The New York Yankees have time to watch their prospects develop and they must do that, especially with their starting rotation.
Last season marked a new era in the Bronx. As the New York Yankees closed out their season, they were officially run by rookies.
With Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin bursting onto the scene, the Bronx was once again ripe with promise for the future.
Looking towards 2017, the Yankees have Sanchez as their starting catcher. They have declared that Judge and Austin would play big roles in the upcoming season. They are developing their young players and pushing them to be the next big thing.
While the Yankees have players up in the major leagues, they also have players in the minors that are preparing to take their shot at big league fame. The problem is, the starting pitchers that have potential down in the minor leagues are not ready and the Yankees can’t afford to wait for quality starting pitching.
They have Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda locked into the rotation, but the rest is a mystery. The Yankees toyed last year with younger pitchers like Luis Severino and Luis Cessa but simply could not find a reliable option.
When it comes to starts in the minor leagues, the Yankees have some hot prospects. James Kaprielian made a splash in the minors and the AFL last year and would be a prime candidate for the starting rotation in a few years.
Alongside the likes of Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield, Kaprielian leads a highly-talented class of prospects that can only get better. They’re good, but at this moment in time, they are not ready for the major leagues.
The problem is that the Yankees need help now, not a few years down the line. Even though their goal is to develop prospects, playing around with a rotation is a risky way to do it. When it comes to the bare rotation, there is no fallback option in case of injury.
Bringing up unproven starters to test would be fine, but the Yankees can’t wait for them to be ready. They need starting pitching that can provide some semblance of consistency. The young pitchers will certainly get a chance by serving when necessary without being thrown directly into the fire of being a full-time starter.
The last thing the Yankees want to do is rely too heavily on a young pitcher way too early. We’ve seen in the past how that works out, especially with big names like Joba Chamberlain.
The Yankees need to let these young guns develop to a lower level while signing some reliable pitchers in the meantime.
Yes, the Yankees have outstanding prospects who will eventually give them a championship. However, these young prospects are not ready to be the answer to the glaring rotation problems.
Do not call them up now. Do not put them in a position they are uncomfortable with just because the rotation is questionable. That isn’t fair to these prospects, especially if they get called up, perform poorly and don’t get another shot in the Bronx.
When these guys come up, they will make a difference. Their talent would just benefit the Yankees more if it was developed. The Yankees can take it slow with these guys, but they need to fill the holes in their rotation until their time comes.
The off-season should involve the Yankees signing some proven pitchers to fill the holes temporarily and then let the youth do the rest in the coming seasons.
The Yankees aren’t in a “win now” mode but two years down the line, they will be. And that’s when the method of developing the prospects truly comes into play.