New York Yankees‘ starting centerfielder Harrison Bader was forced out of Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. Coupled with the 7–3 loss, the potential sidelining of another key player was far from the scenario that manager Aaron Boone had envisioned when he claimed that their future is in their own hands.
Bader’s posterior rib contusion could leave the Yankees with a void to fill over the next few days, or even weeks. Given Bader’s injury history, his absence from the field seems likely.
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The Yankees’ Likely Replacements and Their Performances
While Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Billy McKinney, and Franchy Cordero are the likely immediate replacements, their current forms hardly inspire confidence.
Kiner-Falefa is batting .250 with a .308 OBP and has a .984 fielding percentage in the outfield. However, his -6 defensive runs and -1 out above average across 142.1 innings are concerning.
McKinney, batting .241 with a .286 OBP, is another potential replacement, although his performance is also less than ideal. Despite his 102 wRC+ and two defensive runs saved, his below-average career form poses a significant concern.
Cordero’s .194 batting average and .219 OBP hardly make him a compelling choice either, despite his recent three-hit, one home run performance.
Potential Prospect Promotions
The Yankees might be better off turning to their prospect pool to infuse some fresh talent into their line-up. Two names immediately stand out as potential call-ups: Everson Pereira and Estevan Florial.
22-year-old Everson Pereira, who was recently promoted to AAA Scranton, is a potential choice. He’s been impressive, batting .359 with a .405 OBP, a home run, nine RBIs, and a 132 wRC+. In his stint with AA this season, Pereira hit .291 with a .362 OBP, 10 homers, 31 RBIs, a 29.2% strikeout rate, a 10.3% walk rate, and a 144 wRC+ over 46 games.
Pereira’s AAA sample size is relatively small, but his performances indicate he could potentially outperform the current Major League options. Pereira has collected a hit in nine consecutive AAA games, including a streak that dates back to June 25.
Estevan Florial, another old friend, is also an option. He has been one of the best-performing players at the AAA level this season, hitting .291 with a .388 OBP, 21 homers, 53 RBIs, 18 stolen bases, a 29% strikeout rate, a 14% walk rate, and a 135 wRC+ over 70 games.
Despite his AAA success, Florial has played only 30 MLB games, leading to a perception of him as a “AAAA” player. Given the current state of the Yankees, however, it may be worth giving Florial another shot.
Although he’s not currently on the 40-man roster, dropping a less promising talent to make space for Florial could provide benefits. He might even boost his trade value before the deadline, potentially offering the Yankees more flexibility in any future deals.
Despite Florial’s potential, the Yankees are more likely to give Pereira a chance, given their current strategy of investing in youth.
With the impending return of Greg Allen and Jake Bauers offering some additional but sub-par support, the Yankees could indeed benefit from looking toward their prospect pool. The opportunity to elevate promising talents like Pereira and an aging former No. 1 prospect in Florial are certainly intriguing.