Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge are getting an opportunity to play as beneficiaries of the Yankees’ youth movement.
They are making the most of it by producing at the plate. They have hit home runs for the Yankees since being called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The presence of Sanchez, Austin and Judge helped fuel the Yankees’ surge. Not only is the team winning, but they are entertaining. They provide better alternative to the struggling Mets these days. No one could have said that about them last year and for most of this season.
Austin and Judge homered in their first at-bats as Yankees Saturday afternoon in the Yankees’ 8-4 victory over the Rays. What’s neat was they did it back-to-back in the second inning of that game.
Judge performed an encore on Sunday by hitting his second home run in two days in the Yankees’ 12-3 loss to the Rays. He topped it off by hitting a game-winning RBI double to spur the Yankees to a 1-0 victory over the Blue Jays Monday night.
Sanchez hit two home runs last night in the Yankees’ 12-6 loss to the Blue Jays. That was his third and fourth home run of his career. He had three hits and four RBIs in that contest.
Those three hitters provide hope for a franchise that desperately need to develop young players to build around for years to come.
The Yankees feel they can contend for a championship in 2018 with Greg Bird, Clint Frazier, Judge, Sanchez, Austin and several other prospects they received in the Carlos Beltran, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman trade.
It is the prudent thing for the Yankees to go with youth movement. They were not winning with mercenaries, and the fans never seemed to embrace them in recent years.
The Yankees in the late 90s were popular because they won with homegrown players and role players. Since 2002, the Yankees tried to supplement their Core Four players (Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams and Mariano Rivera) by signing or acquiring mercenaries. Yes, it resulted to playoff appearances, but it resulted in one championship in 2009.
With the Core Four gone, the Yankees became unwatchable and even unlikeable. The fans had no interest in watching mercenaries who have no understanding of Yankee tradition. After watching the Mets go to the World Series with homegrown players last year, the Yankees fans wanted their team to do what the Mets did, which is building around young players.
For the Yankees’ part, they knew they have to change course. They can’t get free agents in their prime anymore since teams are able to keep them as a result of revenue sharing. They had no choice but to start a youth movement for them to keep up with the contending teams in baseball and in the AL East. It was out of necessity for them.
Youth is being served now. So far so good.
The Yankees are now embraced because everyone wants to see what the kids can do for them. They want to see if Sanchez, Austin and Judge can sustain their success for the rest of the season.
It’s one thing for them to start off hot, but it’s another thing for them to sustain their success. That is a difficult thing. Ask Mets outfielder Michael Conforto. After starting off so well last year, including the playoffs, he struggled for most of this season to the point he was demoted to the minors twice.
There’s no question Bird, Frazier, Judge, Sanchez and Austin are going to struggle once the pitchers figure them out. How they handle adjustments and rough patches will determine if they are going to be successful in the Major Leagues.
One thing going for them is they have the temperament needed to play in the Major Leagues and in this market. They don’t get too up or too down. That’s half the battle when it comes to doing well.
This is right now a small sample size, but it’s understandable if the Yankees fans are excited. They finally found something to be proud of. It’s been a long time coming for them.
The Yankees will try to get the last wild-card spot by winning with youth.
Whether they win it or not is irrelevant. The big picture is having these guys get an opportunity to succeed or fail.
Yes, youth is being served now. For better or for worse, this is the way it’s going to be.
It beats the alternative of watching washed-up mercenaries.