After a strong start to the 2013 season, the Yankees are starting to slow down. While the Yankees are 8 games above .500 with a 41-33 record, the victories have not been dominating wins. The pitching has been strong, but the offense has been hitting like a farm team. Which leads to the point of the article: where are the Yankees prospects?
Yes, there have been players called up this year. David Adams, Preston Claiborne, Vidal Nuno, and Austin Romine represent a few of the rookies who have spent some time in the show, and for the most part, they have played decently. However, these players probably won’t be the reincarnation of the Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada quartet (the roles are somewhat similar if you want to compare).
Every World Series won by the Yankees has been led by a homegrown star, such as the aforementioned four. For good measure, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Thurman Munson, and Ron Guidry were all brought to the major leagues by the Bronx Bombers. Where are players like that?
Those players come from drafts. Of course, the number 1 pick could be worse than the number 100 pick. But, it seems that the Yankees much rather cover problems that fix problems. Within the last few years, General Manager Brian Cashman has thrown money at players who solve problems for one year, and not five years. Some of his investments include Andruw Jones, Kevin Youkilis (I thought he was overrated), Marcus Thames, Nick Johnson; all players past their prime who were expected to at least compete for a starting job, and none of those moves really worked out. Veterans provide valuable experience and many can still play at a high level, but a team comprised of forty-year old men only win championships on the movies.
Older players have trouble staying healthy for an entire season. This season proves it. The disabled list includes Curtis Granderson (32), Mark Teixeira (33), Kevin Youkilis (34), Alex Rodriguez (37), and Derek Jeter (38), all players who were great, and still have the ability to play ball, but have had injuries. Cashman brought in 36 year-olds Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay as replacements, but they don’t appear to be long-term players. Even the current lineup is fairly aged; Brett Gardner is the youngest starter at 29 years of age. Age is not an issue unless it inhibits an athlete’s ability to play, and it has.
What the Yankees need to do is scout players, whether they be amateurs or minor leaguers on other teams. The San Francisco Giants, last year’s champions, won with players they raised themselves, like Buster Posey. Except for Gardner, Adams, Romine, and Robinson Cano, the offense has been bought. The Yankees need to develop young players in order to become a hitting force again.
Meanwhile, the pitching has not been bad, and looks to stay strong for the next few years. C.C. Sabathia is 32, Phil Hughes is 27, and David Robertson and Preston Claiborne are both young enough to continue closing games after Mariano Rivera retires. So far this year, the pitching has carried the team. The Yankees need to become a combination of youth and experience in order to compete consistently for the next few years.