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Dustin Fowler continues to open eyes in Yankees training camp. As a center fielder, he looms as a potential successor for the King of the DL, Jacoby Ellsbury.
Fowler is currently ranked as the #9 prospect on MLB.com's list of Top 30 Yankees Prospects.
It's almost been a given that shortstop Jorge Mateo will eventually be moved to center field to make way for the superior play and leadership of top prospect Gleyber Torres. Yet, here is Fowler saying "Whoa, wait a minute!".
We hear so much about the prospects acquired by the Yankees last summer which elevated the organization to the best or second best farm system depending upon whom you ask. The homegrown Yankees seem to get lost in the shuffle. I've quietly heard Fowler's name for several years. He was drafted in the 18th round of the 2013 Draft. The Yankees paid him $278,000 to forego his letter of intent for Georgia Southern University.
Fowler opened eyes last year at AA Trenton with 12 HR, 88 RBI, and .281 BA. He also stole 25 bags. A lefty, the 22-year-old Georgia native is viewed as a potential 5-tool player if his power continues to develop. It would make more sense to keep Fowler in center than to move Mateo there unless one of the two is moved in a potential trade.
Fowler is an interesting player. He has improved each year and is pushing his potential much higher than an 18th round pick. Kudos to the Yankees scouts who discovered him. High school kids are incredibly hard to forecast. But here's a kid that has already exceeded expectations.
It's very possible that Fowler could be the player the Yankees were seeking when they invested 7 years and $153 million in DL's-bury. I don't think Ellsbury will make it to the end of his contract with the Yankees (I know, a statement of the obvious). The question is when and how much will it cost the team to unload the disappointment.
Fowler leads me to envision this possible future lineup:
This lineup may never materialize but it looks good on paper, in my opinion. Most likely, Didi Gregorius stays at short, Torres is moved to second, and Starlin Castro goes to third. Another speculated path would put Bryce Harper in the outfield and/or Manny Machado at third. Regardless of what happens, Fowler (at some point in the future) looks excellent in center regardless of who surrounds him.
So, here's hoping Fowler's journey leads him to the vast area in center at Yankee Stadium. And Jacoby Ellsbury? Don't let the door hit you on the way out…
Former Yankees pitcher Caleb Cotham has retired. He was part of the package that went to the Cincinnati Reds in the trade for Aroldis Chapman. He had been part of the Yankees bullpen in 2015 before the trade after a very productive year in the minors. Only 29, he posted on Tweeter that he is “no longer willing to pay the emotional/physical price to rehab/play at the highest level”. After being removed from the Reds’ 40-man roster last fall, he had recently signed a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners. I wish him the very best with his post-playing career.
Naturally, on a day I chose to pick on Jacoby Ellsbury, he hits like he is supposed to. In yesterday’s spring game against Atlanta, Ellsbury went 3-for-3 with 2 stolen bases. It’s just a facade. He’ll trip and land on the DL tomorrow. Fowler also made a difference. He walked in the 6th, after replacing Brett Gardner, with the bases loaded to force in a run. He scored later in the 6-run 6th inning on a Clint Frazier groundout. He also tripled in the 9th. After jumping ahead 7-2, the Yankees held on to beat the Braves, 8-7.
They move to 11-3 for the Spring.
I know this is a Yankees blog but I have to run a little off-topic. Okay, a lot off topic. So if you are interested in Yankees talk only, please quit reading.
I am very excited about the upcoming Sons of Anarchy spinoff pilot called Mayans MC. Developed by Kurt Sutter and Elgin James, Mayans MC occurs in the same universe or mythology as Sons of Anarchy but after Jax Teller's death.
The Mayans were originally adversaries and eventually allies for the Sons of Anarchy MC, Redwood Originals charter. The Mayans (Oakland/Northern CA charter) were led by Marcus Alvarez (played by Emilio Rivera). In the new story, Alvarez is the Founder and National President of the Mayans Motorcycle Club. But the focus will be on the Santo Padre charter on the Mexi-Cali border. The charter President is Esai "Taino" Osorio (John Ortiz), a cousin to Alvarez.
The protagonist is a young prospect named Ezekiel "EZ" Reyes (played by JD Pardo). According to the press release, EZ is the gifted son of a proud Latino family, whose American Dream is snuffed out by Cartel violence. Now, his need for vengeance drives him toward a life he never intended and can never escape.
Edward James Olmos plays EZ's father, Felipe, and Clayton Cardenas plays his brother Angel, a full patch member of the MC.
Other cast members include Antonio Jaramillo as Michael "Riz" Ariza, Vice President of the Santo Padre charter, and Richard Cabral as Johnny "El Coco" Cruz, a full patch member. The release for the Cruz character tells of an Army sharpshooter who once shot a cigar out of his Sergeant's mouth from a half mile away...while stoned. Irish actress Sarah Bolger has joined the cast as the first female regular. She’ll play Emily, the beautiful “guera” next door and childhood sweetheart of EZ. Per the release: But when Romeo departed, this Juliet didn’t unsheathe the dagger, she traded it in for diamond studs and a mansion on the hill.
Filming of the Pilot takes place this month in Los Angeles. There is no word yet if FX Network will pick up Mayans MC for its fall lineup. This is an exceptional cast with an incredible story to tell. I am excited about the potential of the show and want to do my part to promote it.
Kurt Sutter is a genius with this genre as evidenced by Sons of Anarchy. Charlie Hunnam might not be in this potential new series but I am sure JD Pardo and his new castmates will rise to the challenge.
Have a great Friday!