The downside to Chris Gittens’ Yankees promotion

Chris Gittens’ arrival with the Yankees on Saturday serves as an organizational victory and much more so a triumph for the 27-year-old himself, a Twelfth-round choose within the 2014 newbie draft (props to space scout Mike Leuzinger for touting him) who persevered and acquired his huge name late Friday evening.

How about his father telling him practically seven years in the past, after getting drafted, “I’m not coming to see you play until you make it to the big leagues”? The elder Gittens honored that vow — “Little motivation, little push for me to get where I am right now,” his son stated — by watching a whole lot of minor league video games on the MILB app and certainly displaying up in The Bronx on Saturday evening for Gittens’ main league debut, beginning at first base, towards the Red Sox.

Then in some unspecified time in the future the happiness you’re feeling for Gittens intersects with the distress surrounding this Yankees staff that sparked his promotion. The righty swinger turns into the newest pinstriped Next Man Up, and he should thrive in a manner his predecessors, after doing so in prior seasons, completely haven’t in 2021.

“These guys know how to hit,” Gittens stated Saturday of his new teammates. “They’ve been here before, If we’re up 4-0, why am I trying to just go all out with a home run right then and there? Just do my part.”

Chris Gittens
Chris Gittens

No one on the Zoom name assumed the party-pooper function to inform Gittens that the Yankees final loved a 4-0 lead on May 22 towards the White Sox, 12 video games in the past. Or that whereas proof exists that these guys understand how to hit, more moderen knowledge contemplates whether or not a lot of them have forgotten how to hit.

Look again on the Yankees in 2018 and 2019, Aaron Boone’s first two seasons as supervisor. The ’18 group launched Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres and Luke Voit as intriguing hitters, every of them placing up an OPS+ of over 100 (which represents league common). The ’19 staff adopted with Mike Ford, Clint Frazier, Mike Tauchman and Gio Urshela, plus the extra established DJ LeMahieu blowing away all expectations after signing a two-year, $24-million contract.

That’s eight guys possessing appreciable upside. Of that octet, solely Urshela, at 103, introduced an above-average OPS+ into Saturday’s contest. Tauchman is a Giant, and never hitting a lot there, both (though higher than Yankees heart fielder Brett Gardner), and Ford is again on the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre affiliate that simply wished Gittens properly after he put collectively a slash line of .283/.486/.585 in 18 video games.

It represents such a seismic cratering that solely a foolish individual would recommend one concept to clarify the Yankees’ offense collapsing en masse. The Yankees thought they put collectively a roster with appreciable depth, and the projection companies largely agreed with them; even on Saturday, regardless of carrying a 31-27 report and a Pythagorean mark of 29-29, proudly owning the seventh greatest American League report when solely 5 golf equipment per league will qualify for October, Baseball-Reference calculated the Yankees’ playoff probabilities at 43.2 %.

Sometimes, although, you require much more depth. Enter Gittens, whose huge name got here from Yankees senior director of participant growth Kevin Reese, with this easy message: “They need you.”

You by no means need to bestow the savior’s strain on any minor league call-up, though it in all probability carries extra long-term danger on a high-ceiling prospect than on a long-time minor leaguer like Gittens. Furthermore, you want to present such a beginner with some runway. Yet Boone, reflecting his group’s urgency to get going, wouldn’t commit to any quantity of enjoying time for Gittens: “It’s day to day right now.”

It’s day to day due to the Yankees’ woes with their bats. Gittens advantages from the circumstances and will get held to a excessive commonplace due to them.

Some subsequent man, or former man, should save these Yankees from drowning. Good for Gittens, incomes this shot. Can he flip again the franchise clock to merely 2019?

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