Today’s topic covers who will have to be added to the 40-man roster before the Rule V Draft.
Greg Bird: It is a question of when, not if, Greg Bird will be added to the 40 man roster. Bird was placed on the 60-day disabled list on May 14, 2016. He underwent season ending surgery earlier this season to repair his right labrum. With Mark Teixeira retiring, Bird is expected to compete with Tyler Austin for the starting role in spring training.
Jorge Mateo: Mateo is currently ranked as the Yankees third overall prospect by MLB.com. He led all of minor league baseball with 82 stolen bases in 2015. Jorge is currently playing for the Tampa Yankees (Class A Advanced) and should be in Double A by next year. Mateo has tremendous upside and will unquestionably be added to the 40 man roster if he is not traded before the Rule V Draft. Despite his off-the-field issues, he simply has too much talent and upside to leave unprotected.
Miguel Andujar: Andujar is another prospect that possesses the tools and project-ability to leave unprotected. Although he does commit his fair share of errors in the field, Miguel has a plus-plus arm to go along with above average hands and range. This season he has hit .268/.331/.404 in 58 games with the Tampa Yankees (Class A Advanced) and 62 games with the Trenton Thunder (Double A). Andujar has also slugged 11 home runs, driven in 78 RBI’s and scored 59 runs.
Kyle Higashioka: This is a very interesting decision for the Yankees baseball operations department to make. Kyle has enjoyed a breakout season in 2016. He has hit .290/.350/.532 with 19 home runs, 23 doubles, and 74 RBI’s in 92 games across the Double A and Triple A levels. He is also known as a very strong defender behind the plate. His numbers are just too good to ignore and he provides another layer of depth at a very important position. If the Yankees plan on trading or moving Brian McCann to a full-time designated hitter, the decision to keep Higashioka would make even more sense. If left unprotected, Higashioka will certainly be stolen away by another team in December.
Cito Culver: It would not be shocking if the Yankees place Nathan Eovaldi on the 60-day disabled list to make room for Culver on the 40 man roster in order to call him up at some point in September. It would be wise to give the Yankees brass a preview of how Culver will perform at the Major League level. That should help their decision this off-season on the role, if any, that Cito will play within the organization. The Yankees 2010 first round selection is a defensive first prospect. He can play all infield positions at an above average level. At the plate, he is enjoying the best offensive season of his career. This will be another very tough decision for Brian Cashman and company to make. Should the Yankees feel his defensive skills are just too good to pass up on, look for Culver to battle with Ronald Torreyes in spring training for the utility role spot on the big league 25 man roster.
Dietrich Enns: The Illinois native has been just performed too well to just give away in December. In 23 games (22 starts) for the Trenton Thunder (Double A) and Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple A), Enns is 14-4, with a 1.65 ERA. The 6’1” southpaw has a 1.18 WHIP and .216 batting average against (BAA). Left handed hitters are hitting just .120 off of Enns, so even if he is not used as a starter, he could be one of Girardi’s left handed specialists as soon as next season.