New York Yankees: Yankees finally call up Chris Gittens

The New York Yankees finally have called up first baseman Chris Gittens. This call-up solves two problems immediately. Gittens, .283/.486/.585 at the Rail Riders this season can take over first base and move DJ LeMahieu back to second base. It also replaces no production from a first baseman to a good hitting performer. The odd man out will be Rougie Odor that has not been hitting.

I thought that bringing Mike Ford instead of Gittens was a mistake from the beginning of the season. Gittens addition does not add a lefty to the lineup, but it does add a bat that can hit and hit for power.

Gittens plays first base; he bats and throws from the right. He is 6′ 4″ and weighs 250 pounds. He was born on  February 4, 1994, in Texas. He attended Grayson County Junior College. The New York Yankees selected him in the 2014 draft on the 12th round. In a Baseball America report, he was said to be a pitching and hitting prospect. He plays excellent defense at first and can fire the ball at 93 mph.

At Tampa of the Gulf Coast League, he started the 2015 season and absolutely dominated the level, batting .363/.452/.645. He hit 8 home runs in 146 plate appearances. Gittens has ascended through the organization rather quickly. Other than some hip cups during the 2018 season at Trenton, he has continued to gain notice by the Yankee’s front office.

In 2019, at 25,  the first baseman broke out and won the Eastern League MVP for the Trenton Thunder. He hit .281/.393/.500 (164 wRC+) and hit 23 homers (.219 ISO). He still struck out a lot (29.1 percent), but it was his power impressed. However, there was no place for Gittens; the Yankees choose Greg Bird and Mike Ford to hold down first base at the Stadium. After spring training in 2020, he didn’t make the team, and with no minor league games, he couldn’t continue to impress.

In the first 18 games of the AAA minor-league Rail Riders, he has turned heads. He has hit 4 doubles and 4 home runs and is batting .281; with amazing patience at the plate, he has over a walk per game. Now Gittens will be able to show off his stuff at Yankee Stadium.