The Yankees Youth Movement
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Monday, June 24/2013
By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent): Follow @nross56
As I sit here typing this, I feel a bit out of my element. My own life has been very much a roller coaster of late. I’m in the process of moving out of a place I’ve called home for the last four years. I’ve been traveling for most of the month, and generally, I feel about as out of touch with the Yankees as I have in quite a long time.
After preaching patience to Yankee fans everywhere over the last several months, its become abundantly clear that those All-Stars I’ve been waiting on to carry the team back to October may not show up. Mark Teixeira is back on the Disabled List with his bothersome wrist. Curtis Granderson just had pins removed from his hand and has yet to take a rehab swing.
Kevin Youkilis‘ back may end his career. Alex Rodriguez, well, is actually putting on a show in rehab, but god only knows if and when he will face the wrath of Major League Baseball for whatever role he played in this Biogenesis noise. 2013 was supposed to be the final ride of this Yankees group with the serious regrowing pains coming in 2014 and beyond.
In addition to the absolutely atrocious injuries, the glass slipper has shattered for the replacement Yankees, who carried the team through April. Vernon Wells, the most notable of the slumping replacements, has given the team little to no reason to continue to give him run.
After writing several pieces begging for patience and instructing fans to embrace Wells, I will admit to having a bit of mud on my face. Wells is what most people thought he was. An expensive piece with just enough left in his bat to give you a bit of hope. I was hoping for a 1-2 WAR player out of Wells. It is official. I am (and/or was) delusional.
ZOILO GOES DEEP:
Now, I find myself staring at a box score at work praying to see the name Zoilo Almonte (who hit his first Home Run in the Big Leagues Friday night). Almonte is the first of the Yankee prospects to make an appearance that I believe will realistically matter, and perhaps, he can steal playing time from the maligned Wells.
He is part of a wave of younger players coming to the Bronx in an effort to help the team remain competitive.
Almonte had a nice start to his season at Triple-A Scranton. He had a 10.2 BB Rate and a 16.0 K Rate through almost 300 Plate Appearances to begin his 2013. These numbers are indicative of a player with strong plate discipline.
The beginning of his Yankee career has started with some terrific days as Almonte was hitting in excessive of .650 through his first several Major League games. As excited as I am to see Almonte perform in the Pinstripes, it is important to keep expectations at a realistic level.
Lots of players have hot starts and fade into mediocrity with little fanfare. It is important to root for Almonte without putting the weight of the team on his shoulders.
Almonte isn’t the only youngster experiencing the Bronx for the first time in the summer of 2013. Both Austin Romine and David Adams have found regular playing time during the injury plagued first half, but neither seems like much of a prospect at this point.
Romine’s bat was smoke and mirrors at Triple-A Scranton, and it has since reverted back to just smoke. The Yankee backstop has yet to take a walk in 58 Plate Appearances, but somehow, he has managed to strike out in nearly 30% of those chances.
To borrow a pretty awful pun, Romine’s offense is, well, offensive. His slash line his .127/.143/.164. Stop a moment and re-read that. Its worth the second look.
Just so we are clear, the only reason his Average and On Base Percentage aren’t the same is because someone hit him with a baseball. His wOBA is so low that it is literally .153 points below what Fangraphs.com considers “awful”.
I’m not sure I have an adjective for how badly he is with the bat right now. Romine’s only saving grace is that its “only” 58 plate appearances so at least this rant has the counter-point of Small Sample Size to keep him going.
If Romine is terrible, David Adams has gotten by on just being bad. Much like his fellow former RailRaider, Adams had gotten through 83 Plate Appearances without taking a single walk, and finally took his first two walks of the season on Saturday.
Moneyball be damned, who cares about getting on base. To his credit, Adams has only managed to strike out in 22.8% of his Plate Appearances. This would look a lot worse if it wasn’t for Romine’s numbers.
It is also really confusing when you consider that Adams was walking at about a 10-11% clip in Double-A and Triple-A the last couple of seasons.
The complete loss of the strike zone at the Major League level for both guys is really concerning. Generally speaking, Major League pitchers are dictating the game to both players.
I’d like to believe that Adams has the upside to figure it out, and hopefully the plate patience on Saturday against the Rays is a step in the right direction for the young Yankees’ Third Baseman.
The emergence of the youth on this team could ultimately decide the likelihood of a playoff birth for the Yankees. It isn’t fair or right to place the fate of one of the most historic organizations in sports on a group of early 20-somethings during their first major league season, but it is the reality of the situation.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Trade and Yankees Correspondent’ Nicholas Rossoletti for preparing today’s featured article. Nicholas is a young professional living in downtown Miami. He is a lifelong baseball fan and an avid Yankee supporter.
Having grown up during the last two decades, he counts Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera as his favorite ball players of all time. He believes in sabermetrics and that new stats have already changed the way the baseball industry sees players.
He was for Trout over Cabrera, he thinks RBIs tell you a lot more about a team than a player and that defense and pitching, ultimately, win championships. Rational thought and introspective analysis over the narrative is how we come to understand the game we love.
The narrative is just a way to keep those who don’t really love the game watching. Feel free to follow Nicholas on twitter and talk the game of baseball Follow @NRoss56
“There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem – once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.” ~ Al Gallagher, 1971
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Posted on June 24, 2013, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @nross56, @Nross56 on twitter, @nross56 twitter, AL East, alex rodriguez, austin romine, biogenesis, curtis granderson, david adams, derek jeter, kevin youkilis, mark teixeira, new York, new york yankees, nicholas rossoletti, railriders, rays, scranton wilkes barre, tampa, Tampa Bay, tampa bay rays, vernon wells, yankees, yasiel puig, zoilo almonte. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.