TAMPA, FL - MARCH 02: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees bats during the Spring Training game against the Detroit Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field on March 2, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. The Yankees defeated the Tigers 10-9. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Hey, folks. Just checking in to make sure you’re alright. This should be fairly obvious, but I’ll give it to you straight anyway. Being overloaded by young hitters and prospects, even seemingly redundant ones, isn’t a problem. Not at all. It is, in fact, awesome.
There’s a multitude of reasons why this is true, of course. Fundamentally the first and foremost one, though, is a reason that Yankee fans know all too well: sometimes, this whole godforsaken system breaks.
When Gary Sanchez made history this week at Fenway, he was the first Yankee to have a four-hit game within his first nine big league games (!) since (!!)…D’Angelo Jimenez. Oh, dear God.
It won’t happen to everyone. Some of these guys will get the breaks. But it’s going to happen to someone.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news. Truly, I do. But some of the prospects whose names you know and love will totally bite in the Bronx.
But, here’s the good stuff: some will flourish! Some will reach heights higher than we can fathom. Aaron Judge‘s wrists alone can flick a baseball like a pea into the right field seats, and that’s before his forearms even get involved in the proceedings. The problem that prospects flourishing creates is a very good one! So long as you don’t get too, too attached to names that are four years away.
And it’s hard. We fans always want what’s just out of reach. It won’t be too long before we’re saying, “Yes, Gary Sanchez is wonderful, but imagine Luis Torrens behind the plate?!” Because being a fan is fundamentally about hoping and nostalgia, and rarely about living in the now. But every roster has holes to fill.
For example, you may have noticed the Yankees starting rotation is…bad. We love Didi Gregorius. We love the prospects behind him. We don’t love the starting rotation. Got it. What if, say, Gleyber Torres, Starlin Castro, and three more hot lower-level minor leaguers turned into Chris Sale? Or a slightly weakened offer became Jose Quintana? You might want to say no, due to the name recognition, but eventually, you’d stop yourself from saying no. Trading from wells of strength is how championship rosters get built.
Trading from slight trickles of strength for useless non-upgrades is how they get broken. That’s how Fred McGriff, Jay Buhner, and Doug Drabek departed the Bronx in the ’80s, leaving a top-heavy farm system entirely barren. But this farm system is heavy from top to bottom, and the needs on the big league roster are immediate.
When filled, they could portend contention pretty swiftly. Masahiro Tanaka would look a lot better alongside two TBD trade acquisitions and the winners of a prospect-filled pitching competition. Too much of a good thing is hardly a sin. In fact, it’ll help shape the next championship Yankees roster, through both success and failure.