Monday, February 22, 2016

Prospects Month ICYMI: Yankees to have the Rookie of the Year in 2016?

The New York Yankees have had eight Rookie of the Year Award winners in their storied history that has spanned over 115 years. The Yankees haven't had one since that magical 1996 season when Derek Jeter came up from Triple-A and led the team to their first World Series championship of my lifetime joining big names like Gil McDougald, Bob Grim, Tony Kubek, Tom Tresh, Stan Bahnsen, Thurman Munson and Dave Righetti as Yankees to win the award. I guess you could say the Yankees are due to have a player win the award soon, will it happen in 2016?

Looking at the potential list of rookies that could win the sward for New York next season you have to wonder if any of them will get enough playing time in the Bronx. The difference between a lot of current Yankees prospects and Jeter in 1996 or Carlos Correa in 2015 is every day playing time. Barring an injury or an unforeseen trade I can't see enough playing time for the Baby Bombers. Injuries cannot be predicted though so here are the list of potential Rookie of the Year Award candidates heading into the 2016 season.

The Yankees are one Starlin Castro injury away from re-opening the book on the shelf labeled Robert Refsnyder. If the past is any indicator of the future this is the only way Refsnyder is going to get into the Yankees lineup so I wouldn't call your local bookie and put a bet on Refsnyder just yet.

Gary Sanchez is expected to be the team's backup catcher in 2016 but he will presumably be used elsewhere as well. I have said many times that the Yankees could add Sanchez's right-handed power in the lineup at the DH position to give Alex Rodriguez a day off to keep him fresh for the second half and it also wouldn't be out of the realm of possibilities for Sanchez to learn first base as wel. John Ryan Murphy was learning the position before he was traded so why not Sanchez? He may actually get enough at bats to make a difference, especially if the team wants to take some of the load off Brian McCann behind the dish.

Aaron Judge will likely start the season back down in Triple-A but he is one knee or elbow injury away from presumably being in the Major Leagues. The bad news for Judge is that Aaron Hicks can play any position in the outfield and would likely get the starting job, the good news for Judge though for lack of a better word is that the Yankees outfield has become injury prone all of a sudden with age. Judge may get plenty of opportunities and he may not get a single at bat. It's hard to tell with the Yankees organization.

Jacob Lindgren, the forgotten one, may also win the award and may get enough opportunities to do so in a wide-open Yankees bullpen. Lindgren was drafted with the team's first overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft and he made his MLB debut last season before an elbow injury ended his campaign a bit prematurely. Lindgren could start the season in the bullpen and could stick there all season long bridging the gap from the starter to the three-headed monster in the Yankees bullpen.

The final potential Yankees ROY Award nominee is basically the only Yankees starting pitching option other than Bryan Mitchell and whoever loses out on the spring training competition, James Kaprielian. Kaprielian was drafted out of college in the 2015 MLB Draft and is expected to be a fast mover through the Yankees system in 2016. The problem for Kaprielian is that he probably won't be up before July and that will likely limit any chance to win the award unfortunately.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)