After a difficult start to the 2022 season, the New York Yankees are finally hitting their stride, winning seven consecutive games and two series against the Cleaveland Guardians and Baltimore Orioles.
The Bombers now sit 13–6 on the season, hosting the top record in the AL East and tied with the New York Mets at the top of the MLB. Interestingly, the Yankees feature a +26 run differential, the worst of the top four teams, but it is a clear indication their pitching has performed extraordinarily well despite justifiable concerns during the off-season.
However, general manager Brian Cashman executed a few off-season moves but otherwise stayed quite silent. One of his more low-key signings was Tim Locastro, who spent last season with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Yankees, hitting a collective .180 over 156 plate appearances.
So far this year, Locastro is hitting .286 with a 22.2% walk rate, one HR, and two RBIs. He’s also stolen three bases in nine games, almost equaling his number from last year over 64 games.
The Yankees clearly see the value in having a dominant base runner capable of stealing bases and making smart plays to put himself in positions of leverage. While Locastro doesn’t offer much as a slugger, his contact-hitting is a great contribution to a team that lacks in that area.
With Aaron Hicks on paternity leave, the Yankees have called upon Locastro to fill the void, which he has done admirably over the past few games. On Thursday, Locastro recorded a hit and two walks, driving in two runs.
In fact, in the Yankees’ past four games, Locastro has recorded two hits and four runs over four at-bats, tallying a two-run homer against Cleveland on April 24. Defensively, the veteran outfielder has been stout, playing a total of 21 innings and earning a perfect fielding percentage, even making a spectacular diving catch in a tough win over Cleveland several days ago.
Every year Cashman finds a ton of value in reserve players who fill supplemental roles, and this year, Locastro might be their hidden gem.