SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 19: Luis Avilan #43 of the New York Mets pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the eighth inning at Oracle Park on July 19, 2019 in San Francisco, California.
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees add some much-needed bullpen depth. Luis Avilan provides an excellent lefty option in the minor leagues.

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the New York Yankees have signed left-handed reliever Luis Avilan to a minor league deal.

Luis Avilan was with the New York Mets in 2019. His overall numbers don’t stand out as particularly effective. He posted a 5.06 ERA, 4.96 FIP, 8.4 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 and looked every bit like a minor league reliever.

Those numbers don’t tell the whole story. Avilan was struggling with injury issues early in the season. After he returned from the injured list he was a different pitcher. He posted a 3.00 ERA, 8.1 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9.

What really stands out about Avilan though is his effectiveness against left-handed hitters. He’s about as shut down a reliever as there is in baseball against lefties. They hit just .102/.185/.184 against him in 2019.

The issue is that LOOGYs will no longer exist in 2020. Starting this season there is a three batter minimum for relievers. The only exception to that rule is if they record the final out in an inning. That makes it incredibly hard for a pitcher like Avilan to get a major league job.

However, it makes him amazing depth in the minors. The Yankees don’t have many options if they lose any of their relievers to a long term injury. Their major league bullpen is deep enough that it could likely sustain the hit, but they didn’t have a strong major league ready replacement after trading Stephen Tarpley.

Avilan will provide the Yankees with that kind of depth. This isn’t a flashy signing that will get fans excited, but it’s still a strong one. It’s often the strong depth signings that win championships, not the big-name signings.

New York Yankees fans know all about that after their rollercoaster 2019 season.

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