With the New York Yankees having already secured the first-round bye in the postseason, one would think there is nothing to play for in the regular season anymore. That’s just not true: there are several ballplayers playing for a postseason roster spot.
The pitching staff is particularly crowded. Once Wandy Peralta returns to full health, there will be 15 pitchers vying for 13 roster spots in October: Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Nestor Cortes Jr., Luis Severino, Domingo German, Lou Trivino, Clarke Schmidt, Scott Effross, Zack Britton, Aroldis Chapman, Peralta, Ron Marinaccio, Jonathan Loaisiga, Lucas Luetge, and Clay Holmes. Perhaps even Albert Abreu gets in the picture, too, so nobody can relax.
Once the Yankees start their postseason journey, they will need their bullpen to step up. It was a rock-solid unit in the first half that found some bumps after that.
As long as these three arms are pitching well, they will be well-positioned to advance:
The Yankees sacrificed valuable resources (pitching prospect Hayden Wesneski, who is currently starring for the Chicago Cubs) to get Effross on board. It was a solid trade, as his side-arm style and stuff have proven to be very effective whenever he has been called upon.
An injury limited his workload so far, but he has a solid 2.53 ERA in 10.2 innings with the Yankees. Getting him at the top of his form would be huge in October.
Currently on the 15-day injured list with a lower back strain, Peralta has been a stalwart all year long. In 56.1 innings this year, he has a rock-solid 2.72 ERA and a fantastic 2.87 FIP that validates his success.
He is expected back soon, and will need a few innings before the regular season is up to get his feet wet prior to the postseason. The Yankees need that big changeup fooling hitters in October.
Marinaccio has overcome a bit of a control issue (12.9 percent walk rate) to post a brilliant 2.18 ERA in 41.1 frames. His 31 percent strikeout rate has been a godsend for manager Aaron Boone and the Yanks.
He has a 4.26 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP in his last seven games, so the Yankees need to get him right in time before the big party starts. However, the team shouldn’t leave him out of the roster by any means, as his bat-missing ability could be huge in the playoffs.