The Tuesday Discussion: Are Any Of The New Guys For Real?
This week we posed the following to our writers:
A number of players have had the chance to taste (or get back) to the big leagues these last few days.
Of the recent Yankees’ call-ups, which one do you think has the biggest possibility of sticking with the club and being a solid MLB player for the rest of 2021 and going forward?
Here are their answers:
Chris O’Connor – I am going with Trey Amburgey.
A 26 year-old outfielder, Amburgey had a .960 OPS in 38 games in Triple A this year. In something that was almost inconceivable entering the season, the Yankees lack of outfield depth is startling. They have Judge in right (and he can also play center in a pinch), but aside from him, they have no one who really stand out. For reasons that I do not fully understand, the Yankees do not seem to want to play Giancarlo Stanton in the outfield, and Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, and Miguel Andujar have all been below replacement level this season. If Amburgey’s hamstring injury is not serious and he makes a quick impact at the major league level, I can see the Yankees giving him some extended playing time in the second half. Even if the Yankees trade for an outfielder (which it looks like they might do), Judge, Frazier, and Andujar all have lengthy injury histories. Amburgey just might have a shot to get his big league career going if he can be healthy and productive.
Andy Singer – Those of you who have been reading the blog since at least the end of last season know that I really liked the Greg Allen acquisition as a no-risk, low-cost shot in the dark that could pay off in much the same way that earlier acquisitions of players like Gio Urshela and Luke Voit did for the Yankees. While Greg Allen may be the player with the greatest shot at sticking with the club through the end of the year just based on the Yankees’ lack of outfield depth, the player with the best chance of being a solid MLB player for years to come is Chris Gittens.
Of the new faces we’ve seen in recent days, Gittens has a profile with staying power for someone, whether it’s the Yankees or another team: huge power, good plate discipline, and surprising athleticism in the field for a player with that kind of size (for evidence, look up the video of Gittens making an over the shoulder catch on the run in Sunday night’s game). The jury is still out on the hit tool and the day-to-day fundamentals at first base, but I think the total package could mean a decent career for Gittens as a 1B/DH.
I’d like the honorable mention to go to Hoy Jun Park, though. Even prior to this season’s offensive breakout at AAA, Park was someone who was likely to have a career as a utility guy because of his solid defensive profile at 2B, SS, and 3B and a consistent ability to make contact. Guys like that find a way to stick around for awhile – just ask Tyler Wade. With two innings of MLB playing time under his belt, I don’t feel comfortable listing him above Gittens, but Park projects to produce similar overall value to Gittens, albeit in very different fashion.
Mike Whiteman – I’m not sure if I have seen any real keepers in the current Scranton/New York shuttle, but I am intrigued about Greg Allen, particularly due to his speed, and hope that Aaron Boone would deploy it strategically.
Paul Semendinger – This is a tough question. Here’s a quick thought on each:
Greg Allen is the type of player I like. Fast, fun, smiling. They say he’s a winner. Enthusiasm. I love enthusiasm. I want him to stay.
Hoy Jun Park is another guy I like, a lot. He’s versatile and has worked very hard to make himself a success.
Chris Gittens looks like a great person who will also be an excellent ballplayer. I am just waiting to see him mash the baseball. I would stick him at first right now and seek to trade Luke Voit. I think, going forward, his numbers will be better than Voit’s, maybe not immediately, but definitely over the next three years (and going forward after that).
Ryan LeMarre is one of those guys who has the ability and focus to hang around. Tenacity. Again – a necessary trait on a team and in a clubhouse.
The same is true for Trey Amburgey. He has worked and worked and worked, often over looked and not appreciated.
I want them all to succeed. I’m rooting for each.
If I had to predict one that WILL be very good and stick around, I think it’s Gittens. Luke Voit can’t stay healthy. He’s also a great trade chip. Those factors open the door and keep it open for Gittens to stick around a while.