Which members of Yankees’ youth movement will be long-term pieces?

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 18: Oswaldo Cabrera #95 of the New York Yankees hits a single in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on August 18, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 18: Oswaldo Cabrera #95 of the New York Yankees hits a single in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on August 18, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The summer of 2016 saw a New York Yankees’ team that was stuck between the past and present. Veterans such as Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran certainly managed to produce in different ways, but were past their prime. The latter half of the season featured breakout moments from the likes of Gary Sánchez, Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge. The 17-11 month of August was particularly thrilling. Fans got to watch the “Baby Bombers” blossom in front of their eyes and give a glimpse into what the next era could hold.

This original youth movement did not result in a championship, but the period of time has had clear ramifications on a skittish front office. Judge has obviously been a critical component of the team’s recent playoff runs. Still though, Austin was not on the field consistently and was eventually traded from the Bronx. Sánchez may have been the most “highly-touted” prospect, but he failed to live up to expectations.

They were all supposed to be a part of the next “great“ Yankees’ team, but only ⅓ of the trio has grown into a true All-Star.

This grouping is worth mentioning in light of the recent infusion of youth. Oswaldo Cabrera, Oswald Peraza and Estevan Florial have gotten some unexpected playing time due to injuries. Their production has varied, but nonetheless looks and feels promising.

Additionally with Anthony Volpe and Jasson Dominguez also waiting in the wings, it’s fair to wonder if these players will be long-term pieces … and if general manager Brian Cashman feels strangled by “potential.”

Which Yankees’ prospects will be part of team’s youth movement?

At the time of this piece, Oswaldo Cabrera has been the most impressive/logging the most playing time. His offense hasn’t been that great — 29 hits and 17 RBI over 35 games — but he’s become a fan favorite for his defensive tenacity. Cabrera is a middle infielder by trade, but he’s also spent time at third base and right field. Manager Aaron Boone even went as far to give Cabrera practice reps at first base.

The numbers tell you that his offensive output has been suspect and there’s room for improvement, but his willingness to play the field with grit at multiple positions may keep him relevant, even with other prospects on the rise.

Peraza, on the other hand, is an interesting case. He’s played well defensively, and some are already lobbying for the youngster to take over IKF’s place as the everyday shortstop. Peraza is a sound infielder that can field just about anything within range. His MLB sample size is not yet big enough to make an accurate judgment on that front, but he did hit 19 HRs this season at Triple-A with a .778 OPS.

It’s still fair to say Peraza has room to grow at the plate on all levels. He is not unlike Oswaldo Cabrera in this way. It is clear that Peraza is someone the Yankees are invested in long-term. Fans have been dreaming about a middle infield with Peraza and Anthony Volpe for some time now. If Peraza continues to develop his swing, New York should have their shortstop of the future … but the Yankees did him a disservice by not playing him too often over the last month. Something to keep an eye on for the future.

Estevan Florial may be the odd man out as far as this group is concerned. The Dominican project has gotten sporadic big league chances over the course of his career and has never quite “made his mark.” Much of this is a product of injury.

Florial put together a solid Triple-A campaign before being called up. He collected 15 HRs and 42 RBI’s while batting .284. He earned a shot with the Pinstripes and Aaron Boone took note, saying, “I think this is the best year he’s had in a while where he’s been mostly healthy and put up a really productive offensive season that kind of matches up with the skill set and the tools that he’s always flashed to us.”

He may be having a nice year, but given his position, Florial will have to be more than just “productive” if he wants to fit into the Yanks’ long term plans.

Most would say that Florial is a more than solid ballplayer, but with Jasson Dominguez coming up the pike, Florial may be overlooked (that much is already in the works since he was optioned earlier this month as the Yankees’ outfield picture came into focus. Dominguez is just 19 years old and has already shown signs of major power at the plate. Factor in Harrison Bader being here next year, too, and it’s hard to see where Florial fits in.

In truth, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen with these three players down the road. But with the front office holding off on trading some of these assets for big names that could have been helpful “now,” it’s fascinating to try and envision how they each fit into the grand scheme of things. Much is expected, but what will fans receive?