Yankees: What’s The View Like From Triple-A Scranton (Vol.1)


The Yankees soon will be shipping a virtual All-Star team to their Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre team. Which raises an interesting question; What’s the view like from there as the Railraiders get ready for 2017?

The Yankees will be splitting the remaining cuts they need to make to comply with the 25-man rule before the season begins on April 2. The “heavy hitters” in their minor league system will wind up playing for manager Al Pedrique‘s Railraiders at the Triple-A level to begin the season.

This column has already named Pedrique, the most notable non-roster player in the Yankees organization. And that’s because it will be his job to nurture, teach, and in some cases, coddle the egos of the players who will enter his clubhouse in a few days.

For most of us, our attention will remain focused on the team that takes the field in the Bronx when the regular season begins. But, a significant part of the Yankees story in 2017 will be what happens with the players who are sent down over the course of the season.

Yanks Go Yard Will Keep You In Touch

And so, for that reason, I will maintain contact with the writers who report on the Railraiders for the local paper in the area, the Times-Tribune so readers can keep in touch with the team that plays away, but ever so close, from the spotlight in the Bronx.

The first report in the series focuses on what the view is for the upcoming season through the eyes of Al Pedrique, the manager of the Railraiders as he prepares for the onslaught of talent that is about to come his way.

All quotes that follow are attributed to what, Staff Writer, Shane Hennigan has gathered from Pedrique and other sources.

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Some Background, First

The Railraiders, in their own right, are not new to being in the spotlight.  In 2016, they finished their season by winning the Triple-A National Championship. Much like the Yankees, they have a winning tradition, and they’ll be defending that title in 2017.

Pedrique himself is best characterized as a baseball lifer. He played his last game in the major leagues on June 21, 1989, for the Detroit Tigers. He went 0-3 in a loss to the Oakland A’s at the tender age of 28.

Since then, he has been on a path in the Yankees organization leading him to a position at the very top of their minor league system.

Pedrique’s Take On The Upcoming Season

Much like the Yankees, Pedrique faces a problem in not knowing (yet) who will be occupying the lockers in his clubhouse. There are 45 players still left in camp, and all he do is wait until the final cuts are made.

So, at the moment, Pedrique has no choice but to take a wait and see approach to his Spring Training, which has been difficult to get off the ground.

"“To be honest with you, right now I’m not thinking about what my team is going to look like at the end of camp next weekend,” Pedrique said. “Once the big league staff starts making decisions and we start getting players down here, that’s when we’ll start doing things close to what it’s going to be like during the season."

At the moment, Pedrique is starting players with names like Ryan Krill and Terrance Robertson to fill his lineup in preseason games. Neither player has a chance to make the Railraiders and will occupy a position somewhere lower in the Yankees farm system. Nevertheless, they are his property and under his tutelage for the time being.

That will all change in a week or so when the Yankees unload, and reinforcements arrive. And from that point on, Pedrique and his coaching staff will shift their focus entirely.

"“That’s when we’ll start using the signs and whatnot,” Pedrique said. “I’ll start making the lineup similar to what I think it’ll be in the season so that the guys will start feeling comfortable in their spots.”"

Is Pedrique bored with the forced wait until his job for the season really begins? Hardly as he tells Hennigan:

"“Basically, we’re paying attention to detail and making sure that we use the game as a teaching time and let them know that it’s not about winning or losing,” Pedrique said. “It’s about learning how to play the game the right way, how to get in shape, how to take care of your body and how to build a routine on the a daily basis that will help you throughout the course of the season.”"

Right Now, It’s All Hurry Up And Wait

The only thing Al Pedrique and his staff can be sure of at the moment is that they will have the luxury of having another All-Star team on their hands when the Yankees finally trim their roster to 25.

In the meantime, he can stay in touch with Brian Cashman to see what the Yankees are thinking, but anything real is subject to change at a moments notice (think the injury to Didi Gregorius) and will have to wait on the back burner for now.

It’s likely that Pedrique will again be managing a team in flux throughout the season losing and gaining players on a moment’s notice when Cashman gets on the phone asking for so and so for a few days to fill a gap.

Never mind that Pedrique had the player in question scheduled to start the Railraiders game the next afternoon because what the big team needs, the big team gets. And it’s up to Pedrique to sort things out from there.

No matter, Pedrique is used to it. Just as he’s used to sitting in his office now awaiting the Yankees final decisions as to the players who will compose his roster to start the 2017 season.