It was 2019, and the Cubs wanted one of their Double-A relievers to start reinventing himself.
It all began to drop down from there for Scott Effross. He became a sidearmer.
“I was a fairly average reliever at the time,” Effross said. “They approached me about doing this, giving me a different look they didn’t have in the organization. I said yes and kind of jumped in with both feet and went to Arizona and kind of relearned how to throw.”
The 2015 15th-round pick out of Indiana University took what he called “baby steps.” He said he started with Iive batting practice and some games, and “went out to the minor leagues and tried to compete with it.” He finally got called up to Chicago last season, making his debut in late August.
Effross flashed some promise with 10 scoreless outings in 14 tries. He then flashed a lot more promise this season as a 28-year-old rookie righty, so much so that the AL-best Yankees gave up a quality prospect in Triple-A starter Hayden Wesneski on Monday to bring Effross to the Bronx in advance of Tuesday’s trade deadline.
“Anybody who ever asks me, I can’t say enough how grateful I am to the Cubs organization for one, drafting me, and . . . to give me a second chance to become a different pitcher and almost a new life on baseball,” Effross said, standing at his locker in his new clubhouse at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees needed bullpen reinforcements after season-ending injuries to Michael King and Chad Green.
GM Brian Cashman traded for Lou Trivino, who was having a down year with Oakland after a good year closing in 2021, and Effross. He was 1-4 but owned a 2.66 ERA in 47 games with the Cubs, including a 2.01 ERA in 24 outings since the calendar page turned over to June. Overall, he had fanned 50 and walked 11 across 44 innings.
“He’s funky from a different angle than you’re used to seeing,” Cashman said. “He pounds the strike zone. He doesn’t really walk guys and gets a lot of ground balls.”
Effross could be a very valuable set-up addition with his ability to be effective against righthanded and lefthanded hitters. Opponents were batting .220 overall against him before the trade. Lefties stood at just .132.
“That’s one of the attractive things about him in us acquiring him because we do feel like he can get ‘both handed’ out,” manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s got that built-in advantage against righthanded hitters because of that sidearm and being able to sink the ball and the slider.
“But I think what makes him tough against lefties is he’s got a really good changeup and from that sidearm slot, he can kind of create that upshoot fastball.”
Certainly, he’s excited to join the cause. Effross debuted in pinstripes Tuesday night with a scoreless two-thirds of an inning against Seattle, labeling it “a cool experience.”
“They got the train rolling here,” Effross said. “I’m super honored to call myself a Yankee.”
He also feels honored about being here as a Jewish player.
“It’s really special,” Effross said. “Obviously, there’s a huge Jewish community here. I’m very honored to represent that. I’m very honored by my heritage and my upbringing with that.”
The Ohio native describes himself on his Twitter bio as a “Coffee and Seinfeld enthusiast.”
“I’m a big coffee fan and I’m a big Seinfeld fan, growing up watching it with my parents,” Effross said. “What better city to do that in than New York?"