Yankees’ Editorial: The Bronx is Boiling


The Opening Day rosters are becoming clearer for the New York Yankees. A few last prospects and other non roster invitees are still in Tampa battling for the last few spots available on the 25-man roster. Many of the big name prospects have already been optioned to their respective Minor League camps.

Two of those prospects were Tyler Austin and Mason Williams. They will be heading to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Trenton respectively. Will this finally bring an end to the era of bad decisions by the New York Yankees? The Bronx is boiling and I need to blow some steam.


The Yankees had some bad drafts in the mid to late 2000s. Most of the draft picks that panned out from drafts prior to 2011, minus Dellin Betances, didn’t do so until they left the ranks of the Yankees system. Names like Ian Kennedy, Mark Melancon, and Phil Hughes all excelled once they left the bright lights of New York City and the mismanagement by the Yankees’ minor league influence. 

More from Yankees News

Austin and Williams end an era of bad decisions and hopefully this past time they were sent down will be the last. An era that consisted of picks like Austin Romine, Slade Heathcott, and Andrew Brackman highlight a time of “elite” draft picks that don’t seem like they will ever make an impact at the big league level.

Williams was actually the top prospect in the Yankees system three seasons ago. He has done nothing but regress over the past two seasons and will be starting yet again in Double-A.

Last season, Williams slashed a horrid .223/.290/.304 line. Those are hardly the numbers the Yankees want to see from the supposed leadoff hitter of their future. Williams has been surpassed by post 2010 draft picks Taylor Dugas and Jake Cave in the system, so much so that the career centerfielder has been learning new positions.

The Yankees inexplicably added Williams to the 40-man roster this off-season, protecting him from the Rule 5 Draft and inviting him to spring training. In Williams defense, he had a fantastic spring slashing .357/.412/.714 over 14 at bats. Four of his five hits went for extra bases thanks to his speed. But obviously, that wasn’t enough for the Yankees’ brass to think he was ready for his first licks in Triple-A.

Austin was a the Yankees Minor League Player of the Year in 2012 and has not been able to stay healthy since then. He is a guy you want to root for as a Yankees fan, battling testicular cancer in high school to become a 13th round draft pick by the Bronx Bombers. But he has made it progressively harder each season to think that breakout is coming for the 23-year old utility man.

2013 saw Austin regress from his Prospect of the Year season, again, mostly due to injury. Known as a player can hit for average with modest 15 to 18 home run pop, Austin hasn’t approached those numbers in two seasons.

A late season surge in 2014, when he slashed .302/.353/.483 with six home runs in July and August salvaged what appeared to be another down year. He still didn’t come near his 2012 output. Austin started off strongly in the Arizona Fall League, only to get injured and shut down after four appearances.

It’s not that they are worthless prospects and should be cut loose. They provide depth throughout the system. Starting in 2011, with Greg Bird and Cave, the Yankees have begun to make sounder draft choices. Austin and Williams represent the top prospects of an era of Yankees baseball where there were little to choose from.

Now, especially after 2013’s splash with Aaron Judge, Ian Clarkin, Eric Jagielo and even Jaron Long, the Yankees have actual “top” prospects. Austin, Williams and Romine are amongst the last remnants of an era of bad decisions. It’s time to move forward and admit that they may never see the big leagues. And that’s okay.

More from Yanks Go Yard