Yankees sign 25-year-old reliever with interesting pitch mix

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Los Angeles Dodgers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees add to their reliever depth by acquiring right-handed reliever Yerry De Los Santos, who spent his career in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and cleared waivers after being outrighted. Just 25 years old, the hard-throwing reliever could be an interesting flyer for the Yankees to take, especially given their strong track record with developing relievers. This past season he posted a 3.33 ERA in 24.1 innings at the Major League level, sporting a 54.9% groundball rate and striking out 18 batters.

One of the biggest issues that have plagued him in his professional career stems from spotty command, as he’s walked 11.1% of batters faced in his 48 outings with the Pirates between 2022 and 2023. He does sport impressive stuff that could work well with what the Yankees are looking for in a reliever and might factor into their bullpen in 2024.

Yankees Bring In Another Hard-Throwing Sinkerballer

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Los Angeles Dodgers
Jul 3, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Yerry De Los Santos (57) throws in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Since starting his professional career back in 2015, Yerry De Los Santos has been a hard-throwing but volatile arm in the Pirates’ organization, and the Yankees hope to get more out of his profile. This past season, De Los Santos sported a three-pitch mix that heavily featured his sinker, which he throws at 95 MPH with 16.6 inches of armside movement, and batters struggled to do much damage to this offering. It sported a .276 xwOBACON thanks to its heavy sinking action and sharp run, and he relied upon it 61.5% of the time.

It was his best pitch according to Run-Value (+4), and it’s why hitters only had a 30.6% hard-hit rate against him in 2023. His slider, which he uses 20.8% of the time, struggled to get whiffs this past season and could use tweaking. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine that the Yankees, who have done an excellent job developing sweeping sliders, try to adjust his slider to have more horizontal movement. At a 100 Stuff+, it doesn’t possess any standout qualities, and as a result, generated a -2 Run Value.

Lastly, he has a changeup that he uses 17.6% of the time, and it clocks in at 89.3 MPH with 13.6 inches of armside run and some heavy dropping action as well. While he’s struggled to command this pitch, it could be a valuable weapon for him against left-handed hitters if he’s able to get a strong feel of the pitch. De Los Santos profiles as somebody who just hasn’t found the proper secondaries to put hitters away and reliably get swings and misses, but the Yankees are a great organization to do that with.

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees Workouts
Feb 16, 2023; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake (77) and manager Aaron Boone (17) during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have thrown the most sweepers in baseball (3.700) and have been an organization that prides itself of developing strong sliders. While the league has made adjustments to the pitch, and there are limitations in matchups against opposite-handed hitters, De Los Santos could be a candidate for the pitch. Furthermore, the team also just needs pitching depth because of the influx of injuries suffered not just by the Yankees, but across the league.

It’s a flyer that the Yankees likely won’t have to pay anything for, and it’s possible they could let him go over the offseason to open up a roster spot as well. The Yankees have a strong track record with hard-throwing sinkerballers, and if the team finds another diamond in the rough, it helps to keep bullpen costs down and could give them a controllable arm for the future. With the impending free agencies of Clay Holmes, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Tommy Kahnle after the 2024 season, it would be wise for the Yankees to have contingency plans internally as they build their team for the long run.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: