I'm Tanya, and I'm a prospect hugger.
I don't feel shame or regret about the fact that I hold Yankees prospects in high regard, getting attached to them early on and then hanging on for dear life. My real love for prospects started with Jesus Montero and grew from there. More often than not I've been disappointed and I've come to realize that's okay. Montero ended up traded to Seattle where he apparently decided to start eating his feelings and got into an ugly incident with an ice cream sandwich. Manny Banuelos, my second real prospect love, was plagued with injury before being sent to Atlanta for a pair of relievers and is now out for the rest of the season once again.
Loving prospects will break your heart almost every time. Those of us who follow the box scores for Yankee affiliates almost as closely as we do the big league team know that. For every guy you think could be something there are another 10 that just never get over the hump. It can be frustrating and discouraging when the farm system fails to produce the talent that other teams seem capable of churning out, but every once in a while all the faith pays off.
Greg Bird was the next iteration of prospect love for me. I love a left-handed swing and power hitters, so he fit the bill perfectly. Then I got to watch him play in person and he hit three home runs while I was in attendance. The love was cemented. The criticism against him was obvious: he was a first baseman, which never get appreciated as much as their more flashy infield counterparts. I kept the faith and became so invested that the list of players I'd trade him for dwindled in my mind, no matter how foolish that was. He was very much my prospect and I wanted the team to hold on to him at any cost. His call up to the big leagues in replacement of Mark Teixeira has exceeded even my expectations for how he would do in his first season of MLB. He has been the prospect that I've waited for for a long time. Seeing all that faith for years pay off feels great, and it reminds me why I get invested in the first place.
The Yankees also made a big decision to keep Luis Severino out of any trades at the deadline that might have been able to bring in a reinforcement for their pitching staff or lineup. Instead, the team viewed Severino as that reinforcement and brought him up to stick him in the big league rotation. He has been outstanding in that role, very much proving he was worth keeping around. Both he and Bird could play a huge role for the team in the very near future with pitching at a premium and Teixeira's contract expiring after next season. Holding on to them, at this moment, looks like a genius move. Whether that remains to be the case or not is obviously not something any of us can predict, but it would make me sick to my stomach to see either one of them doing what they are doing for another team in return for six months of any player they could have gotten on the trade block.
Bird and Severino have been fantastic, but there's another prospect out there just waiting to break my heart and your heart. I'm not sure who it is yet, but they are there. The success of Bird and Severino have prospect huggers feeling on top of the world for the moment, for good reason, but that floor will fall through the next time we are disappointed by someone who was supposed to be can't-miss. A lot of people will turn away from the farm again to avoid taking the bait of falling in love with a kid in A-ball with a sweet swing or a wipeout pitch. Those of us who are used to the ups and downs of loving prospects will dust ourselves off and head back to the Charleston or Tampa roster to find the next object of our affection. It feels like a waste of time when it doesn't work, for sure, but man it feels good when it does work out. Those who kept the faith in Bird and Severino are getting to experience that now. Thankfully, the Yankees' front office also chose to be believers.