On Sept. 27, the New York Yankees clinched the American League East with a victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Ballgame! Yankees win, 5-2, to clinch the AL East for the first time since 2019. Will have a first round bye and home field advantage in the ALDS pic.twitter.com/rfdlvUhah0
— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) September 28, 2022
It was the culmination of a roller coaster season for the franchise which saw them go from a historic win pace to one of the coldest teams in the league.
However, despite this stretch of poor play, the team was able to hang on and earn the division title.
Now, with the playoffs starting in less than a week, the Yankees are expecting some major reinforcements to return from the injured list.
Here is a look at the three that can help the team the most.
3. Matt Carpenter
There was a point this season where Matt Carpenter was the best hitter on the Yankees.
This was true, even as Aaron Judge was in the middle of his historic season.
However, on Aug. 8, Carpenter fouled a ball off his foot and fractured a bone.
This was a crushing blow for Carpenter, who was unsure of whether he’d be able to return this year.
After rehabbing for the last couple of months, he is now ready to begin taking live at-bats again.
— Brendan Kuty (@BrendanKutyNJ) September 30, 2022
While it was originally believed that Carpenter would return to the team for their final series against the Texas Rangers, it has now been decided that he will take live at-bats with the Yankees Triple-A team.
This will allow him to get swings in a controlled environment, and get a clear idea of where he is at health-wise.
The expectation is then that he will return for the ALDS, which starts on Oct. 9.
This would give the Yankees a huge, middle-of-the-order bat that was hitting .305 with 15 home runs in 128 at-bats this season.
2. The Relievers
Rather than just include one player here, there is a trio of relievers ready to return to action that could give the Yankees some much needed bullpen depth.
Miguel Castro will be activated tomorrow. Wandy Peralta won’t travel for the Texas series; he could be one of the pitchers facing Matt Carpenter in Somerset.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) October 2, 2022
The 27-year-old is 5-0 with a 4.00 ERA but has shown the potential to be a dominant arm.
He runs a speedy fastball into the upper-90s with a devastating slider from an awkward arm angle.
The only concern is his control, which has been troubling at times.
However, with a bullpen lacking depth, Castro could be an important piece in the postseason.
The same goes for Albert Abreu, who has been out since the middle of August.
Finally, Wandy Peralta is projected to return for the ALDS after rehabbing a back injury.
Peralta has quietly been one of the Yankees’ best relievers this season, posting a 2.72 ERA in 56.1 innings.
He is also a lefty, something that the Yankees lack at times.
His return would be a major boost to a bullpen that has seen its fair share of injuries this season.
1. Andrew Benintendi
One of the Yankees primary trade deadline acquisitions was Andrew Benintendi.
The left fielder has had a solid 2022 campaign, with a .304 batting average and a 3.2 WAR.
I miss Andrew Benintendi. pic.twitter.com/YsPTpANV5n
— Mario Gomez🇩🇴🗽 (@marioagomez_1) September 15, 2022
He also has major experience in the postseason, having won a World Series with the Boston Red Sox.
Now, he brings that to a team that is looking for someone to help take them over the edge.
The only problem is that Benintendi may not be able to return from his hamate bone fracture until after the ALDS.
While the Yankees would obviously need to make it to that point, Benintendi could be just the last minute reinforcement that the team needs to make a championship push.