Tuesday, June 25, 2013


(In Photo: Zoilo Almonte)
Last month I wrote an article titled MAKING THE MOST OF AN OPPORTUNITY.   It focused on the success rookie pitcher Preston Claiborne had when called up to the big league club to take the place of an injured (at the time) Joba Chamberlain.

Claiborne pitched “lights out” when given the chance, and he has become an integral part of the bullpen.

Now we have Zoilo Almonte.  The 24 year-old Dominican was called up to give a tiring (and slumping) Vernon Wells some time off in left field.

A funny thing happened to that plan.  Rather than play a backup role to Wells, the phenom has become the starter in left field the last three games.

Almonte has shown that the promise he gave us a glimpse of this past spring was no fluke.  As of this writing, the youngster is hitting .583 with a 1.000 slugging percentage in five games.  In the three starts he is six for ten with a home run, two doubles and four RBI.

It’s going to be tough for the team to send him back to Triple A.  In fact, the team would be CRAZY to send him back to Triple A.  He has injected new life into a sluggish offense and has been flawless in the field.

His presence may have benefited Wells too.  In his first AB as Almonte’s backup, the veteran outfielder laced a bases-clearing double to right center while coming off the bench as a pinch hitter.  It was the deciding factor in a victory over the Rays this past weekend.

For a guy who has had one multi-hit game since May 13th it was his first RBI in June.
(In Photo: David Adams)
Almonte and Claiborne aren’t the only success stories for “Baby Bombers”.  David Adams has played a sparkling third base in the wake of Kevin Youkilis’s injury and ARod’s absence.

Yes Yankee fans, we have a future.

As 2013 shapes up it has become clear that we need to trust some of the talent we have in our minor league system.  Claiborne, Almonte, and Adams are proof of that.

Rather than signing a 30-something player who is in the twilight of his career to a one-year contract, let’s forgo the “they still have options left so we should keep them in the minors” mentality and trust our instincts.

(In Photo: Preston Claiborne)
These youngsters are part of our organization for a reason and each one of them is hungry for the chance to show what they can do at the major league level.

If anything, it will give us fans something exciting to watch as well as a picture of what our team will look like a few years down the road.

I like what I’ve seen so far and look forward to the seasons to come.  In the meantime, let’s let the new energy of the up-and-coming players carry us as far as it can.  It might just be a lot farther than you think.

--Steve Skinner, BYB Guest Writer
Twitter: @oswegos1


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