Yankees Farm System Making an Impact

Monday, May 10, 2010

“Brett Gardner’s perception around the league is changing.” That’s what was said on Saturday’s FOX broadcast. The same thing has been said a few times on the YES broadcasts. There’s even speculation that the Yankees won’t go after free-agent to be Carl Crawford because of the success Gardner is having this year. Gardner isn’t the only Yankee farmhand making an impact this year though. Many, many more are too.

Robinson Cano has made the biggest impact. Cano is coming off a month where he hit .400/.436/.765 had 8 home runs and 18 RBI, and was named AL April Player of the Month. He is beginning to show that he may be the best all-around hitter on the team.
Then there’s Phil Hughes. Hughes is off to a remarkable start, going 4-0 in his first 5 games, has an ERA of 1.69, and came within four outs of a no-hitter.
Then there’s Joba Chamberlain. Yes the highly debated Joba is having a quiet season because he is excelling in his role as a setup man. Even when called upon to get a couple saves last week, Joba was able to get the job done.
There’s also Francisco Cervelli. Who made everyone’s worries about Posada’s bat in the lineup disappear this past week, especially after his 5 RBI game against the Red Sox on Saturday.
But the Yankees farm system is making an impact further than just the Yankees system. You can start by looking at a player who was highly touted during his time as a Yankee minor leaguer—Austin Jackson. Jackson leads the league with a .370 batting average and has scored 24 runs and hit 3 triples. He has provided a spark to a fairly old team, as they are just 2.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins.
Move over down to Washington and you’ll also see a familiar name in Tyler Clippard. The reliever was traded for Jonathan Albaladejo, and it looks like the Nationals are getting the best out of that trade. Clippard has been stellar out of relief, going 6-0 with a 0.76 ERA and has 29 strikeouts to 12 walks. The Yankees could probably use that efficiency out of their bullpen.
Even Ian Kennedy is doing a fairly good job out in Arizona. He’s 2-2 with a 3.48 ERA and 35 strikeouts. Imagine if he was in the rotation over Vazquez?
You can look at the success of these youngsters from the Yankees system in a number of ways. The more cynical fan would say the Yankees should have held on to the ones that got away and the team would be that much better. Or you can look at it as the players currently on the team could make for good trading chips should the Yankees need to acquire a starting pitcher or big time bat.
Or, you can just look at it and realize that the Yankees scouting department and the coaching development is doing a terrific job in making major league ready players. Many have criticized the lack of farm system depth with the Yankees over the years, but you can no longer argue that. In addition to the players in the majors, they have prospects such as Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, Ivan Nova, and Slade Heathcock who have high potential.

Many teams overrate their prospects, but the Yankees now have a proven track record that they are doing a good job scouting and developing their players. And if the Yankees need to make a trade, or need to call somebody up, there will be little doubt about whether that prospect can fulfill their role at the next level.


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