As spring training continues, newly acquired right handed pitcher Jordan Yamamoto continues to impress. The 24 year old was acquired by New York in a trade with the Miami Marlins in February, where the Mets gave up infield prospect Federico Polanco. When the Mets originally traded for him a couple of weeks ago it looked like he was brought in to compete for a spot on the team, but in just two appearances so far, Yamamoto looks like a guy who has the potential to make an impact on a championship caliber team. The Mets now have a decision to make on what they should do with him.
Considering the fact that Yamamoto is only 24 years old, the Mets have a couple of options to choose for the right hander. The first option which is highly unlikely at this point is for the team to option him to the minor leagues. If the Mets feel that Yamamoto needs more time until he joins the major league team, then that would be considered. Yamamoto appeared in four games last season for the Marlins and did not look very good, but again, there were no minor leagues last season, so the Marlins either had to play him with the rest of the big league team or he would not play at all. The decision Miami made was the right one as they kept him with the main roster, but he did not appear in many games. Now that Yamamoto is in a new system and he is performing pretty well, putting him in the minors should not be the way to go.
Another option for the Mets would be to put Yamamoto in the starting rotation, and there are some fans out there that believe that he is currently competing for a spot in the starting rotation during spring training. While it is highly unlikely that Yamamoto makes the starting rotation within the next couple of weeks, it’s good that some already believe in him that much. The Mets rotation is already at capacity with the recent signing of Taijuan Walker, but that does not mean that Yamamoto can’t make a big impact. Yamamoto did indeed start three games last season, and that is great news for New York. In the case that a starter goes down or someone needs an extra day of rest, Yamamoto will be able to fill in. For the past couple of years the Mets have used guys like Walker Lockett, Wilmer Font and Robert Gsellman as an opener of sorts. Yamamoto is probably the guy on the current roster that can play that role. While the Mets rotation is full at the moment, it’s still great that the team has another starting caliber pitcher on the roster.
However, the Mets have another option that Yamamoto can flourish in and that is a spot in the bullpen. The bullpen has been the team’s biggest weakness the past couple of years, and Sandy Alderson and the rest of the front did a good job adding more relief pitchers this off-season. Yamamoto may be used as a long man if need be or he can play in a similar role to Trevor May and Dellin Betances. Having Yamamoto in the bullpen would allow him to play multiple times a week and contribute in a big way. This is probably the best option for the Mets, as they will be able to have some extra assistance in the bullpen with a guy who has experience in both the bullpen and the rotation.
In the early stages of spring training, Jordan Yamamoto has looked very good and although he may not be a full time starter yet, he can still make a big impact on a team with World Series aspirations.
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