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Yankees prospect Kyle Higashioka to make his MLB debut

Gary Sanchez went on the DL yesterday. The New York Yankees recalled Kyle Higashioka, now set to make his big league debut.

Welcome to The Show Kyle Higashioka.

The New York Yankees were forced to put their star catcher Gary Sanchez on the disabled list. While Austin Romine will take over main duties behind the plate, Higashioka will get his first call to the bigs as his back up.

Higashioka was the Yankees seventh round draft pick back in the 2008 MLB Draft. He climbed the minor league ladder alongside Sanchez at a steady pace. Higashioka made his name more as a defensive catcher but had some modest pop along the way.

Last season, Higashioka had a breakout across two levels. The 26-year old catcher found a power surge and became one of the more promising catchers in the International League. Higashioka slashed .276/.337/.511 establishing career highs in both batting average and on base percentage.

Where Higashioka really impressed was the power department. Having never hit more than 20 doubles or eight home runs at any level, Higashioka exploded for 21 home runs and 24 doubles. Primarily a pull hitter, the righty blasted 17 of his home runs over the left field fence.

Behind the plate, Higashioka doesn’t make too many errors, as he has a career .990 fielding percentage and a 8.68 range factor. He did allow a career-high 10 passed balls last season, but to be fair, he logged more innings than any other season as well. He threw out 30 percent of his attempted base runners in 2016, which is pretty much right on par with his career numbers.

Higashioka was rewarded for his big season by being added to the 40-man roster. It came as a surprise to some, keeping a catcher who turns 27 in two weeks (the same day as Yankees legend Don Mattingly) on the 40-man with so much young talent on the pipeline. It seems as if the move has paid off.

Don’t expect to see a lot of Higashioka, but with the light-hitting Romine taking over full time duties for the next two weeks, you can expect the Yankees to give Higashioka’s power bat a go.

(video courtesy of  Adam Hayes/ YouTube).