Yankees Spring Training: The Baby Bombers Are Alright
By Robert Husby
The Yankees’ first Spring Training game of the 2017 season is in the books. The youngsters were a main driving force behind their offense.
The Yankees’ Young Pitchers Took A Big Step
The Yankees started 25-year-old righty Bryan Mitchell for the first two innings of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies. He had one strikeout, giving up no hits and no runs. He also gave up no walks. From the small sample size, Mitchell showed some good stuff. If he keeps this up for the duration of Spring Training, look for him to be in the bottom of the starting rotation.
Another standout was 24-year-old Luis Cessa. He also pitched two innings like Mitchell, giving up no walks, runs, or hits. He struck out two batters as well. Cessa’s relief pitching showed great promise and may very well be an option for the bullpen down the road should he keep pitching like this.
There was also two standouts for the wrong reasons in pitchers Jordan Montgomery and Giovanny Gallegos. Montgomery, 24, pitched two innings giving up two runs on only two hits. These were the first two runs and hits the Yankees gave up in the game.
Gallegos only pitched the 9th inning, giving up two home runs and three hits. It’s very possible they continue seeing time to improve and showcase what they have. Gallegos should be given some slack as this was his Spring Training debut.
The Young Hitters Also Fared Well
Didi Gregorius would start off the Yankees scoring when he hit a solo homer to right in the bottom of the first. The Yankees went without any more runs until the 5th when strikeout specialist Aaron Judge assassinated a ball to left that hit the scoreboard. Although Judge did strikeout in his other at-bat, I think it’s safe to say he has some massive power when he connects with the ball, which is promising.
Judge’s homer seemingly opened the floodgates as the very next inning saw third baseman Miguel Andujar triple to right, which drove in Ruben Tejada and eventually Andujar after a throwing error. Gleyber Torres also came into the game where he hit a sacrifice fly while bringing in a runner to score.
Dustin Fowler was the second of three batters to hit a triple, where he eventually scored. In his very first at-bat, backup catcher Kyle Higashioka hit his very first home run of Spring Training to left field. In the 8th, highly-acclaimed prospect Clint Frazier, who struck out earlier, hit a triple driving in Andujar and Tejada. Rob Refsnyder also saw some time in the game taking Judge’s spot in right, where he singled and drove in Frazier. The youngsters accounted for much of the offense of the day and showed how the Yankees’ future is indeed bright.
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Gary Sanchez, unfortunately, was a lower point for the day. He had three at-bats which were the most anyone had for the game besides Gregorius. Sanchez struck out and was not able to get on base. Another lower point was Greg Bird. While he performed well defensively, Bird struck out in the first and was able to walk in the 4th before being replaced by newcomer Ji-Man Choi. There is, of course, still plenty of time for Sanchez and Bird to make an impact and show their real talent in the coming games.
What To Expect Going Forward
It’s safe to say the Yankees put on quite the offensive show for their first Spring Training game of 2017. They were able to showcase many of the young prospects they have in the system.
Youngsters being able to come in and hit three triples as well as two of the three home runs is very much a positive. Should the Yankees offense be as potent as it was in this game, the path going forward is in the right direction. There will clearly be times where both the young pitchers and hitters struggle, but that’s a large part of growing pains.
Nevertheless, it’s certainly a sign the Yankees have a deep prospect pool and potentially a significant amount of options when it comes to starting and bullpen pitching as well as batting.