Yankees: Will The Momentum Of Their Spring Carry Over
The Yankees have an opportunity to capitalize on their successful spring by springing forward now into the regular. The question is, of course, will they?
Whether or not you believe in Spring Training numbers, you can’t deny that the Yankees had a dominant spring. Unlike spring training of years past, the Bombers had some excitement surrounding them. After rebuilding the farm system, the prospects came out and delivered. The future looks bright.
What about the present, though? A good number of young players who contributed to the winning ways of spring will be in the minor leagues to start the season. Some may be back sooner than expected. Until then, though, can the current Yankees sustain their winning atmosphere into the regular season?
Last season the Yankees got off to a horrific start. Later in the year, as they were surprisingly in contention for the wild card, those early losses came back to haunt them. This time, if the Yanks even want to sniff contention, they cannot afford to sleepwalk until Memorial Day. A fast start is their best shot.
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Despite being in something of a rebuild mode, ownership expects the team to win. There’s just so many question marks, and they involve mostly the veterans. Leadoff hitter Brett Gardner has seen his offensive numbers decline and centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury also has seen his numbers go south. Chase Headley has been mostly inconsistent. That’s the most polite way to put it.
For the Yankees to carry the momentum of a strong spring, it’s the youngsters that are going to have to step up. With the help of veteran Matt Holliday, the trio of Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, and Aaron Judge will be counted on for a majority of the offense. If their Grapefruit League numbers have any bearing, they have the ability to make up for any dead weight in the lineup.
Last season for the first time in a quarter century, the Yankees were sellers at the trade deadline. They may be again this year, but depending on the standings at the time, they could be buyers as well. It’s plausible that they could unload a veteran or two for prospects. They then can turn said prospects into a veteran pitcher who could help them down the stretch.
It may not matter though if the team doesn’t start strong out of the gate. There’s reason to believe they can, though. Gary Sanchez looks ready to prove last season was no fluke. Greg Bird has shown no signs of rust. Aaron Judge has cut down on his strikeouts and looks more comfortable at the plate.
The veterans may surprise us too. A winning attitude is contagious. Seeing the young prospects in spring training may also light a fire under some of them. There are many hungry Baby Bombers looking to impress and take their jobs.
The pitching staff has its concerns as well, but as a fan, I’m not too worried. With so many young arms in the upper minor leagues, the team has options if the fourth or fifth starters struggle. If they pitch well enough, they may even knock some of the veterans off.
Yankees Playing With House Money And Little Margin Of Error
The Yankees, as a team, enter the 2017 season playing with house money but with little margin for error. Individually, though, it's another story.
This may be a rebuilding team with fewer expectations than before. However, no team wants to lose. The Yankees have the talent. We saw it all spring. Now, can they translate that to when the games start to count? Stay tuned.