23 Aug The Yankees: “The Baby Bombers” – ROTY Candidates?
By: Lou Landers
Early Season Struggles:
It was a disappointing start to 2016 for Yankees. The offense was non existent and starting pitchers Michael Pineda and Luis Severino couldn’t seem to get any body out. The team has still not been able to dig themselves out of the hole they dug in April. They are mathematically still in the playoff hunt which is exciting if you’re a fan of the ball club, yet I wonder if management is more concerned with trying to win in 2017 and beyond rather than this season.
If you follow MLB at all, you already know that at the trade deadline the Yankees traded away highly paid veterans for a wealth of young and talented prospects. They also released Alex Rodriguez and are rarely playing Mark Teixeira since Tex announced that he will be retiring at seasons end.
Since all of these announcements and moves by the team, the offense has been better than it has all season long. This is of course thanks to “The Baby Bombers”. Since the trade deadline, top prospects C Gary Sanchez, RF Aaron Judge and 1B/RF Tyler Austin have become every day players and the Yankees are scoring more than 5 runs per game.
Sanchez has had the most impact to the lineup so far. Not only has he thrown out over 60% of potential base stealers but he also already has 8 HR in his first 3 weeks of MLB. He is coming off winning AL Player of the week and followed that up with a 2 HR performance on Monday night in Seattle. Is it possible for him to win ROTY even though he wont even play 2 full months?
September & The Offseason:
When the rosters expand to 40 in September the baseball world may be introduced to some additional “Baby Bombers”. The 2 biggest names to look out for are Clint Frazier (acquired from Cleveland in the Andrew Miller Trade) and Gleyber Torres (acquired from Chicago in Chapman Trade). It is possible that Torres doesn’t see big league pitchers until spring training 2017, however Frazier is MLB ready and could be given a September 2016 audition to be a starting outfielder in 2017. He is pictured below and is another big powerful right handed bat to join Sanchez and Judge.
If Frazier does indeed shine at the big league level and earns himself a spot on the big league roster, what does this mean for a couple of other Yankees veterans? Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury are practically the exact same type of player at this stage of their careers and the Yankees really don’t need both in the lineup every day.
It is to my understanding that the Yankees like Gardner more as a player but they also know that he has more value than Ellsbury on the trade market due to Ellsbury’s enormous cap hit. Will the Yankees considering moving one if not both of these guys this off season?
Regardless of what they do decide with some of their veterans, it certainly appears that the future is bright for the Yankees. Players like Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro have also established themselves are very solid major leaguers and the Yankees will be counting on them in future seasons.