Saturday, September 12, 2015
WITH YOUTH COMES SUCCESS
I've said several times over the course of the year that when it comes to age, the Yankees roster looked more like a beer league softball team than it did an AL East contender. While the Bombers still have some older vets coming to the end of their contracts over the next 12-24 months, the youth movement has begun, and it was been successful overall!
If we start with the present, the two big pieces that have added to the Yankees success since the non-waiver trade deadline are most definitely Greg Bird and Luis Severino. Bird continued his success last Sunday with a huge three run bomb to give the Yankees the lead in which they would not relinquish. Bird has mashed five home runs and 17 RBIs so far.
Bird has shown a professional approach at the plate, making the pitchers work and showing good discipline. He has struck out quite a few times, but that is relatively normal for young power hitters. He is still getting his feet wet at the big league level after all.
With Mark Teixeira sidelined, Bird has not only filled in well at the dish, but also in the field. His defense has been as good as expected, perhaps better, and as a guy coming in to replace Tex, that's probably the most important thing he could have done.
Instead of trading for a starter, GM Brian Cashman decided it was time to acquire an arm from within when he brought up top prospect Luis Severino in early August. Severino really couldn't have done any better thus far. Minus last night's appearance, Severino has produced five quality starts in six tries going 3-2 with a 2.04 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. In 35.1 innings Severino has allowed just 28 hits and 14 walks while striking out 34.
It seems like this kid could be the real deal we've been waiting for! Us Yankees fans have been waiting and waiting for this kid, or any top prospect, to come up and pitch well. When was it going to be our turn to produce a Felix Hernandez or Jose Fernandez type starter? It's still very, very, very early, but I like what could be in the making.
On top of these young men, the Yankees have also showcased a couple other talented prospects who have had an impact on the team. Slade Heathcott did very well in his short stint with the big club batting .353 with a double, a home run and three runs driven over six games. Rob Refsnyder made a brief cameo and excited some people. He struggled down the stretch for Scranton but got his cup of coffee this year as he prepares to bring the fight for a roster spot in 2016.
Bryan Mitchell has thrown respectively and also recovered quickly after the scary scene a couple weeks ago that caused a nasal fracture. Jacob Lindgren got his cup of coffee as well. H didn't achieve the success he was hoping for but keep in mind he was less than 12 months removed from college baseball when he made his first appearance. Branden Pinder has done very well over 19 games, sporting a 2.70 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP as well.
On top of these real rookies, some young veterans have also stepped up. Dellin Betances has continued right where he left off in 2014. He has been ridiculous; 1.38 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 112 strikeouts in 71.2 innings.... Mic Drop.
Didi Gregorius has emerged as a legitimate shortstop with his offense improving immensely over the last few months and his defense becoming talked about league wide. He seems to make a terrific play daily look routine and has filled in for the Captain admirably at short. Even John Ryan Murphy is having a nice year for a backup catcher. His defense is always very good and it seems to me once a week or so he gets a big hit, whether it'd be to start a rally or drive in a couple guys. Other guys like Nathan Eovaldi, Michael Pineda and Mashahiro Tanaka, all relatively young and new to the organization, have been huge parts of the Yankees success so far.
I'm hoping this is just the beginning of things to come. With other prospects making their way up the minor league ranks (Aaron Judge, Eric Jagielo and Jorge Mateo to name a few), the organization has not been so deep in prospects in years. The Yankees need to produce another core group of players just like they did in the early 1990's to get the club rolling year in and year out.
I'm thinking we will look back at 2015 and 2016 as the years the Yankees started a new championship run with Greg Bird and Luis Severino leading the charge.
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