Not many people are aware that left-hander Joe Mantiply was the first addition of the offseason, but after New York signed him, designated him for assignment and then re-signed him, he’s packing his bags for Tampa this month.
Mantiply was drafted in the 27th round of the 2013 June Amateur Draft by the Detroit Tigers and has had a decent minor league career.
In 154 total appearances in the minors, the 25-year old maintained a 2.86 ERA and a strikeout-per-nine inning ratio of 8.9.
In 2016, between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo, Mantiply struck out 69 batters in 59.1 innings of work. Against left-handed batters in Erie, he struck out 39 compared to just two walks while yielding a .143 batting average against.
Mantiply presumably enters camp as the fourth-string left-hander in the Yankees’ ‘pen, but a successful camp could force him into the picture as a reliable lefty specialist.
Tommy Layne has always been stellar against left-handed hitters (.177 career BAA) but Richard Bleier is a 29-year old who has played in 241 minor league games over nine seasons and just 23 at the major league level.
Sure, he didn’t allow a single home run and just six hits to lefty batters in the show, but he’s not a guy you want to depend on to supplement a rotation nor feel comfortable calling on to strikeout a big lefty with two outs and the bases loaded.
Chasen Shreve is also in the picture as an option, but in a scenario in which manager Joe Girardi could use all the weapons he could get his hands on to shorten the game, don’t be surprised to see Mantiply at some point in 2017.