Monday, January 5, 2015

I Can't Contain My Excitement

In the past I haven't been the biggest fan of prospects. I've said it's nice to have them, but not at the expense of winning. I thought this especially true in the Yankees case, because they have the money to keep passing out large contracts to stars like Masahiro Tanaka, or solid players like Chase Headley. Sprinkle in a youngster like Brett Gardner every once in a while, and the team was just fine.

However, today, I'm singing a new tune. The Yankees passed on Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, and Jon Lester. They don't seem to be in on Max Scherzer, either. Instead they dealt for a young, work-in-progress, Didi Gregorius to replace the legendary Captain Derek Jeter. Instead of giving out a large contract to get a star pitcher, they traded for another youngster in Nathan Eovaldi. And instead of sticking with Martin Prado to play second base, the team has decided to give the job to either Jose Pirela or Rob Refsnyder. And while Gregorius, Eovaldi, nor Pirela/Refsnyder are exciting names, I'm excited as a fan.

For the first time since the early 90s, it looks like the Yankees are trying to build another dynasty instead of buying one. We're going into next season, not with World Series expectations, but with uncertainty about what will happen. That doesn't sound good, but as a fan it's great.

I feel the same way about the Ohio State Buckeyes' football team. Going into their semi-final game against Alabama last week, I wasn't expecting a win, I was just hoping they played well. Gone was the pressure of being the favorite, meaning a loss would be more devastating than it already would have been. I didn't have to worry about screwing up and losing the game, I just sat there and rooted them on. Now I'm going to have that feeling for the entire 2015 MLB season... and I can't wait.

Getting back to the Yankees, the interesting youngsters don't stop with Gregorius, Eovaldi, Pirela, and Refsnyder, as the bullpen is full of them... Dellin Betances won't be eligible for free agency until 2020, Justin Wilson will be under team control through the 2018 season, Chasen Shreve won't make big money until at least 2021, and we may see prospect Jacob Lindgren in 2015 as well.

Along with young Nathan Eovaldi in the rotation, remember that Michael Pineda will only be 26 in a couple of weeks, Bryan Mitchell will likely get a shot as a starter, and the Yankees' top prospect (in the opinion of Baseball America) Luis Severino could join the big club soon. Oh, and Ian Clarkin has gotten plenty of love too.

The youth movement goes even further. Along with kids like Gregorius, Pirela, and Refsnyder, the Yankees have the MVP of the Arizona Fall League, 1B Greg Bird. By the way, Bird is the third ranked positional player prospect (again, according to Baseball America) behind OF Aaron Judge and SS Jorge Mateo. Following Bird on that list is Gary Sanchez, who could very well be the guy that solidifies the catcher spot once McCann's contract ends.

One thing you may notice here is that the Yankees seem to have too much in terms of prospects. Well, maybe I shouldn't say "too much", as you can never have too much of a good thing. What I should say is that top prospects like Jorge Mateo could turn into trade fodder soon. John Ryan Murphy, or the aforementioned Gary Sanchez, may find themselves being traded. If Severino reaches his potential and joins Tanaka and Pineda at the top of the rotation, that could mean Clarkin and/or Mitchell is dealt away. The point here is that the Yankees have enough young talent that they could pull off a few youngster-for-veteran trades and still have a strong young core.

Throw all of that on top of questions regarding the veterans, such as Brian McCann bouncing back, Beltran returning to All Star form, Sabathia's knee holding up, Tanaka's elbow not snapping, and you have the makings of a team that's going to be incredibly exciting to watch and root for in 2015 and beyond.

Could all of this blow up in our faces? Sure. Didi may never get his batting average over .230, Eovaldi could go back to his pre-2014 ways and walk too many batters, both Pirela and Refsnyder may be busts, Brian McCann may never make another All Star game... the list goes on. But what we have now, in my opinion, is a lot more fun than going into the season saying "if we don't win the World Series this season will suck."


  1. BRYAN.....nice article. Very eclectic, you covered a lot of ground.

  2. I wanna know what your gf did with my Bryan Van Dusen.

  3. Best synopsis I have seen yet, Bryan!
    Only bad thing about it is...I wish, I could write as well as you did, and get the point across as well!

    The Yankee fans will need a whole NEW mind set for the next couple/few years, and hopefully come to enjoy the NEW...New YorkYankees!

    The die in the wool Yankee fans will welcome the change, if they can see results and a light at the end, is the Gold Ring, FANS!

    Bravo, Bryan!

  4. Thanks, guys. If only I had time to write more. Then again, if I did that, I may expose my flaws. As if there are any. LOL


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