It is no longer about Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira or Jacoby Ellsbury, and for that matter, it’s not about Brett Gardner for these New York Yankees. It’s about the future and despite losing two of three to the division leading Toronto Blue Jays the New York Yankees know what the future holds.
Young and more athletic are these new breed of what they call, “Baby Bombers” in the Bronx and they were the center of attention after a 7-4 loss to the Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon.
It’s Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin. It’s about Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius in the infield. Then there is Gary Sanchez, a rookie catcher who has displaced Brian McCann behind the plate and becoming a phenom in 13 games.
Yes, these are the “Baby Bombers” and a Yankees team that went from one of the oldest to one of the youngest in a span of two weeks. From old to young would be a great solution to the answer about life but in baseball youth means energy, the future, and eventual winning ballgames and championships.
Fact is, these Yankees have an average age of 27, and 21 of their 23 home runs this month have come from players under 30-years old. Who would have thought, a month ago that a kid named Gary Sanchez would be displacing a multi-million dollar catcher, McCann, and that his impact would be a part of this new excitement and energy in the Bronx.
But, as it is, Sanchez is here and it won’t be a “Cup Of Coffee” type of stay in the Bronx. The 23-year old on Tuesday night became the youngest catcher in Yankees history to have a multi-home run game.
Wednesday afternoon, Sanchez was the first Yankee to start in the cleanup spot in his 15th career game, He went 2-for-3 with another home run and it was deep to center off Toronto’s best pitcher, J.A. Happ leading off the second inning, his fifth in the last seven games.
Sanchez has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games, and eight of his first 16 career hits have gone for extra base hits.
“Just come to the park everyday and ready to do my job,”Sanchez said through an interpreter. He was asked about taking over for McCann, and this “Baby Bomber” from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic said, “When I came here, I came to play and be ready.”
Yeah, he is ready but the Yankees did not expect this much production and at such a rapid pace. It’s too early to determine if Gary Sanchez will become another of those Hall of Fame catchers who wore Yankees pinstripes, but early returns are saying he is on the way.
“He has a natural and quick swing and jumps at the fastball,” said a reputed and longtime scout who watched Sanchez in the Yankees minor league system and for the first time as a big leaguer in the Bronx this week.
Manager Joe Girardi, for now has Sanchez slotted in the lineup behind the plate. McCann, who has been going with this revamped youth movement has taken over the designated hitter role with Carlos Beltran in Texas and the retirement of Alex Rodriguez.
“Listen, he is a stud, “ said McCann about the youngster who has his spot for the moment. “He’s a future All-Star year in and year out. It’s going to be nice seeing him grow into that player. This is a time when he is going to play and he’s going to play a lot.”
And for McCann who has that huge contract through the 2018 season, with a vesting option for 2019, the ascension of Sanchez could be his last season in pinstripes if a team is willing to take on some of that salary.
That is an issue for GM Brian Cashman to address in the offseason. In the meantime. It is this youth movement of Sanchez and the other arrivals in the Bronx. Judge had two more hits and an RBI, and Austin went 0-for-4 going down three times via the strikeout.
But Austin will get more starts at first base, as the Mark Teixeira era in the Bronx slowly comes to a conclusion.
He was asked about this future of the New York Yankees. These “Baby Bombers” are being referred to as a new Core, not identical though to the “Core Four” of Jeter, Posada, Rivera and Pettitte.
“I haven’t really thought about that too much,” said Austin. “Just trying to take it day by day and go from there. But you know sitting here thinking right now it’s pretty exciting and hopefully it all plays out that way.”
And it helps that Judge, Sanchez and Austin came into this together and all going through the motions of the Yankees minor league system, arriving in the Bronx just days apart.
“Making adjustments game to game,” Judge said about his day. “All depends on the hitter. It’s part of the game.” The 24-year old had three home runs and drove in four in the five games he played on the homestand.
He speaks like a veteran and Girardi has no intention of taking him out of rightfield often. In other words, “The Baby Bombers: are here and this is not a showcase or again that “Cup Of Coffee.”
CC Sabathia started and got the loss, and this veteran pitcher allowed 7-runs in six innings, The story should have been about Sabathia’s first double-digit strikeout game of 12, his first since May 31, 2013.
And it should have been about the two bad plays made by Chase Headley at third in the fifth inning which led to the Blue Jays scoring four runs. And with an offense that this Toronto team has,giving them an extra out will take a toll and It did for the Yankees on Wednesday.
But “The Baby Bombers” have become something to watch in the Bronx. And those veterans making mistakes or not making contact at the plate did not matter.
This youth movement is fun to watch and just too bad they were not up here earlier, and maybe if they were the Yankees would be the team to catch in the standings.