As for highlights on the Yankees’ upcoming schedule – well, there’s Old-Timer’s Day and an Aaron Judge Bobblehead giveaway day.
Yes, it’s been a while since September in the Bronx mirrored March in Tampa, Fla.
Having acknowledged their 2023 season as a lost cause in the standings, the Yankees have properly pivoted toward making additional promotions, with the anticipated call-ups of Jasson Dominguez and Austin Wells this weekend.
Here’s a preview of the final month ahead as the Yankees play the kids, push for some personal achievements and generally prepare for 2024.
Jasson Dominguez in center field
Perhaps sooner than anticipated when this season began, Dominguez, 20, is set to join rookie Everson Pereira in the Yankees outfield.
Recently promoted from Class AA Somerset, the switch-hitting center fielder was batting .444 (12-for-27) with 10 RBI over his first eight games at Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Dubbed as ‘The Martian’ for his other-worldly tools, Dominguez will be competing for a big-league job next spring as a 21-year-old despite his limited Triple-A experience – a script that played out for Anthony Volpe.
There’s also a chance that one-time top prospect Estevan Florial could be in the September mix, with Harrison Bader recently exposed to waivers and minor leaguer Spencer Howard released Wednesday, opening a 40-man roster spot.
Austin Wells behind the plate and at first base
Wells, 24, has posted an .822 OPS in 32 games at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre since his early July promotion.
The lefty-hitting Wells excites scouts with his offensive potential, but there’s questions about his long-term future as a catcher, which has been an empty offensive position for the 2023 Yankees.
“At some point we’d like to get him some first base looks,’’ Yankees manager Aaron Boone said recently.
“But he also continues to make really good strides as a catcher, and we want to keep that development progression going.’’
King’s rediscovered value as a starter might be one of the rare gems from a ruined Yankees year.
Tossing four scoreless innings Tuesday at Detroit, the right-hander was pushed to 61 pitches in this late-season buildup. At this rate, he’ll have five additional starts before the season ends.
King has the arsenal and the motivation to succeed as a starter, making this a valuable assessment period.
A strong finish by Anthony Volpe
It’s been a solid second half for the rookie shortstop, posting an .865 OPS in 24 games since Aug. 2.
Volpe, 22, has shown an improved contact rate and more consistent power as he closes in on a 20-homer, 20-stolen base season, and he’s made noticeable defensive strides.
Through it all, he’s “stayed physically sound, going through a grinding first season at this level,’’ Boone said recently. “I think he’s handled it well.’’
A Cy Young award for Gerrit Cole
Cole, who turns 33 on Sept. 8, has five top-five finishes in the Cy Young award balloting but he’s never won the league’s prize as the top pitcher.
This is Cole’s best chance, with an AL-best 2.95 ERA and on his way to another 200-plus strikeout season.
More looks at Randy Vasquez, Jhony Brito
If they’re not part of offseason trades, both rookie right-handers will compete for spots in the rotation or the bullpen next spring.
At the big-league level, the Yankees have seen more of Brito, who tossed 3.1 scoreless innings for the win Tuesday in relief of King.
In five MLB games (four starts), Vasquez has posted a 2.42 ERA. He deserves another promotion and a longer look as a starter.
Answering some Yankees injuries questions
Aaron Judge has a chance to reach 40 home runs, despite missing nearly eight weeks due to a torn ligament in his right big toe.
But is it better to rest him more frequently in these final weeks?
Will the club reassess the value of having Anthony Rizzo – currently without a return target date – play a handful of games following the early August diagnosis of post-concussion symptoms?
How much can Luis Severino, coming off two solid starts, resurrect his impending free-agent value?
The review of Aaron Boone and his staff
GM Brian Cashman might be inclined to run it back with Boone, and owner Hal Steinbrenner might be inclined to agree – or not.
Evaluations will continue to be made on the manager and a staff that saw one firing this year, with batting caoch Dillon Lawson let go in July.
Pitching coach Matt Blake seems safe and new batting coach Sean Casey has said he’ll assess whether he’d like to commit to 2024 after this season ends.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Yankees ideas for prospects, Aaron Judge to end 2023 schedule
Source: Yahoo Sports