Yankees history: All-time greats from the ‘small sample size’


Anyone who follows baseball long enough has memories of a player burning for their team for a short time, then never playing for the team again. Many players who show good stats in a small sample end up falling because they get more playing time and they regress and/or get screwed up. However, there are a handful who never reach that status because, for one reason or another, they quit playing for the team before the regression hit.

Here’s a pick of ten Yankees who put up really good numbers in a small sample of games, but didn’t play for the team again afterwards. For hitters, we’ve reserved him for players who have played 20 or fewer games as a Yankees and for pitcher, we’re picking a guy who’s had three starts. Feel free to share some memories or your favorite very short-lived Yankees greats.

Receiver: Erik Kratz

I know it looks like he should go over the 20 game limit, but he just squeals with exactly that number. In his first stint with the Yankees in 2017, he went 2-2 in four games and looked like he would become the team’s all-time batting average leader (minimum of one at bat) at 1,000. However, he returned to the organization in 2019 and was recalled in 2020. He put together strong numbers and became a fun veteran in general.

First Base: Chris Parmelee

Anyone who remembers Parmelee’s six games probably won’t forget them because of how wild they were. In eight at-bats in 2016, he went 4-8 with two home runs and a double, hitting 1.875 OPS and 374 OPS+. The run ended with an injury and he never returned to the majors, and hasn’t played any organized baseball since 2019.

Second goal: D’Angelo Jiménez

Here’s one that goes in the “what could have been” pile. A top 100 prospect, Jiménez made his MLB debut for the Yankees in September 1999. He came and raked in seven games, hitting .400/.478/.500, and looked like one for the future. This offseason, he was injured in a car accident and ended up missing the entire 2000 season. The Yankees traded him in June 2001, and although he went on to an eight-year major league career, he never achieved the potential he showed during his brief tenure with the Yankees.

Shortstop: Jerry Royster

After leading the AL East for much of the season, the Yankees were starting to fall behind when they acquired veteran infielder Royster. He went 15-42 in 18 games in the streak, but the Yankees failed in the division and Royster was released before the 1988 season.

Third goal: Mickey Klutts

Klutts has done the most in the fewest games of any hitter on the roster, achieving 0.5 Baseball Reference WAR in just eight games as a Yankee. He did that for three seasons before being traded for Gary Thomasson in 1978. Other than a solid season as a bench player with the A’s in 1980 and a good small sample size the following year, he didn’t Wasn’t particularly great after leaving the Yankees. . Those eight games as a Yankee make up the majority of his WAR career, as he would be in the negative without them.

Left Field: Bob Seeds

Mr. Seeds is a World events champion, after playing as a pinch runner in a game for the Yankees in the 1936 Fall Classic. This appearance didn’t actually go well, as he was caught stealing to put end Game 5 with the Yankees on a run in the 10th inning. The Yankees led 3-1 in the series and won the next day to clinch the title. Prior to all of that, Seeds OPS had averaged .912 in all 13 regular season games of his career with the Yankees.

Center field: George Whiteman

Whiteman had an odd career, making his debut for the Boston Americans (Red Sox) in 1907, not returning to the majors until 1913 with the Yankees, then not appearing in the majors again until 1918, when he helped Boston win a World Series. His brief stint in the middle with the Yankees saw him go 11-32 with four extra hits in 11 games.

Right Field: Greg Allen

His inclusion could lead to angry outbursts over why the Yankees should have kept him because his cameo in 2021 was pretty good. He racked up 0.4 B-Ref WAR in just 15 games, with an OPS of 0.849.

Designated hitter: Jesús Montero

Deep and prolonged sigh. Montero has the most WAR of any hitter on this list, having racked up 0.6 WAR in baseball benchmarks during his 18 games as a Yankee. In his brief appearance in September 2011, he hit .328/.406/.590 with four home runs, seemingly giving us a taste of what lay ahead for the highly regarded prospect. Instead, he was traded for Michael Pineda this offseason in what turns out to be a pretty sad deal for all parties.

Pitcher: Rich Beck

Not only did Beck have a short career with the Yankees, but it was also his entire major league career. He arrived in September 1965 and was impressive in three starts, including throwing a complete shutout against the Tigers. After that, he was held in high regard in the Yankees organization, but was drafted into the military after the season and missed the next two years. He returned to the minors on his return in 1968 but struggled and was released the following year after a slow start in 1969.

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