The major league debut of Brooks Kriske, which began as a joke on Episode 60 of The Yankees Nation Podcast may actually manifest into a reality.
With no MiLB season and a 60 man player pool to choose from, 26-year-old reliever Brooks Kriske may make his pinstriped debut during the 2020s shortened season. While a bit paradoxical, many rookies may play under the bright lights for the first time this year for several reasons in a 60-game season.
First, the aforementioned 60-man player pool allows teams to have players more readily available to insert to the 26-man gameday rosters instead of the normal 40 (Kriske was already on the Yankees 40-man). Also, with no minor league season, teams like the Yankees might be incentivized to get their prospects some playing time against the real competition to aid in development and face live batters in game situations. However, it may be against Bryce Harper in Philadelphia instead of against Shane Robinson in Leigh Valley.
Finally, with some payers opting out or getting coronavirus, more players may be called into action out of pure necessity. In a time where bullpens are taxed more than they ever have before, players like Kriske may be called upon to pitch because the bullpen is so depleted or just to keep arms fresh during a bonkers 60 games in 66 days.
Keep in mind, pitchers’ arms are normally fully warmed up by mid-July from real game action. This year, they were just getting ramped up in March before taking this long, devastating break. It is unknown how that will affect players’ health and stamina.
One player who may benefit from all of this is Brooks Kriske.
In his last two seasons across four different levels, Kriske has not had a K/9 under 11.84 and has had a K/9 as high as 13.5 in 2018. His FIP is very low, ranging from 1.22 to 2.82 across A-, A, A+ and AA ball. Not to mention he has only allowed 3 home runs over 105.1 professional innings.
His measurable are great too. Fangraphs.com has his fastball at 60/60, his slider at 50/50, his splitter at 55/60, and his command at 40/40.
Eric Longenhagen at Fangraphs.com has him at 29th in the Yankees farm system. In an article titled, “Top 54 Prospects: New York Yankees,” Longenhagen wrote, Kriske “has a big-league out pitch in the split,” which he added to his pitch arsenal last season.
In a league full of strikeouts, it seems Kriske will fit right in when he makes his debut.
Hopefully, it comes this season.
Featured Image: Robert M. Pimpsner