Welcome to the Baby Bomber Era
The Yankees are experiencing a youth movement for the first time in a while and there are quite a few “Baby Bombers” with high expectations. Over the next few blogs, I will review a few of these players, where they stand and what can be expected.
For Part 1, we will start with Baby Bombers that have already tasted the Majors.
Gary Sanchez is already the most accomplished Baby Bomber having finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting last season while playing in just 53 games. Expectations are sky high but a reasonable projection for him should look more like 25 to 30 homers which is still amazing for a player of his age. His ability to catch base stealers remains impressive but there is still buzz that he needs to improve his ability to frame pitches and as the Yankees full-time starting catcher, he will have a large responsibility managing his starting pitchers which remain the Yankees weakest part of team.
Bird is the word. The Yankees have already announced Bird will be their starting first baseman in 2017. This guy already has six home runs in spring training and he hit 11 home runs in only 157 bats in 2015. He is over his injury and looking nasty. For him to have a true breakout season for the Yankees, he will have to cut down a bit on the strikeouts or else we can only expect power without average. Either way, he appears poised to be the Yankees next full-time first baseman and if fans are lucky, he will be the next great Yankees’ first baseman.
The 6’7 outfielder with prodigious power made his Yankees debut in 2016. Following a home run in his first major league at-bat, he went on to struggle to the tune of a .194 average and he struck out at an alarming rate (he actually struck out in half of his total at-bats). Coming into 2017, he has been battling for the starting right field job with Aaron Hicks in a battle that the team wants him to win. Hicks has a consistent this spring and Judge has shown power while maintaining an average near .250, which would be fine over the course of a full season if he also hit 30+ homers. He is the Yankees biggest wild card of these three players and there appear to be more growing pains as he develops. He may win the starting job but he may not hold onto it without good production.