Back in the winter, the Yankees lost RHP Zach Greene in the Rule 5 draft to the New York Mets, but after a difficult Spring Training, the Mets placed him on outright waivers before he was eventually returned to the Yankees.
The 26-year-old RHP had an excellent campaign in Triple-A with the Scranton RailRiders, posting a 3.42 ERA with a 33.3% K%, and while the Yankees didn’t have room on the 40-Man Roster for him, perhaps this second stint with the Yankees could result in an MLB debut during the season. The former 8th Round Pick out of the University of South Alabama is looking to rebound with the organization he spent just a few short months away from.
While he won’t be in the mix for the Opening Day roster, Greene still possesses upside as a bullpen arm.
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Yankees Continue to Emphasize Sweepers
Zach Greene’s slider classifies as a sweeping slider, sitting at around 80 MPH with 13-16 inches of horizontal sweep. This is because Greene is a natural supinator, meaning he naturally throws with an outward roll of his wrist. His sweeping slider is his best pitch and perhaps one the Yankees have him lean on frequently to generate swings and misses. He also possesses a cutter and four-seam fastball, with his cutter essentially serving as a more slider-like offering of his fastball. His four-seamer generates cut instead of run, meaning it moves away from a right-hander, which is atypical for a four-seamer.
He sits between 90-92 with his four-seam fastball, acting as a pitch that he can confidently throw for a strike and set up the slider down and away. His cutter is a weapon against left-handed hitters who are far less susceptible to the large horizontal movement of a sweeper, generating soft contact and called strikes. Greene won’t light up the velocity charts, but he certainly possesses a pitch mix that works well with what the Yankees like to do as an organization. The Yankees have an infrastructure in place with their development that emphasizes sliders, and the numbers reflect that.
The Yankees were 2nd in MiLB slider usage rate, and they’ve made this pitch a point of emphasis with the organization. I imagine they’re happy to see Greene back in the organization because of his slider-centric profile, but more importantly, because they’ve suffered a plethora of injuries on the pitching side of the ball and need as much depth as possible. Zach Greene is entering his age 26 season as well, so he has an added incentive to break through during this season and try to establish himself at the Major League level. 2023 will serve as a huge year for the righty, even if it’s an audition for other teams that could try to acquire him.
Greene possesses a career 35.5% K% and 3.08 ERA in his MiLB career with the Yankees, so it’s now a matter of finding his footing at the MLB level. He also provides a multi-inning option if need be, tossing 12 outings of at least two innings pitches. The Yankees certainly could look at Greene mid-season if they need help, and while he isn’t on the 40-Man Roster, an impressive Triple-A campaign could change things. Injuries are a constant, and depth is a necessity at all times when it comes to your bullpen. If Greene improves on his 2022 campaign at Triple-A, he could create a reason to make room on the 40-Man Roster, similarly to how Greg Weissert did.
It remains to be seen how the Yankees bullpen will shape out, but getting depth back in the form of a Triple-A reliever with plenty of MiLB success is certainly welcomed.