It is almost Thanksgiving in America, which makes it as good of a time as any to reflect on the things that Yankees fans can be thankful for. The Yankees may not have won the World Series this year, but there are plenty of positive signs and potential good things to come. Here are a few reasons Yankees fans should be thankful:
- The front office seems to have had a philosophy change
The Yankees continue to surprise everyone. Typically known for going on offseason spending sprees (like they did following the 2013 season when they signed Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Masahiro Tanaka), the Yankees failed to sign anyone during the 2015 offseason. Instead, Brian Cashman improved the team through trades.
The Yankees are always committed to trying to make the postseason, but they actually sold off some of their best players at the trade deadline for the first time in many years. Those moves greatly improved the farm system (more on that later), and seem to have signaled a shift in the Yankees’ philosophy. The Yankees have previously been hesitant to turn to younger players, but they called up Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin, and Aaron Judge in August to help the team. It certainly seems like the Yankees are moving away from signing aging veterans to long and expensive deals, and are building a future around their young prospects. However, it is early in the offseason and this could all go out the window.
2. Gary Sanchez will be the starting catcher in 2017
There is no doubt about it: Gary Sanchez was the most exciting part of the 2016 season. He put together a good minor league season, but I don’t think anyone expected Sanchez to hit 20 home runs in 53 games after he was called up. In addition to his hitting, he was also impressive behind the plate, and seemed to throw out just about everyone.
Real excited for Sanchez to be the starting catcher next season.
3. The farm system is better than ever
This year the Yankees failed to make the playoffs for the third time in four years. Obviously it would be great if the Yankees could contend every year, but that isn’t realistic. However, there is a lot of hope for the future. The Yankees’ minor league system had not been considered one of the best over the past few years, but all of those trades around the deadline did a lot to improve it.
Newly acquired prospects Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier are arguably the top two prospects in the system now and they have a ton of potential. Most recently, Torres participated in the Arizona Fall League, and not only did he win the MVP award, but he also took home the batting title after he hit .403/.513/.645 through 62 at-bats. He is only 19! It would be great to see these top prospects eventually help the Yankees at the major league level, but it is also useful to have such high-ranked prospects in terms of potential future trades.
Bonus: Thanks to his retirement, the Yankees won’t have to face David Ortiz next season.