Source: Kim Klement | USA TODAY Sports
I am drawn toward individuals who exhibit what University of Pennsylvania professor and researcher Dr. Angela Duckworth defines as grit. "Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it's a marathon, not a sprint." And in baseball, this means that the athlete who has grit is someone that educational leader Corey Radisch says avoids three very specific fears that hinder success. "Fear of failure, fear of criticism, and fear of hard work."
Source: Associated Press
According to CBS New York, "The Yankees may not be able to buy championships — not that they ever did, aside from 2009 — but they cut some fat, traded some high-end talent and spread some seed across what’s now the most fertile farm system in the game." But as the article quickly points out before you can crack an optimistic smile across your winter-scorned face, "Kudos to beleaguered general manager Brian Cashman, who gets no credit when the club wins and all the blame when they lose. The Yankees are not quite ready for prime time, as they smooth the fur of their young colts and address the ultimate baseball axiom: Pitching wins championships."
Source: CBS New York
We may have gritty players on the field, willing to sprint and dive for extra base hits, punch clutch situational hits into the gap and run down smoking line drives, but we are lacking depth, endurance and grit up on the hill. "We know the Yankees have a decent lineup, if healthy, and a nuclear bullpen that will shut an iron door down after the seventh inning. They just don’t have nearly enough starting arms to get them the ball."
Source: The New Yorker
So how do we build the grit in our young pitching staff without over extending their arms and without worrying about the three iconic failures that hinder success? Well, I hate to say this but we may need to look at the Mets' track record in the pitching column. "The Mets’ rotation is the envy of the sport, a conveyer belt of 20-somethings who throw gas. And unlike the Yankees, whose season hangs on the once-torn elbow of Tanaka, the Mets can lose Matt Harvey and still trot out Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. And if Harvey returns to 2014 form in 2017, then the Mets will win 90-plus games by default. Which leaves the Amazins twice as likely to win the World Series, a 12-to-1 shot, according to Westgate." We are talking young arms, cheap arms, identified by scouts, signed, groomed and coached for success. We need a better eye for these kinds of pitchers and we need the gritty pitching coaches to mentor them. We just don't have the right guys in the right places to do this work. And we need them, fast.
And all this talk about trading prospects Clint Frazier and Jorge Mateo is utterly ridiculous. According to an article in NJ.com, "White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana can change everything. Get him and the Yankees can be a playoff team, maybe even win the AL East if favorite Boston doesn't get anything this season from ailing ace David Price." Not at the price of losing our youth. Not at that price at all. If we can recruit guys like Frazier, Mateo, Blake Rutherford, Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez than why can't we do the same when it comes to identifying the best in young pitching and mentor them to grow and sustain success?
BYB Managing Editor