Former New York Yankees closer and Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera spoke highly on Monday in regards to the influx of youth that has hit the Bronx.
While players like Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin, and Aaron Judge are catching the eyes of the fans and keeping the media talking, Rivera focused on the importance of having a veteran presence in the clubhouse.
“The Yankees are doing great. It’s fun to watch those boys. I’m pulling for the guys. Hopefully they do it,” he said. “I’m telling you, it’s great to have those youngsters doing what they’re doing, but in the mix, you have the veterans, too. It’s wonderful. That’s the way it should be — the older need the young, and the young need the older. There’s no way that you’re too young and you don’t need the older (players). You need the experience of the older players, and you need the strength and power of the younger players.”
Selling at the trade deadline lowered the expectations for the Yankees for the remainder of the year, but since the arrival of Sanchez, Judge, and Austin, business has picked up in the Bronx.
Until the point the Baby Bombers joined the club, the team had a tough time scoring runs consistently with veteran players struggling. Also, the Yankees have not been a good road team, just 33-37 with just about two weeks left in 2016. Although a small sample size, they are 9-6 on the road since Sanchez joined the team on August 3 — joined by Judge and Austin on August 20.
Overall, the team is hitting better, scoring more runs and just came off a season-high seven game win-streak.
With limited playing time, Austin is hitting .210/.258/.387 with three home-runs and seven RBI, including a walk-off home-run against the Rays last week for the Yankees’ fifth straight win.
Judge has struggled mightily in the early going, having 41 strikeouts in just 83 at-bats, and hitting just .181/.258/.349 with four home-runs and 10 RBI. Despite his struggles, he is upbeat and seems poised, handling it like a veteran.
Entering play today, the Yankees are just two games back in the AL Wild Card race, and five games behind Boston for the AL East lead with a lot of meaningful ball to play. While there may be some pressure with playoff hopes high, this club is young, confident, and aside from the veterans, have never been here before, so it will be interesting to see how everything pans out over the next two-and-a-half weeks.