The secret weapon is a weapon of unexpected design. Simply stated the secret weapon is something you own as an individual or perhaps organization that gives someone or something a competitive advantage. For organizations, many say data are the secret weapons that drive decision-making and the next best marketing stint. For baseball teams, they are the unexpected successes stemming from individuals who quietly bring something lethal to their opponents. We have a number of them on our team right now, but I would like to focus on three secret weapons, which have just revealed their uniqueness to us in the last few weeks.
Some may say that Ichiro is no secret as we have always known his worth but I say not so fast. As a starter, Ichiro has had an amazing career, which he has no intention on ending anytime soon despite his age. Ichiro turned 40 during the off season. But now, Ichiro is taking on a new role, and he may be more valuable in his undesignated position in the lineup than ever before.
“There would be days when Ichiro would come off the bench as a pinch-hitter or be used to pinch-run, and manager Joe Girardi knew that he could count on Ichiro as a stellar defensive replacement. It was a puzzle how often, and when, Ichiro would be needed to start,” stated Bryan Hoch in a MLB.com article last week. “"His at-bats have been outstanding," Girardi said. "It's a nice weapon to have. He's done a really good job." Ichiro is not only lethal in the lineup, but he is the kind of guy you want around your clubhouse.
He is quietly classy, professional and hardworking- the right formula for secret success weapon for any battling baseball team. He has muscled his way back into the lineup and in my opinion, he belongs there, regularly.
I have watched this guy quietly strike out batter after batter for years. Now he’s up here as a valuable member of our bullpen and he is doing the same thing. “Dellin Betances is making his presence felt out of the Yankees' bullpen, offering manager Joe Girardi an electric option for tight situations when a strikeout is needed,” stated Hoch in the same article. “"I believe in myself and I trust that if I'm out there throwing strikes, I can do the job. I just try to go out there and attack, that's my mentality,” said Betances.
Although he has been touted as a starter, the guy is unstoppable in the bullpen. His two lethal pitches are the high-octane fastball and nasty curve ball, which have improved his pitching performances and nailed more than fifty percent of the batters he has faced this season. He is tall, lean and throws incredible heat- a secret weapon the Yankees didn’t know they could have after Rivera retired last season.
Another hot prospect homegrown from the Yankee farm system. He is batting over .400 this season and has been clutch in a number of wins recently. He gives the Yankees choices in both a good defensive young catcher and a slugger offensively.
The Yankees are primed for a couple of good weeks of baseball because of the way guys like Murphy have stepped in when needed. He’s a little raw and new, but he’s out there swinging the bat and taking risks. He is a delight to watch and a sight for sore eyes.
Often we get caught up in the injuries and forget about secret weapons like Ichiro Suzuki, Dellin Betances and JR Murphy. I also would like to say, although not a secret weapon, but certainly an obvious but often overlooked weapon is Brett Gardner. Many said he would be great trade bait and perhaps unnecessary given the number of outfielders in the system. I never gave into those theories.
As a matter of fact, I think he has more depth than Jacoby Ellsbury any day of the week. I have not only deemed him the best athlete on the team, but he is the one with the most grit. Nothing secret about that for Gardy, but worth stating as we look to guys like him to help us turn losses into wins.
We have a lot of secret and perhaps obvious weapons on our team this year. Let’s let set them off and see where they take us. My hope, deep into October with a postseason we will not soon forget.
--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Opinion Columnist
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