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Jonathan Holder has a realistic shot of making the All-Star team

Middle relievers have only recently started receiving universal recognition for their individual performance in Major League Baseball, due to the new age of numbers in the sport. Saves are no longer the all-telling, ultimate stat about a reliever’s success and WAR, ERA+, and other metrics have opened the eyes of fans on just how valuable it is for a team to have dominant relievers outside of the ninth inning role. Their widely agreed on importance has led to a lot of non-closer relievers making the All-Star team in recent seasons. The American League squad had two of them in 2017 and 2015, and a whopping four in 2016. If this trend continues, the AL should feature at least one or two non-closer relievers, and possibly more, with the scarcity of lockdown closers in the AL in 2018. The Yankees feature a lot of highly talented middle relievers and the pitcher who has surprised everyone the most, Jonathan Holder, has a very realistic shot of cracking the AL All-Star squad.

BBB Top Prospect Countdown #16: Mason Williams

Speedy outfielder Mason Williams grabbed the attention of Yankees fans last June when he robbed Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Weiters of extra bases — making an outstanding sliding catch into the right-center field fence at Camden Yards. Unfortunately for Williams, his season came to an end later that week as he injured his shoulder diving back into 1st base in a game against the Tigers. Williams will look to have a rebound season in 2016.
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Williams has been known as an elite prospect in the Yankees system since 2010, but after hitting .223 in 128 games for AA Trenton in 2014, many scouts wondered if his highly-praised defense would be enough to get him to the show. In 2015, Williams answered these doubts.

Between 54 games with AA Trenton and AAA Scranton, Williams hit .318 and got on base at an outstanding .397 clip. The Yankees took note of Williams’ performance, and called him up in the wake of outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury’s knee injury — which sidelined him for over a month.

In Williams’ eight games with the Yankees, he made several outstanding catches, and looked lightning quick in the outfield. In 21 at-bats, Williams hit .286 and hit his first MLB home run (in his first at-bat) before the aforementioned shoulder-injury ended his season on June 21st.

Brian Cashman’s November acquisition of outfielder Aaron Hicks from the Minnesota Twins put a damper on Williams’ chance of cracking the Yankees roster out of spring training. Cashman has said that he sees Hicks as an every day player, so he will likely make the team out of spring training as the team’s reserve outfielder.

Fortunately for Williams, all three of the Yankees starting outfielders battled injuries at some point in 2015, so an opportunity may present itself for Williams to see some time in the Bronx in 2016.

Another possibility is that the Yankees could decide to take four bench players, and utilize Williams as a pinch runner and/or defensive upgrade late in the game. Considering Carlos Beltran usually looks like he is jogging after fly balls hit to right field, I think this option makes a lot of sense for the Yankees. Williams has already proven that his glove is MLB-ready, and now that his bat has come around, Williams is ready to establish himself as a major leaguer.

If Williams puts up big numbers in spring training, he could be a legitimate candidate to break camp with the Yankees come opening-day.

You can view his major league and minor league statistics HERE.
You can keep up with our full top 30 list with links to our breakdowns HERE.

Article by: Sammy Criscitello
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