Wednesday, November 13, 2013

All Home Grown Yankees Team - The Positional Players

Continuing with our look at the Yankees all home grown team from the last 20 years or so we look at the positional players the Yankees have brought through their system. I wanna start off by apologizing to the likes of Shelley Duncan, Corban Joseph, Ramiro Pena, Francisco Cervelli, JR Murphy, and Austin Romine for not making this list. Let's take a look at the guys that did make the list for the best home grown positional players that the Yankees have developed in recent memory. 

1B: Don Mattingly
2B: Robinson Cano
SS: Derek Jeter
3B: Eduardo Nunez
LF: Austin Jackson
CF: Bernie Williams
RF: Alfonso Soriano
C: Jorge Posada
DH: Nick Johnson

Obviously I stretched the "20 years" mandate a little bit for Donnie Baseball here as he made his major league debut in 1982. I felt compelled to use him because, I mean besides the fact that he is Don Mattingly, he was right on the cusp of the cour four era. Granted I guess you could say him retiring ended the George Steinbrenner going bat sh*t crazy era and started the dynasty era but that's what makes owning your own site a great thing, you do what you want. All along I said the last "20 years or so" and this man was why.

Robinson Cano is likely to finish as one of the best second basemen in all of baseball after coming up in 2005 from the Yankees system. Cano is already making a case for beating out Joe Gordon, Bill Dickey, and Tony Lazzeri as the best Yankees second basemen in their very storied history whether he leaves town or not this off season as a free agent.

Derek Jeter is the greatest Yankees short stop in their history, no disrespect to Phil Rizzuto, and the greatest captain in their history. A short list of captains includes Don Mattingly, Willie Randolph, Ron Guidry, Thurman Munson, and Babe Ruth to name a few so that is really saying something. The piece of five World Series championships and the first Yankees to ever reach the 3000 hit mark makes Jeter a mainstay on all these lists.

I included Eduardo Nunez as the third basemen after spending a good chunk of time towards the end of the 2013 season at the hot corner. I also think that he will be our Opening Day third basemen in 2014 if Alex Rodriguez gets suspended like we all think he will. I also feel obligated to mention that the Yankees have not had much in the way of home grown third basemen in their history, especially in the last 20 years or so.

Austin Jackson is a center fielder but is way too good to be included on the bench so I am slotting him in left field for this list. Jackson has excelled as a center fielder both with the bat and in the field for the Tigers after being traded in the deal that brought the Yankees Curtis Granderson. Jackson is also one of the best lead off hitters in the game and brings a speed on the base paths that kills other teams catchers and pitchers.

Brett Gardner has been disrespected ever since he came into the game having to split time with Melky Cabrera, riding the bench as a part time player, and people like myself even clamored for the likes of Manny Ramirez on the team over him in 2009. I can admit when I am wrong, and I like being wrong because it was the whole Manny Ramirez as a free agent thing that gave us the name The Greed Pinstripes, as Gardner has been a mainstay at the top of the Yankees lineup and in center field since being given the full time job.

Bernie Williams was not included in the Cour Four for obvious reasons, although I think that he ultimately should have been, including having coming up in the early 90's and not the 95-96 calendar year and not having a World Series ring in 2009. Bernie was still the beef in the middle of the lineup, the best defender we had in center field, and a great clubhouse leader that was part of four of the five Yankees championships. Jeter, Mo, Posada, and Andy or not we do not win a couple of those World Series without Bernie, bottom line.

Alfonso Soriano came through the Yankees system after being signed out of Japan in the 2002 season and quickly burst onto the scene making a run at being a 40/40 player. Soriano hit lead off home run after lead off home run in 2003 before being traded to the Texas Rangers for Alex Rodriguez. Soriano has bounced around a bit and has even moved position to the outfield but is back with the Yankees for the 2014 season and had to be a part of this list.

Jorge Posada came up with the Yankees during the 1995 season and was on the bench for the 1996 World Series championship run. Although he really did not catch on with the Yankees as a back up until 1997 and did not start full time until the 1998 season. Even with all that said Posada is part of the cour four and has five World Series championships after spending time as a second basemen for much of his minor league time.

Finally we finish the list with Nick Johnson as the Yankees DH after being drafted by New York in the 1996 draft. Nick was brought up to play first base but injuries forced Johnson to be more of the DH only type with the Yankees, Indians, and Orioles. Nick was traded to the Expos for Javier Vazquez the first time and came back to New York in 2010 before missing most of the season with another injury. Nick was always coveted for his patience at the plate, high walk numbers, home run swing, and open and unique stance at the plate.

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