Yankees call up young emerging starter, place reliable reliever on IL

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Wandy Peralta could have made his final appearance for the Yankees, as the impending free agent was placed on the 15-Day IL, which makes him ineligible to return for the rest of the regular season. With the Yankees most likely not making the postseason, there won’t be an added part of the schedule for him to make that return. To replace the injured veteran, the Yankees are promoting their #26 prospect on MLB Pipeline Yoendrys Gomez. The right-handed 23-year-old out of Venezuela has impressed at Double-A, and with his spot on the 40-man Roster, was an easy candidate to promote.

He’ll skip Triple-A entirely, but with the run environment down there, he isn’t missing out on much. It’s unclear if he’ll factor in the rotation or bullpen, but there are some interesting characteristics to his profile and pitch shape that the Yankees could be enticed by down the stretch.

Future Bullpen Piece For the Yankees?

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles
Mar 24, 2023; Sarasota, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Yoendrys Gomez (89) throws a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We got to see Yoendrys Gomez in Spring Training, as he flashed an impressive mix of pitches that include a four-seam fastball, cutter, and sweeping slider, with a changeup and curveball mixed in as well. Gomez’s fastball sat at 94.4 MPH with 17.2″ of induced vertical break from a lower slot, and his cutter works a sa pitch he can throw to left-handed batters to jam them inside. His sweeping slider generates 12.3″ inches of sweep at 82 MPH, which is right around the velocity and movement averages you can expect from a right-handed sweeper.

In terms of Stuff+, his fastball grades out at 126.4, his slider at 114.1, and his cutter at 99.6, making them solid offerings for his profile and giving him a route to be an MLB-caliber reliever. He’s been a starter at every level, and in Double-A this year he posted a 3.58 ERA and 28.5% K% across 65.1 IP with a 3.83 FIP and 12% Swinging Strike Rate. His biggest issue comes with command, walking 13.5% of batters faced, and he’s struggled to pitch deep into games because of it.

The bullpen is a natural transition for Gomez, who is a Stuff+ darling and can get swings-and-misses, with the one-inning workloads perhaps allowing him to throw at max effort and maximize his value. The Yankees chose to go with Gomez over other arms like Clayton Beeter, Will Warren, or Drew Thorpe because he is out of MiLB options after this season and is already on the 40-man. By getting him acclimated to the bullpen, the Yankees could utilize him in a one or two-inning role out of the backend of their pitching staff and see if he works up to higher leverage roles next year.

As for Wandy Peralta, the Yankees will have to sign him to a new contract to bring him back in 2024, as he’ll hit the free-agent market and likely have a plethora of suitors coming off of back-to-back seasons posting a sub-3 ERA out of the bullpen, especially as a southpaw. A tricep injury won’t hurt his stock too much, and in a circumstance where the Yankees were October-bound, he’d likely be active for the postseason.

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