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Yankees pitching prospect Hayden Wesneski speaks with the media (John Brophy/Pinstriped Prospects)

Yankees MiLB Previews

Pinstriped Previews: Hayden Wesneski begins 2022 in spotlight

The Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders are going to be the only team in the New York Yankees organization (major league included) that will play any games until Friday. On Tuesday, the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate got the season started on a good note with a 5-0 win over the Syracuse Mets.

Right out of the gate, the RailRiders got on the board early thanks to a Oswald Peraza home run, an Oswaldo Cabrera double, and a Ronald Guzman RBI single in the top of the first. Throw in a three-run insurance home run by Estevan Florial and that’s all the offense the team would need.

On the mound, Matt Krook was efficient with his pitches as 41 of his 56 pitches were strikes over five innings of work. The lefty allowed only two hits, walked a batter, and struck out seven in the win. As for the bullpen, Reggie McClain, Trevor Lane, and Greg Weissert combined to allow two hits while striking out seven and walking two batters over the final four innings to secure the win.

Can Scranton Wilkes-Barre make it 2-0 tonight with one of the best pitching prospects in the Yankees organization on the mound? Check out who gets the start up in upstate New York tonight:

Hayden Wesneski throwing a simulated game during Yankees minor league mini-camp (John Brophy/Pinstriped Prospects)

Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (1-0) vs. Syracuse Mets (0-1)

6:35 PM ET I NBT Bank Stadium

RHP Hayden Wesneski vs. LHP Mike Montgomery

In 2021, Hayden Wesneski went under-the-radar at times at both High-A Hudson Valley and Double-A Somerset. That’s understandable when you pitch in the same rotation as Luis Medina and Ken Waldichuk. However, his results put him in the spotlight as the 2022 begins because out of those three pitchers, he was the only one who got to Triple-A at the end of the year.

Over the course of 25 games (24 starts) across three levels, the 24-year-old right-hander went 11-6 with a 3.25 ERA and he had 151 strikeouts to 36 walks in 130.1 innings pitched.

Wesneski got the call-up to the RailRiders on September 21 for the final two weeks of the season. He made a total of three starts (two against Syracuse) and had 12 strikeouts to three starts over that span. In one outing against the Mets on September 26, he went 4.1 innings, allowed three runs on four hits, walked three, and struck out six on 79 pitches (48 strikes) in a loss.

While Wesneski did have a good amount of strikeouts last season, he is a pitcher that is also okay with getting quick outs and getting back to the dugout in a hurry without having to rely on getting the K. When he began the season at Hudson Valley a year ago, he was able to get the opponent to hit a groundball 53.2% of the time (courtesy of FanGraphs).

As for the Mets, they will send a veteran to the mound in 32-year-old Mike Montgomery. Montgomery signed a minor-league contract with the Mets back on March 19. A year ago, Montgomery was in the Yankees system and he pitched in a couple of games for the RailRiders before being released on May 31.

In the four starts Montgomery made, he went 1-2 with a 7.56 ERA and he had 16 strikeouts to 9 walks in 16.2 innings of work. Teams had a slugging percentage of .455 and the BABIP average against him was .354. He is a pitcher that will rely mainly on off-speed as his fastball usually averages at about 89-90 miles-per-hour. This will be a good test for guys like Cabrera and Peraza to face a pitcher that can use deception with the cutter, changeup, and curveball to confuse hitters.

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Written By

I am an alum of St. John's University, where I majored in sports management.

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