistency at the game's highest level. Everything looked like it was going well at first, as through his first eight games, he struck out a batter per inning with just two walks and one run allowed in 6 2/3 innings.

Just when Joe Girardi seemed to be getting a little more comfortable using the rookie, Rumbelow turned in his worst stretch of baseball as a professional. Tasked to pitch two innings on August 23rd in Cleveland, Rumbelow did but allowed three baserunners and a run. Soon thereafter, he was roughed up by the Astros, There were a few scoreless outings in September, but they were overshadowed by some ugly outings on the mound against Baltimore, Tampa, and the White Sox. In seven September games, his ERA was an even 6.00. This is a small sample size, but it is worth noting since Girardi tried to give him shots in limited action to see if he could find a spot on the playoff roster with Chasen Shreve imploding and no one aside from regulars Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, and Justin Wilson doing anything notable. Rumbelow couldn't get it done.

The bright side is that Rumbelow made it to the majors and did have a handful of games out of his 17 where his repertoire impressed. It certainly wasn't a bad year; it was just decent. If Rumbelow continues to be a legitimate option in the RailRiders' bullpen, he will receive more chances to make an impression at the major league level. It doesn't matter if it's Opening Day 2016, a mid-June promotion, or somewhere further down the road. He should receive an opportunity, and hopefully his whiff potential can shine through.