By: Michael Eccleston
What a difference a year makes, huh? Going into this season, the New York Yankees were old, had question marks across the board, and everybody was asking which way they were going, because frankly, as long as you have big money names, you’re going to have expectations on you.
The Bronx Bombers did exactly what they needed to do: They traded away their stellar bullpen arms because they knew they had large holes that had to be filled, and they’re doing just that. They’re finally coming to the realization that a youth movement is needed. Some young fire has been added to this team that we haven’t seen in the Bronx since the days of the Core Four.
The Yankees brought young catcher Gary Sanchez up a few weeks ago, and all I have to say is this: “Brian McCann… Pack it in. You don’t have to go home but you have to get the heck out of here.” The future is here and that doesn’t have you in it. I mean good lord. Gary Sanchez has just stunned everyone. This might be the greatest month a rookie has had to start off a career. In just 99 at bats this season, Sanchez has 35 hits which is a .398 average, and has hit 11 home runs with 21 runs batted in… These are video game numbers! I don’t usually jump to conclusions, but this kid is Babe Ruth. Hah I’m just kidding. But seriously. He’s making hitting major league pitching look easy. Now, we’ll see how they adjust to him and when he starts to struggle we’ll see how he can bounce back, but this is very promising. If it’s possible to make it even
Then there’s 24 year old Aaron Judge. The 6 foot 7 outfielder has struggled a tad out the gate, but after hitting that first home run at Yankee Stadium… I mean has that ball landed yet? I’m not sure of that, but yeah, this guy has some RAW power. I wouldn’t worry about him just yet. Not everyone is Gary Sanchez.
The Yankees received outfielder Clint Frazier in the deal for Andrew Miller. The 21 year old was the 5th overall pick in the 2013 draft and is another one who has raw power. In 4 seasons in the minors he has killed the ball and has driven in a lot of runs. Just the thought of both Frazier and Judge being in the Yankees’ outfield for years to come is terrifying. The acquisition of infielder Gleyber Torres in the Aroldis Chapman deal was big as well because he has a boatload of talent. He’s only 19 years old so I wouldn’t expect him to come up and make an impact too soon but the plan is to shift him from shortstop to second base so I don’t know what the plan is with current second baseman Starlin Castro and his future with the Yankees. And I haven’t even mentioned first baseman Greg Bird yet who had an impact when he came up last season but has missed all of 2016 because of injury.
Oh and not to mention Didi Gregorius who is only 26 years old and is becoming one of the best shortstops in the major leagues. He’s a magician in the field and he’s hit much better than everyone expected. Gregorius currently leads the team in average (.288) and slugging percentage (.468).
New York has been able to pretty much push both Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira into retirement. They needed to make changes to their approach because even though they’ve went on a run lately fueled by the emergence of Sanchez, they are looking at possibly another season without a postseason appearance. The correct move was to build from within and get younger. We’ll see what these kids do from here, but the potential is there, the talent is there, and as of right now I can tell you that GM Brian Cashman has had a very successful season. Yankee fans need to be patient because growing pains lie ahead, but Yankee Stadium will be re-energized because of the youth movement going on currently.
Now they just need to fix that starting rotation they have there because there is still work to be done. Michael Pineda is a bad pitcher and losing Nathan Eovaldi to that devastating injury really hurts, but they are on the right track.