Yankees make odd bullpen decision ahead of Opening Day

yankees, greg weissert
Sep 17, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Greg Weissert (85) delivers a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers in the sixth inning at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have had to make several difficult roster decisions ahead of opening day at 1 PM against the San Francisco Giants. The big news has already been delivered, with Anthony Volpe winning the starting shortstop job outright, but there have been some fluctuations in the outfield, as veteran Rafael Ortega opted out of his contract and Estevan Florial headed for New York with the team.

However, general manager Brian Cashman signed Franchy Cordero, formally of the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles, to a major league contract after having a dominant spring.

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The Yankees still have questions in the bullpen:

Despite things still in flux regarding the outfield, the bullpen is still a reason for apprehension, especially after management sent down Greg Weissert and Ian Hamilton, two promising arms who should be on the 26-man roster.

Weissert struggled in his first MLB action last year, hosting a 5.56 ERA over 11.1 innings, but he didn’t give up a run over his last four appearances, putting together more consistent play after the initial shock. Weissert earned a 3.68 ERA this spring across 7.1 innings, striking out seven batters and logging a 0.95 WHIP. He gave up one earned run over his last three spring outings, accumulating 3.1 innings in that sample size and striking out two batters.

Weissert generates frisbee-like action on his pitches, utilizing a fastball, change-up, and slider. He needs a bit more MLB experience under his belt to build confidence and comfort, but I wouldn’t expect him to be with Triple-A Scranton for long since he may serve as the first-choice option to be promoted.

On the other hand, Hamilton put together a strong spring performance at 27 years old. They sent him back to Triple-A, bringing him in as a non-roster invite after spending the 2022 season in Minnesota. He enjoyed 28.2 innings with their Triple-A affiliate and 2.2 innings at the MLB level.

In triple-A, he hosted a 1.88 ERA and 11.30 strikeouts per nine with a 78% left-on-base rate and 51.6% ground ball rate. This spring, however, he was electric, producing nine scoreless innings and collecting six strikeouts with a 0.89 WHIP.

Hamilton has good stuff, and the Yankees would be foolish not to utilize him during the season. Ian utilizes a fastball and slider combination at about an even split. His fastball averages around 95 mph, and his slider 97 mph. His velocity has dipped over the past few years, but he certainly produced quality over the past few weeks, indicating he could play a part in the bullpen this season.

The Yankees have too many RHP, so they may be looking to add a bit of diversity to their bullpen, which might be why Weissert and Hamilton ended up in Scranton.