Yankees steal high-upside bullpen arm from Braves

yankees, aaron boone
Apr 28, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone (17) makes a pitching change during the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are looking to add high-upside bullpen arms at a reasonable cost, given they just heavily invested in Aaron Judge and Carlos Rodon. They also signed Tommy Kahnle back on a two-year, $11.5 million deal, despite pitching in less than 15 innings over his last three seasons combined.

The Bombers released two relief pitchers to make room for Rodon and Kahnle, specifically Junior Fernandez and Lucas Luetge, which was a surprise given his efficiency over the last two seasons as a veteran lefty.

However, general manager Brian Cashman is hard at work trying to find high-upside arms that could make an impact in 2023. One of his most recent grabs was Lisandro Santos from the Atlanta Braves, one of the best organizations in baseball when it comes to developing young talent.

The Yankees could strike gold with Lisandro Santos:

Santos is 24 years old, standing at 6’1″ and 227 pounds, with a lefty arm. He spent the 2022 season with Atlanta’s Double-A and High-A squad, pitching 18.1 innings and recording a 5.89 ERA (AA). However, he has impressive strikeout numbers, recording 15.29 strikeouts per nine with High-A last season across 47.2 innings.

It is rare to come across a pitcher with his type of velocity out of the bullpen. He’s able to touch 99 mph, earning 13.91 strikeouts per nine across both minor-league teams last year.

While Santos might end up requiring a year in the Yankees’ minor-league system to find his groove, he’s a worthwhile lottery ticket with incredible velocity and a diversified arm. It is possible all he needs is a bit of tweaking to improve his accuracy. If he can pair good location with his velocity, there’s no question Santos can make an impact at the Major League level one day.