Admit it. This is the most interesting offense the Yankees have produced since 2012. New York fans endured four years of thoroughly boring and mediocre teams. Save for the second half of 2016, the most exciting parts of recent rosters included resurgent performances from Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and a mishmash of other players on their last legs. I’m looking at you, Alfonso Soriano, Vernon Wells, and Travis Hafner.
This year, however, has been a different story. Heading into Wednesday night’s game, the team owns a 114 wRC+. That stands as the second best mark in all of baseball. In many ways, this production stems from a number of strong veteran performances. It’s tough to say that this was predicted when many billed the season as a quasi-rebuilding year, yet that’s the way it worked out.
For example, Matt Holliday discovered the fountain of youth. He posted a 132 wRC+ with 15 home runs. Aaron Hicks appeared to finally meet his status as a former top prospect, running up a .290/.398/.515 triple-slash in the process. Starlin Castro channeled Willie Mays for a while, hitting for a .313 average. Even Jacoby Ellsbury got in on the fun from time to time.
The problem here is that all of those players are either currently on the disabled list or recently reinstated. The Yankees are now without key pieces of their lineup. One would think that this succession of blows would cost the offense. Don’t get me wrong, it certainly hurts. That said, their replacements are anything but boring.
On Tuesday, the Yankees called up Tyler Wade to replace Castro. Wade, a 22-year-old utilityman, possesses great speed and on-base ability. He diversifies the lineup, and could prove to be more of a stolen base threat than Ellsbury and Brett Gardner. Then, on Wednesday, the Bombers recalled Miguel Andujar from Triple-A. The third base prospect figures to serve as the designated hitter in lieu of Holliday, and he can sure hit. He collected a pair of loud singles and a double in his first game. The kids are fun.
“It’s the month of 22-year-olds,” Joe Girardi said before Wednesday night’s game. There are no signs of that slowing down either. Sweeny Murti indicated that the Yankees might call up Dustin Fowler if Tyler Austin’s leg problems persist. Clint Frazier also continues to rake at Triple-A and figures to be an option in the near future. Pair any of those players with Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez and the Yankees have a dynamic, young lineup. The injuries are a bummer, but seeing these call ups is invigorating.
Will the newest additions to the Baby Bombers crew carry the offense? That’s a lot to put on them. There figured to be some regression, anyway. Even if they don’t produce at the level of their counterparts, however, they still add excitement. These are legitimate prospects fans have followed for a few years now. This isn’t a Zoilo Almonte or Zelous Wheeler situation. Seeing them make it to the majors is fun in itself. While the veterans took charge in making the offense interesting this season, the rookies will handle things from here.