The New Year is a time for looking forward. Theoretically, the Yankees could go 162-0, then win 11 straight games in the playoffs and win the World Series in 2015. That probably won't happen, but it's January 2nd, it's still possible right now. And with the roster starting to take shape, similar things are going through my mind for individual players too. This is the time of year where I convince myself that all the Yankees are gonna hit 30 home runs or have a sub-1.00 ERA. So, I thought I'd ask the PSA staff what players have been on their mind as the season ticks closer.
Q: It's 2015. What Yankee player and/or prospect are you most looking forward to following in this new year?
Well Greg Bird would be the obvious answer, due to his name being Greg. But now I can go with Didi Gregorius. I'm guessing you can sense a pattern by now. To be honest though, I'm very curious about what Brian McCann and Rothschild do with Nathan Eovaldi. If they can mold him into a quality starter, that is a nice young, cost controlled 1-3 starting pitching staff they have there.
The player I'm most looking forward to is Masahiro Tanaka. Outside of the Jeter Stadium farewell, just about all of my favorite days from the 2014 season were ones on which Tanaka pitched. If only there had been more of them. While I'll be holding my breath every time I see his elbow recoil to throw a pitch, there are few things in baseball I enjoy more than a truly dominant pitcher.
I'm of the opinion that the best trait a prospect can have is proximity to the majors so the guy I'm most excited about for now is Rob Refsnyder. He might not have the ceiling of a Judge or a Bird but I've seen too much go wrong with Yankee "can't missers" between Trenton and the Bronx to let myself get hyped up over players who are still a couple years away.
I think most of my attention will be on the starting pitchers. Tanaka's elbow, Ivan Nova's rehab, Michael Pineda's shoulder. If those three are healthy, the Yankees have a great rotation. Obviously, Eovaldi is a bit of a mystery. I like what I read about him, but I was excited each time the Yankees acquired Javier Vazquez, too. With all respect to everyone excited by Judge, Bird and Sanchez, Luis Severino is probably my #1 prospect to watch right now.
I'll also be watching Shane Greene's starts with the Tiger's pretty closely. I always like to see former Yankee prospects do well, if only for ammunition every time somebody says the Yankees' farm never produces big leaguers.
Rob Refsnyder, Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Jaron Long, Dellin Betances, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Brett Gardner.
It will be fun to follow the trail of strikeouts that Tanaka, Betances and hopefully Pineda leave behind them. Though in terms of following a player's development, I'm really looking forward to seeing what progress Nathan Eovaldi can make. He's got a solid floor as an innings-eater in the rotation but in optimistic about the ceiling here; if he becomes the pitcher his stuff says he could be this potentially becomes a fearsome rotation.
@TheJudge44 So I hear you're going to be in a movie sometime soon? pic.twitter.com/q6s80sfowu— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) September 21, 2014
Definitely Didi. Like D-Rob the year before I'll be pulling hardest for the guy fans are likely to be the hardest on.
I tried to narrow it down as far as I could. Unfortunately, I could only narrow it down to five, as prospects are one of my biggest baseball passions. 2015 should be a special year for our farm system, even though some players will naturally fizzle out.
MLB scout: "Like Refsnyder this year, Miguel Andujar is going to be a big name in 2015." Definitely a promising talent.— Yankeesource (@YankeeSource) September 10, 2014
Luis Torrens: He is the Yankees future catcher.
Luis Severino: Our #1 prospect who's being comp'd to Pedro Martinez. Yes, please.
Jacob Lindgren: Nicknamed "The Strikeout Factory." Who doesn't want to see that?
Exciting player. Off the chart tools. RT @Draft2Dynasty Jorge Mateo...Keep that name in mind #YankeesMiLB fans— Yankeesource (@YankeeSource) September 12, 2014
Rob Refsnyder. With Prado gone second base is his to lose and it will be interesting to see if he can cut it at the Major League level.
For me it's Eovaldi. While this doesn't guarantee that he'll be successful, his FIP as compared to his ERA is interesting and has me really hopeful that he can develop more. I'm always cautiously optimistic about new players, so you can really fill in that previous sentence with the all the new acquisitions names and their skill set, but I'm far more interested in what Silent O (Quiet O? Mute O? I'm work-shopping here) will do.
On the prospect side of things, it's Aaron Judge because I enjoy tall people who do mean things to baseballs.
For the big league regulars, I'm most looking forward to Masahiro Tanaka if his UCL can stay in one piece. Jacoby Ellsbury getting (hopefully) a full season as the leadoff hitter should be fun too. Hopefully Dellin can be as good as he was last year, and I'm excited to see how he and Andrew Miller take care of business in the late innings. I'm hoping that we'll get to see Rob Refsnyder and Jacob Lindgren in the majors before 2015 is out. On the minor league side, the obvious answer is Greg Bird. Aaron Judge is also cool, and I'm excited to see if Luis Severino can be awesome again this year.
Now that you've seen our answers, it's your turn. Which Yankee are you most excited to watch in this new year?