Thursday, August 4, 2016

Hard Work Pays Off

Hey everyone, Drew back here. I can't remember the last time I've been this involved with the hobby while also being as uninvolved in the blogosphere. I really just haven't had the motivation to blog, despite having picked up some of the best cards in my collection. I'm currently watching the youth movement take over New York tonight in Game 3 of the Subway Series, so I feel as though it's a good time I show off my own personal card farm system. 

I don't think there's ever really been a time I haven't liked Brian Cashman. Sure, I know I've questioned some of his high end signings in the past, but you really have to wonder how much the Steinbrenner's influenced those moves. Especially now, after a week where Cashman turned over a new leaf and brought the Yankees organization into the modern baseball world and temporarily gave up hopes of buying a championship. 

Fans of the team are accustomed to winning, so it is awfully risky to sell off your best assets in an effort to rebuild at the trade deadline. Cashman is not a hero because he chose to sell, since he's one of the last current GM's to do so. He's a hero because he finally held his own and did what has needed to be done since 2013. He showed his rebellious side, took some risks, and from all accounts it just might pay off. All I can say is: I have never been more excited for the future of this team.

The Yankees may boast a top notch farm system after last week's moves, but Aaron Judge still excites me over any of them. He could be an All Star, reminiscent of Dave Winfield in size and stature. He could be a bust. The risk is there, but it's worth taking. I cannot wait to see this guy don the pinstripes in a few weeks. I bought his Bowman Chrome refractor autograph (get used to reading that) for my birthday, and I may be preparing to send it in to BGS and see how it grades. But for now, it becomes one of the highlights of my card collection.

In order to make a youth movement work, you need to have someone who can grind out games at whatever position needs to be filled. Rob Refsnyder appears to be the obvious pick for that utility-man role. He doesn't do anything fantastically, but he more than holds his own. I've been impressed with what I've seen from him in the majors this year, and I hope the team continues to reward him with proper playing time.

Everyone enjoys a comeback story, let's be real. Two years ago, Tyler Austin was considered a Top 100 prospect, but injuries halted his road to the show before he got the chance to make his MLB debut. In 2016, he's batting .311 with 13 home runs and 45 RBI in AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre, and rumor has it that he and Judge could see a call up by the beginning of September at the very latest.

Speaking of comebacks, we'll be hoping to see much more out of Greg Bird in 2017 than we've gotten this year. One of the biggest blows to this season came in February when out of nowhere it was announced that he would be undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder and would be out for the season. After catching a glimpse of what he is capable of doing at the Major League level, it was tough news to swallow. Mark Teixeira appears to be dragging himself out of New York after what has so far been a horrendous final season of his 8 year deal, so the job could be Bird's to take as early as next spring.

While it's good to have powerful bats in your lineup and guys capable of filling voids throughout the diamond, no team is complete without a sparkplug at the top of the lineup. Enter Jorge Mateo, who could be just that in 2-3 years when the Yankees are ready to bring him up (because if he had a say apparently, he would be well past High-A by now). Last year, he led all professional players with 82 stolen bases, and has continued to display raw speed this season. Some say he may be the fastest player in the game. It's too early to think about positional logjams, but I'm interested to see how their middle infield plays out over the next few years. For now, the job has been earned by Didi Gregorius, our best current all around player.

We close things out for now with the man who will have the final say in a large part of the team's future wins and losses. Dellin Betances has been one of the most exciting relievers in the game over the past three seasons, and I feel like some Yankee fans take his talent for granted. He's been dominant, but fans keeping asking for another Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman caliber player to pair him with. Now, after two big trades; Betances has the closer job and I couldn't be happier for him. He was notably disappointed seeing his friends depart to Chicago and Cleveland, but now he has the opportunity to become the 9th inning man once and for all.

Brian Cashman and I have both been working hard this summer. He's been able to bring Yankee fans hope for the future, while I have been slowly working my way back from being totally broke post-Europe. Budgeting portions of my paychecks towards the hobby have given me something to look forward to despite consecutive days (or weeks) of work. And now, I'm almost ready for the future to take off and kick into gear.