Monday, October 5, 2015

The New Core

A reputation is a hard thing to shake. Even after someone changes, their past seems to follow them around forever. It's no different in sports.

Just look at the NFL. The Bengals, my favorite NFL team, were a joke in the mid 2000s, with a new player getting arrested seemingly every week. Now, they rarely have any players with off-the-field issues. However, just watch the NFL Draft, and everytime someone with character concerns is in line to be drafted, they are connected to the Bengals because of their past draft choices.

For a long time, the Yankees traded away many of their top assets in order to help the Big League club. It left them with very few high-level prospects. Their farm system became a joke, and the butt of many jokes around baseball.

But that was a long time ago. They have not traded a top prospect since 2011, when Jesus Montero was sent to Seattle. However, he was sent for a young ace, Michael Pineda. He wasn't shipped off for some utility infielder at the trade deadline.

In fact, Brian Cashman has been very stingy about trading his upper-level prospects in recent years. Any deal involving a prospect now usually comes from a surplus. Yet, once the Yankees had some good prospects in AA and AAA this year, no one seemed to take it seriously because of the lack of help the Yankees had gotten from their farm in recent years.

Cashman held firm at the trade deadline, and the results are really starting to show.

The Yankees are playing in October this year in large part because of a young group of Yankees prospects who were thrust into a pennant race, and performed exceptionally well. In fact, they probably performed better than any deadline acquisition outside of Cespedes, Price, or Tulo.

Cashman said he would not trade Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Greg Bird, or Jorge Mateo. He actually was ready to include Mateo in a deal for Craig Kimbrel. Mateo was in A ball while the other three were in AAA. He could afford to lose a prospect that was a few years away from the Majors, but the Padres balked.

Right after the trade deadline (in which NY only acquired Dustin Ackley...again dealing from a surplus), Severino and Bird got their time to shine. Severino stepped right into the rotation and pitched 62 strong innings for the Yanks, finishing with a 2.89 ERA and 56 Ks. I'm not sure a a veteran pitcher would have done that for NY, yet here is a 21-year-old kid carrying the rotation down the stretch.

While Greg Bird was called up with Mark Teixeira still healthy, it didn't take long for him to be the everyday 1B after Teixeira got injured. The results? 11 HRs and 30 RBIs in 45 games. I'm not even sure Teixeira would have hit 11 more dingers for the rest of the season.

If the Yanks beat the Astros tomorrow night, there's a very real chance that Severino will get the ball in Game 1 or 2, while Greg Bird will undoubtedly be starting at first and hitting in the middle of the order.

But it doesn't stop there. John Ryan Murphy became one of the best backup catchers in baseball and is just 24. I'd have to imagine the Yanks might get some enticing offers from him in the off-season if they dangle him.

A slew of OFers and relievers also contributed all season long. As a prospect fan, it was gratifying to watch.

And to think, the Yankees most exciting prospect, Aaron Judge, is still waiting in the wings at AAA and should see ML time next season. Their top choice from this June's draft is a SP who should climb the ladder quickly next year as well.

It's an exciting time to be a Yankees fan. While a lot of the team gets older and their contracts come off the books, I'm really anticipating watching a new group of homegrown stars over the next few seasons.


  1. The winner of the wild card game could go a long way... I'm worried about Tanaka, with him throwing 90MPH, right over the plate. He seemed to be doing that a lot his last start. It'll be the Royals and Yankees, if they win the wild card game!

  2. It has been fun to watch the Yankees change philosophies. Sure they can spend more money than most teams, but now they are doing it more responsibly.

  3. Great post! Zippy Zappy recently left a comment about Bird, Severino and Refsnyder contributing on one of my trade posts. I replied that I was hoping that we were witnessing the start of another 'Core Four-type' situation. It is truly an exciting time to be a Yankees fan!

  4. All season long I've heard people say they want a New Core Four. Meanwhile I'm thinking they're all idiots for only wanting four (note, I want a Core-25!).

    This year the Yankees actually had depth at the higher levels that they didn't have in years past. I mean Gary Sanchez got his first MLB at bat the other day, you know that we're now in a new era.
    And it's only getting started. As I type there are at least two more waves of promising talent budding in the lower minors who (if it all works out, which it won't but we want to dream it will anyway) will make for a very good situation where we have too many good prospects and not enough teams or rosters to assign them to.