Looks like the Yankees have granted Erik Kratz’s wish. In case you haven’t noticed, the ex-Yankee has tweeted on multiple occasions in advocation of Trey Amburgey getting a chance in the majors (here, here, and here among many other tweets). And now, Amburgey reportedly will join the Yankees for tonight’s game against Boston.
Breaking: Source says OF Trey Amburgey has been promoted to the New York Yankees. A long anticipated move.— Eli Fishman (@elijfishman) July 15, 2021
No word on a corresponding roster moves, but we could see Darren O’Day shifted to the 60-day IL to open up a 40-man spot. Then, the Yankees should option one of Brooks Kriske or Albert Abreu to Triple-A in order to open up a 26-man spot. Alright, now that roster machinations are out of the way, let’s get to know Amburgey a bit more.
- Position: OF
- Born: 10/24/1994
- Bats: Right
- Throws: Right
- Height: 6′-2″
- Weight: 210
The 26 year-old outfielder hails from Lake Worth, Florida, and attended St. Petersburg College in the Sunshine State. The Yankees picked him in the 13th round of the 2015 draft and paid him a $100,000 signing bonus.
The Story So Far
Amburgey raked his way through rookie ball and short-season A-ball right after the draft, spending 37 games with the GCL Yankees and another 21 with Staten Island. In sum, he batted .346/.399/.523 (170 wRC+) between the two levels. It was undoubtedly a very hot start for the late round pick, who needed to hit in order to progress as an outfield tweener.
2016 wasn’t as kind to Amburgey as his professional debut season. He started off well in Single-A Charleston, posting a 139 wRC+ with more walks than strikeouts, but got hurt and missed roughly two months. It’s not clear what the injury was, but it must have been relatively serious to miss that much time. After rehabbing in the GCL, Amburgey returned, but this time for High-A Tampa, where he recorded a so-so .274/.313/.381 (99 wRC+).
In 2017, Amburgey went back to Tampa and seemingly stalled out. He hit a measly .236/.296/.382 (97 wRC+) as a 22 year-old. Amburgey got the bump up to Double-A Trenton for 2018, but again posted a pretty mediocre triple-slash line: .258/.300/.418 (97 wRC+). He became first-time eligible for the Rule 5 draft after the ’18 season, and unsurprisingly, the Yankees left him exposed. No one took a chance on him, either.
Amburgey hit better in 2019, where he spent the full campaign with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. There, the righty posted more power (.219 ISO, 22 homers) and had a .274/.329/.494 (106 wRC+). That undoubtedly was an improvement, but it was nothing like what we’ve seen from Amburgey this year repeating the level.
By the way, Amburgey didn’t make the 40-man roster again that winter (2019), leaving him available for the other 29 clubs in the Rule 5. Again, no one took a flyer. And with the 2020 season banged, he had no chance to push for a spot on the 40-man the following season.
This year, Amburgey owns a .312/.379/.582 (149 wRC+) line for the RailRiders. He also set a franchise record for consecutive games reaching base (42). He’s definitely old for the level, now 26, but he it’s better to blossom late than never. One important caveat: Triple-A is using the 2019 MLB rocket-ball until they run out of supply, so offensive numbers may be a bit inflated.
There simply isn’t much in the way of scouting data online for Amburgey. That’s understandable for a 13th rounder out of a Florida JuCo who is old for his level and hasn’t really performed until this season. That said, there are a couple of things worth pointing out.
Amburgey’s taken a big leap in hard contact this year. He’s got a 92.4 MPH average exit velocity in Triple-A, which would be a top-20 mark in the MLB. My understanding is that he used to sit in the mid-to-high eighties in the past, so this is a marked improvement. And as you may have noticed, the Yankees have a ton of guys hitting for more power in the minors this year. Seems like a pretty big success in terms of player development.
As good as that average exit velocity number is, there’s a downside. Most of Amburgey’s success has come on the short side of a platoon. Check this out:
|Year||OPS vs. LHP||OPS vs. RHP|
It definitely looks like Amburgey could be a lefty-killer, which could help against Boston’s Eduardo Rodríguez and Martín Pérez this weekend. But over the long-term, it likely limits Amburgey’s ceiling to a bench role in the majors.
Defensively, Amburgey can play all three outfield positions but is best situated in one of the corners. He’s not a bad runner, and is considered a tick above average, but decent-to-good speed doesn’t necessarily equate to good defense in center.
Amburgey snuck on to MLB Pipeline’s top-30 Yankees prospects in 2016 as the 30th best prospect in the organization. That came after his strong professional debut in the GCL and New York-Penn league. Other than that, you won’t find him anywhere. He didn’t perform much over subsequent years, and corner outfielders who don’t hit and are old for their level just aren’t going to sniff prospect writers attention.
Going into this year, I don’t think many folks had Amburgey on the major league radar. Sure, he had been in major league spring training, but the Yankees’ outfield looked absolutely loaded going into the regular season. So much for that. Now, he’s in the big leagues thanks to a myriad of injuries and underwhelming performances on the major league roster.
With Giancarlo Stanton not (yet) playing the outfield and Miguel Andújar and Clint Frazier on the injured list, Amburgey has a chance to play a decent amount for the time being. He, Brett Gardner, and Tim Locastro will wrestle for center and left field on a nightly basis for the time being, and I presume we will see a platoon. I figure that Gardy and Locastro will start against right-handers, and Locastro and Amburgey will start against southpaws.