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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 #28: Nick Rumbelow

After acquiring Aroldis Chapman from the Reds earlier this offseason, many people around the game of baseball have begun to speculate that the Yankees may have the most lethal bullpen in baseball. Now that the Yankees feature a late inning triple-threat of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and now Chapman, teams trailing after six innings will have their backs against the wall. But who will help bridge the gap from the starters to the back-end of the bullpen? Fortunately, the Bombers have a plentiful crop of young arms who will try to crack the roster. Among this group is Nick Rumbelow. The righty had a cup of coffee in the Bronx last summer, and will look to solidify his spot with the Yankees during spring training.
Photo Via USA Today Sports
Rumbelow’s control has shown steady improvement since being drafted out of Louisiana State University by the Yankees in the 7th round of the 2013 draft. While at LSU from 2011-2013, the righty hurler walked 40 batters in 70 innings, but managed only 41 walks in 149.1 innings since going pro. To go along with his improving control, the 6’0” right-hander features a fastball that sits mid-upper 90’s, and sharp curveball known to garner many swings and misses.

The Texas native has a small sample size in the majors (1-1 with a 4.02 ERA in 15.2 innings), but boasts an impressive minor league track record. Rumbelow fared to a 9-7 record with a 3.23 ERA over 133.2 innings, all of which came out of relief. Most impressively, he has a 10.6 K/9 in comparison to a 2.4 BB/9. The RHP also has a respectable WHIP of 1.047.

These minor league statics helped Rumbelow fly through the Yankees farm system, as he began 2014 in rookie ball, and finished 2015 in the big leagues. After being called up on June 23, Rumbelow spent the remainder the season bouncing back and forth between the Yankees and their AAA affiliate, the Scranton RailRiders.

It’s difficult to assess whether or not Rumbelow’s minor league statistics will translate to the MLB, but he should have the chance to prove himself in the Bronx this season. Assuming Ivan Nova serves as the Yankees long-reliever to start the season, Rumbelow will face the likes of James Pazos, Bryan Mitchell, Chasen Shreve, Branden Pinder, Jacob Lindgren, Vicente Campos, and Nick Goody to claim one of the three or four remaining bullpen slots (depending on how many pitchers manager Joe Girardi takes).

This decision largely depends on each player’s performance in spring training, but if Rumbelow pitches to his potential, he has every chance to start the season with the Yankees. Should Rumbelow fail to crack the opening day roster, it is very likely that Yankees fans will still be seeing their fair share of the righty this season. Girardi has shown his affinity for having a constantly changing bullpen, and until Rumbelow proves himself in the MLB he will likely see a similar season to 2015 — splitting time between the Yankees and RailRiders.

You can view his minor league and major 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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