Yankees claim intriguing bullpen arm off of waivers, place reliever on 60-day IL

MLB: Spring Training-Philadelphia Phillies Photo Day

As the New York Yankees continue to shuffle around their roster, they’ve made a waiver claim on right-handed reliever McKinley Moore, who spent the past season with the Philadelphia Phillies. Entering his age-25 season, he was a 14th-round pick by the Chicago White Sox in 2019 and has an interesting arsenal. His four-seamer sits in the upper-90s, standing in at a freakishly tall 6’6 with excellent extension due to his height. Command has been a huge issue for him, as he walked 24.2% of batters faced at the Minor League level in 2023, but he does have enormous upside as a reliever.

The pitch profile is excellent and he could be a solid depth arm in Triple-A for the Yankees this season. The corresponding move was to place Lou Trivino, who was recently signed to a one-year deal, on the 60-day IL as he continues to rehab from Tommy John Surgery.

Yankees Add Bullpen Depth, Place Injured Arm on the IL

MLB: Spring Training-Philadelphia Phillies Photo Day

The Yankees have an excellent track record with identifying under-the-radar bullpen talent, and McKinley Moore certainly has the stuff to be a strong reliever in this league. His Triple-A Stuff+ numbers were impressive as he posted a 118.5 across his brief time there, and that’s due to his excellent fastball-slider combination, with both pitches grading out as above-average according to the metric. His four-seamer generated a lot of swings and misses due to his explosive velocity, sporting a 41.4% Whiff Rate and as a result, striking out 48 batters in 29.2 innings.

He was impressive between Double-A and Triple-A in terms of preventing runs, sporting a 1.33 ERA, and sporting an excellent groundball rate (54.8%). McKinley Moore is the definition of a stuff-over-command pitcher, and he tries to rely on his overpowering arsenal to overwhelm hitters and mask his command issues. The Yankees have secretly done a great job of getting normally wild pitchers to find the strike zone enough to get consistent outs, and they might be able to work their magic here.

Another pitch to look out for is his changeup, which generates 10.4 inches of vertical separation off of his fastball and had a 50% Whiff Rate in its limited sample size of work. His ability to generate soft contact with the pitch and get swings and misses could allow him to be a threat against both righties and lefties, but all of this depends on how his command improves at the MLB level. He made three appearances for the Phillies and had an 18.90 ERA, which is certainly not encouraging, and I’d imagine the Yankees would start him out in Triple-A to open the season if they keep him.

MLB: Houston Astros at New York Yankees

As for Lou Trivino, it isn’t a shocker that they were going to place him on the injured list to open the season as he is still recovering from Tommy John Surgery. Don’t expect to see him until sometime in the summer, as he tries to recover from a devastating elbow injury he suffered last year at Spring Training. The 32-year-old was brilliant for the New York Yankees after they acquired him in the infamous deal that brought Frankie Montas to the Bronx, and they’re hoping they can get a repeat of his excellent work in the second half this season.

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