The Yankees 2018 season has already begun. A new cast of Baby Bombers is lighting up the Arizona Fall League and, once again, all of baseball is taking notice.
At this time last year, the Yankees had scouts covering the Arizona Fall League licking their chops as they observed Greg Bird and Gleyber Torres strutting their stuff and, in the case of Torres, even winning the MVP in the league.
This year is no different, and the Yankees are showing off the glut of talent in their minor league system again. This time, it’s a cast of new Baby Bombers who, may or may not be able to crack the 25-man roster come April.
And if Joe Girardi had some tough choices to make last Spring, the new manager of the Yankees is going to be faced with an even more significant collision when he decides on the roster he’ll take north with him in April.
Estevan Florial, Justus Sheffield, Billy McKinney, and Albert Abreau are all making their presence known, and with each, they are taking steps forward that will demand the attention of Yankees brass when Spring Training begins.
Based on stats provided by Elite Sports NY, Florial’s line reads .344/.400/.469 line in eight games at 19 years old. Nineteen! Florial reigns as the Yankees number three prospect overall as a center fielder.
McKinney is seeing action at first base as insurance if Bird comes up with another injury. Elite Sports NY summarizes:
With his ability as a fourth outfielder already established, McKinney is in line to push up on Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier for the Pinstripes in 2018.
The Yankees starting rotation for next season is in flux with the limbo status of both CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka. But on the horizon are two budding stars who will complicate things for the Yankees, with or without Sabathia and Tanaka.
Justis Sheffield pitched five innings of one-hit ball in his AFL debut. Since then, he’s slid back a bit but still sports a 3.21 ERA thus far in the shortened AFL season.
The real eye-turner, though, is Albert Abreau, the Yankees number seven prospect overall.
With contracts extending through the 2018 season for players like Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury, it gets a little cramped at the top, especially if Tanaka opts in as he is expected to do and Sabathia is signed for another season, as the Yankees seem obligated and forced to do given his value over the past season.
The temptation for the new Lord of Yankees baseball, Brian Cashman, might be to trade off prospects for major league ready talent. Or, if Hal Steinbrenner opens up his purse, free agent signings could fill and add to the depth of the team’s starting rotation.
All of this only serves to highlight the fact the Yankees have a glut of talent, both on and off the roster, which helps to complicate things almost to the point of being funny. The adage too much of anything is not good rings true.
Were any of the players mentioned above in the Oakland A’s for San Diego Padres system, all would have a spot on the 25-man roster in 2018, or most definitely, by 2019. The Yankees hold no such promise for any of them.
For the organization, it’s gold. For the players, it spells only of frustration. Cashman put himself on the hot seat when he fired (yes, that’s the word) Joe Girardi. Soon, it will be time for him to make those decisions that Girardi made for him last season, as when Girardi hand-picked Jordan Montgomery to be the fifth starter. And with ten wins in his inaugural season, Montgomery proved to be the right choice.
Yankees fans can only hope Cashman has the same touch. Meanwhile, what’s next for the team in the Bronx?