Key Yankees bullpen arm goes does; call up frisbee throwing relief pitcher

yankees, ian hamilton
May 16, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Yankees pitcher Ian Hamilton (71) pitches to the Toronto Blue Jays during the fourth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are prepping for what promises to be a riveting series finale against the Houston Astros this Sunday evening. While young infielder Jasson Dominguez is already turning heads with hits in his first two games, an unexpected pre-game announcement regarding Ian Hamilton has thrown a curveball into the Yankees’ bullpen plans.

Ian Hamilton Placed on 15-Day IL Due to Groin Strain

Right-handed pitcher Ian Hamilton, who has been pivotal in the Yankees’ 2023 campaign, has been placed on the 15-day injured list due to a right groin strain. This isn’t Hamilton’s first bout with a groin injury this season; he missed several weeks earlier in the year for the same issue.

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Hamilton’s Stellar 2023 Campaign Stats

Hamilton, 28, has been a bright spot in the Yankees’ bullpen this year, boasting an impressive 2.24 ERA, 11 strikeouts per nine innings, a 79.4% left-on-base rate, a 56.1% ground ball rate, and a low 7.7% HR/FB ratio over 52.1 innings. His success has been so pronounced that he’s occasionally served as an opener.

Pitching coach Matt Blake continues to unearth gems like Hamilton, who spent the previous season pitching a mere 2.2 innings for the Minnesota Twins at the MLB level. However, the Yankees saw the potential in Hamilton, and he’s proven to be a superb addition to their bullpen.

Greg Weissert Called Up to Fill Hamilton’s Shoes

To fill the void left by Hamilton, the Yankees have called up 28-year-old Greg Weissert, a right-handed frisbee-throwing pitcher.

Weissert’s Season So Far: A Mixed Bag

Weissert has spent 40.1 innings this year in Triple-A, carrying a 2.90 ERA and striking out 12.94 batters per nine innings. His MLB record shows a 4.15 ERA, a high 90.2% left-on-base rate, and a solid 54.2% ground ball rate. However, Weissert has been plagued by control issues, walking 5.19 batters per nine innings and giving up 2.08 home runs per nine—numbers that have dented his overall efficiency.

A Look Forward: Opportunities for the Yankees’ Prospects

As the season progresses, the primary focus seems to be shifting towards offering prospects a platform to shine. Jasson Dominguez appears poised to seize such opportunities, looking every bit the part of an MLB player. The upcoming spring training in 2024 will likely provide Dominguez with a prime opportunity to win the starting center field position.

With a series finale against the Astros on the horizon and fresh faces making their case, the Yankees are looking at a blend of opportunities and challenges as they plot their strategy for the upcoming winter. Hamilton’s temporary absence will be a test of their bullpen depth, but it’s also an open door for talents like Weissert to prove their mettle.