The New York Yankees have gotten more than just production from their youth movement, as their youngsters attempt to spark an improbable run.
This is flat out fun. There is no better way to describe this surplus of young talent that has risen to the New York Yankees.
First, fans got a taste of what the future holds when Gary Sanchez was given his latest promotion and started mashing right away.
Since his most recent promotion on August 3, the 23-year old backstop is hitting .407 with six home runs and 12 RBI.
In addition to becoming the first player in Yankees’ history to crank five home runs withing his first 15 major league games, Sanchez has the fourth most hits through his first 17 games in the history of the franchise.
Then, after rookie starter Chad Green struck out 11 on Monday night against the juggernaut Toronto Blue Jays’ offense, rookie Luis Cessa dazzled against Mike Trout and the Angles last night in Hollywood.
Have yourself a night, @LuisCessaMx! ??
Final line: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 Ks. pic.twitter.com/aPedn5uGZ0
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 21, 2016
“Our development people have done a really good job with these kids,” manager Joe Girardi told MLB.com. “A number of our kids, you look at adjustments Sanchez has made, and Judge and Tyler Austin, there’s more coming. We’ve done a really good job developing these kids.”
Speaking of last night, the Baby Bombers singlehandedly ignited New York to a season-high four games over the .500 mark with a dominating win over the halos.
Cessa surrendered just three hits in six-plus innings of work in his first career start, Sanchez homered for the fourth time in as many games, and Judge drove in two runs in the sixth to help the Yankees narrow the deficit in the second American League Wild Card race to just four games.
Just remember, this was a team that had raised the white flag and had given up hope this past trade deadline as they sold off their biggest assets to stare deep into what the future has in store.
We all knew how bright the future was, but little did Yankees’ fans know that the future would come today. And today, the youth movement is making a shocking push for the 2016 postseason.
It seems far-fetched, as FanGraphs projects them to finish fourth in the AL East and given that they surrendered Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, and Carlos Beltran at the deadline, that seems completely justified.
However, the Yankees have 40 games left and 27 of them will be against division opponents and on surge with another team’s slump can quickly clear their 6.5 game deficit, as difficult as that seems.
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The slumping Orioles and beatable Red Sox have forceful offenses but grave concerns in their starting rotations and while the Blue Jays seem destined to run away with the eastern crown, they will be without Jose Bautista for some quite time.
The Yankees, on the other hand, still have a shutdown closer in Dellin Betances, an ace in Masahiro Tanaka accompanying a spark of youth in the rotation and an invasion of young influential talent in the everyday lineup.
New York has already leapfrogged over the Houston Astros and is tied with the Detroit Tigers in the loss column.
Hypothetically only one team stands between the Yankees and the last playoff spot available for AL teams. They do have questions marks within their middle relief and rotation, but with so much time remaining in the 2016 season, weirder things have happened.
The Tampa Bay Rays lingered behind the Red Sox by 7.5 games in the Wild Card race entering play on August 21 before one of the most improbable playoff pushes in baseball occurred.
Boston ended up going 14-23 the rest of the way as the Rays went 23-15 which not only was the best record of any Eastern teams during that span but ignited them to a playoff berth that no one saw coming.
Not to sound cliché but anything is possible in this sport.
The Yankees have advanced from a fading (in terms of age) franchise grappling with the weight of monstrous contracts and a 9-17 start to the “little engine that could.”
As slim as it is, there is hope sparked by the underdog “Baby Bombers” and the next month of Yankees’ baseball should be very interesting despite their slim 4.1% chance to earn a spot that brings them 12 wins away from a World Series title.