Finding a role for Jordan Yamamoto this year and beyond

New York Mets v Miami Marlins
New York Mets v Miami Marlins / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Jordan Yamamoto came over to the New York Mets last winter in a trade with the Miami Marlins for the main purpose of adding some depth to the organization. He would appear in a handful of minor league games and only 6.2 innings at the major league level. It was hardly enough to get a good read on what he is capable of. Still just 25, he’s someone with more professional baseball ahead of him than in the rearview.

Yamamoto didn’t see much action at the big league level with the Marlins either. However, before debuting in 2019, he had a promising minor league career with them and the Milwaukee Brewers.

A huge unknown, I’m going to cut deep into the Mets 40-man roster and find an exact role for Yamamoto this year.

Where can Jordan Yamamoto fit in on the Mets 40-man roster this year?

Yamamoto, despite already having 90 big league innings with the Marlins, didn’t pitch at the Triple-A level until last year. He jumped right from Double-A to the majors in 2019 much like David Peterson did for the Mets in 2020—his Double-A campaign occurring one year prior.

With this in mind, Yamamoto is destined to spend a lot of time in Triple-A in preparation for when he’s called upon by the big league Mets. Will it be solely as a starter in case of emergency or will the Mets have something else in mind?

The Mets were quick to turn other additions last winter into relievers rather than see what they could do in their previous role as starters. Both Sean Reid-Foley and Yennsy Diaz, a pair picked up in the Steven Matz trade with the Toronto Blue Jays, became full-time relief pitchers for the Mets organization. Yamamoto has been given a different treatment. In year one, the Mets continued to see what he could do as a starter. Unless something has changed, it’s likely to remain the priority.

Yamamoto’s ultimate destiny with the Mets probably won’t end up with him starting for them every fifth day. He’s a former 12th round draft pick yet to establish himself on a big league roster. The Mets are positioned to try and compete. They aren’t doing this fully if Yamamoto is one of their starting five.

That doesn’t mean Yamamoto is unable to fulfill an important duty for the Mets in the near future. After 2022, Trevor Williams and Seth Lugo are both free agents. On the lighter side of Yamamoto’s ceiling, he could become the long man out of the bullpen. The top level of what he can do has him assuming a role closer to what Lugo has been able to provide the Mets.

For now, Yamamoto will be Syracusebound and Down until the Mets need him for innings—probably as a starter this year, likely for a different kind of role in the next.

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