Yankees gearing up to return 10 impact players down the stretch

Alexander Wilson
luis severino, yankees
Jun 24, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) reacts after a strikeout to end the top of the fifth inning against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are getting healthier, albeit slowly as the regular season comes grinding to an end. The post-All-Star break half has been tumultuous for a squad that dominated over the first four months of the season, once holding a 15.5-game lead in the AL East. After a prevailing win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday, hope is certainly on the horizon.

Despite DJ LeMahieu and Anthony Rizzo dealing with injury, the team has still won five of their last seven games, showcasing resiliency and spark from some of the youngsters.

Luckily, they have reinforcements waiting in the wings, which should help the team tremendously down the stretch.

Yankees are getting back several impact players:

1.) Luis Severino

Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino will experience one final rehab start this upcoming Thursday and then slot him back into the rotation on September 21 at home. If he is not a part of the playoff rotation, he will be an elite bullpen arm the Yankees rely on significantly in big moments.

Finally returning from years of injury-prone play, Severino hosts a 3.45 ERA, 9.94 strikeouts per nine, 81.2% left on-base rate, and 43% ground ball rate. He has given up a few homers this season, averaging 1.47 per nine and a 15.6% HR/FB ratio, but otherwise, his velocity seems to be back, and he’s been efficient.

Several weeks ago, Severino stated that he hasn’t felt this good all year, which is a great sign as the Yankees view him as an integral piece to the puzzle come the postseason.

2.) Harrison Bader

Outfield acquisition Harrison Bader will start his rehab assignment on Sunday with Somerset. Bader will be dealing with a bit of pain in his right foot from planter fasciitis the rest of the way, but doctors have indicated he can’t injure it any further. Dealing with the pain will be a regular situation for Bader, but the Yankees also view him as an integral piece in the outfield, given his elite range.

It is yet to be seen how impactful he can be dealing with a foot injury, but the Yankees won’t hold him back once he returns and dons the pinstripes for the first time in his career.

3.) Miguel Castro

The Yankees are also getting back relief pitcher Miguel Castro, who features blazing velocity with his fastball. Castro hosts a 4.00 ERA this season, with 10 strikeouts per nine over 27 innings. He’s had his fair share of ups and downs, but Castro is a solid bullpen arm when on top of his game. I don’t expect him to be a focal point in the playoffs, but he can make an impact during the regular season to help the team.

4.) Zack Britton

After suffering a UCL injury that required Tommy John surgery, Zack Britton is finally on the comeback trail. The 34-year-old bullpen arm is in the final year of his deal with the Yankees, so they’d like to get a bit of value out of him if he can take the mound down the stretch.

Britton is also enjoying a rehab assignment with Somerset, pitching just 18.1 innings last year. Reportedly, his sinker looks good, and his velocity is ramping up, so he could make an impact on the left side of the mound in a few days.

5.) Scott Effross

The Yankees acquired Scott Effross from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline, hosting a 3.24 ERA over 8.1 innings. With Chicago, he featured a 2.66 ERA over 44 innings, including 10.23 strikeouts per nine. His efficiency dropped a bit with the Yankees as a result of nerves, but the team views him as a key piece in the playoffs.

Effross is currently battling a shoulder strain, but is starting to ramp up, throwing a bullpen session over the weekend. He’s getting close, according to manager Aaron Boone, but he’s still likely a few weeks away from making a return.

6.) DJ LeMahieu

When healthy, star utilityman DJ LeMahieu is one of the best players on the roster. Battling right big toe soreness, DJ is simply getting a few days of rest to hopefully help his injury (placed on the 10-day IL).

The toe has significantly hurt his production, hitting just .211 with a 27.6% on-base rate in August. He was even worse to start September, so Boone felt it was necessary to provide him ample recovery time. If LeMahieu is healthy for the playoffs, the Yankees will be in good shape in the infield. However, it seems as if he’ll be fighting this issue the rest of the way, which is definitely a tough situation for the team.

7.) Anthony Rizzo

The Yankees are also expected to get back first baseman Anthony Rizzo in the next few days, battling headaches stemming from an epidural he endured for his lower back injury. The headaches have subsided, but the Yanks are giving them a few extra days to rest before making a return.

Rizzo is hitting .225 this season with a 34% on-base rate, 30 homers, and 71 RBIs. When he’s in his groove, Rizzo is one of the best hitters on the team, and they sorely missed his power from the left side of the plate.

Honorable mentions:

8.) Andrew Benintendi

Benintendi suffered a broken right wrist bone against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 2. He was having a fantastic past few weeks, enjoying a streak of four consecutive games with two or more hits in late August.

Losing the left fielder was a significant blow for the Yankees, but they are still hoping he can make a return, even if his wrist isn’t fully recovered. He would likely have to make a comeback right before the playoffs begin, but there is optimism that he will make it back in time.

9.) Matt Carpenter

Slugger Matt Carpenter completely deafened the Yankees’ offense when he went down with a fractured foot. Carpenter was hitting an impressive .305 with a 41% on-base rate and 15 homers over 47 games. He completely revitalized his swing this past off-season, showcasing incredible value.

Carpenter’s injury still has him in a boot, meaning it is very unlikely he makes it back this season, but the Yankees haven’t given up hope just yet.

10.) Aroldis Chapman

More bullpen support is on the way with the return of Aroldis Chapman, who’s been dealing with a leg infection stemming from a tattoo he received several weeks ago. Chapman hosts a 4.70 ERA this season over 30.2 innings — arguably the worst season in his entire career. His strikeouts are down significantly to 10.27 per nine and is giving up 6.47 walks per nine as well.

Chapman is also starting a rehab assignment with Double-A on Sunday, so he will likely experience a few outings before returning to action for the Yankees.