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 3, we will talk about a few more Baby Bomber that were all acquired at last year’s trade deadline and should make an impact for the Yankees down the road.
Justus Sheffield is a former 2014 first round pick of the Cleveland Indians and was acquired by the Yankees at the trade deadline last season in the Andrew Miller deal. At just 20 years old, he is a 5’11 left handed starting pitcher and contrary to popular belief, he is not the nephew of former Yankee Gary Sheffield. He dominated as a pitcher at the high school level (as a senior, he finished with an 11-0 record, 0.34 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 61.2 innings). Despite committing to play at Vanderbilt, Sheffield was drafted and signed by the Indians where he has had success in the minors. His career minor league numbers are 23-11 with a 3.25 ERA and 302 strikeouts in 279.1 innings. The Yankees are excited to see his continued development as he shows much maturity on the mound for a 20 year old. He did have some off-field issues including an arrest for burglary and underage drinking in 2015 but the Yankees are hoping that immature behavior is behind him. He still needs more seasoning in the minors and there is a small chance that the Yankees include him as a September call-up this season but he reasonably projects to help the big club with a year or two.
Clint Frazier was the fifth overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft. Drafted by the Cleveland Indians, he was also the centerpiece in the Andrew Miller deal at last season’s trade deadline. Frazier is a 22 year old outfielder that sits at 6’1 and bats righty. A heralded high school star, Frazier won the Jackie Robinson Award given to the Perfect Game National Player of the Year in 2012 and was also named an All-American. Despite committing to play for Georgia, Frazier was drafted and signed by the Indians in 2013. He currently plays centerfield despite many baseball experts believing he projects better as a corner outfielder. He looks like a future star with a powerful bat and intriguing speed but he is still rough around the edges. Some believe he is “too much in love” with the long ball and that he needs better focus. He performed well for the Yankees in spring training but also received negative attention for not immediately adhering to the Yankees personal grooming policies which got much media attention as he eventually cut off his long red locks of hair. If he can curb his attitude, which is known to be cocky at times, the Yankees envision him as a future star and fans can expect to see him patrolling the outfield in Yankee stadium as soon as late 2017 if he matures quickly. Otherwise, fans will have to wait until next year to get a taste of this kid.
Gleyber Torres is a player that many consider to be the Yankees top prospect.Originally signed as an international free agent by the Chicago Cubs, this Venezuela native has been a star in the minors at a very young age. He made his professional debut in 2014 and hit very well at only 17 years old. Following his trade to the Yankees at last season’s trade deadline, (he was the centerpiece in the Aroldis Chapman deal), he went on to win MVP of the Arizona Fall League in 2016 at only 19 year old, which made him the youngest player to ever achieve that honor. Torres currently plays shortstop but the Yankees are trying to increase his versatility as an infielder since there isn’t a clear path to the majors at the moment. His greatest strength is his hitting and there has been buzz that he needs to improve his baserunning and his walk-rate before he will be major league ready. During Spring Training, Brian Cashman noted that he believes Torres is talented enough to make the majors in 2017, but he will not likely skip any levels along the way. The things that this kid has done at only 20 make him seem like a future superstar and the Yankees and fans cannot wait to see what he will bring to the table.
About the Author
Bryan Revello is the Editor in Chief for New York Sportscene. A New York Yankees analyst and enthusiast, he can be heard talking about New York Yankees baseball on the Spadora on Sports radio program on Sports Byline USA stations around the USA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.