Photo courtesy of the NY Daily News
On the heels of yesterday’s win with Ramiro Pena, Joba Chamberlain and Francisco Cervelli making key contributions, it’s timely to note just how well Yankee farm products have been performing both here and elsewhere. In his latest Hardball blog piece, Joel Sherman does just that. He writes:
Consider, for example, that three of the top six hitters in the AL – 1. Robisnon Cano, .376; 2. Austin Jackson, .376; 6. Brett Gardner, .346 – are all twentysomethings developed in the Yankee system. Another twentysomething, Phil Hughes, is second in the AL In ERA (1.44).
The defensively adept Cervelli, in place of Posada, continued to show a blossoming offensive game in gong 3-for-3 with a sacrifice to raise his average to .387. He is, at the least, establishing himself as one of the sport’s best backup catchers with his receiving skills and enthusiasm. And more and more you could imagine him being a starting catcher some day.
Meanwhile, for the second straight game, Chamberlain replaced Rivera and registered the save. And beyond the obvious stuff to like – notably a fastball that overwhelmed at 94-96 mph – was the absence of something: Drama. It seemed that Chamberlain’s entire career has been awash in theatrics. He has had an A-Rod-esque flair for creating, at the least, conversation around himself and, at the most, controversy.
But the past two days, Chamberlain was a businessman on the mound, full of purpose and dominance. He threw strikes and looked like a guy who expected to thrive. He looked – long gulp here – more mature and like someone ready to accept being the heir to Rivera.
The homegrown impact is not exclusively the domain of the Core Four: Posada, Rivera, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte. Nick Johnson and Marcus Thames have come home, and Ramiro Pena, Alfredo Aceves and David Robertson have become important supplementary pieces.
In addition, the Yanks have completed trades in recent years for Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, Javier Vazquez, and Damaso Marte/Xavier Nady by using items from their system.
Yes, the Yankees’ money matters in all areas, including the procurement of amateur talent. Still, the farm used to be a place that the Yanks did not prioritize, but a renewed emphasis is definitely providing rewards.
Nicely done by Joel. For anyone who wants to claim that any monkey could do Brian Cashman’s job because of all the resources he has, refer them to this column. It’s been proven many times in Baseball that you can spend the most money in your league and still wind up in last place. You can also be a bottom dweller in terms of payroll and win the World Series. It’s certainly an advantage to have the highest payroll, but it determines nothing, especially if you have bad management utilizing those resources. The most exciting thing to me about the direction Cashman set in 2005 was the two-pronged approach of both targeting elite free agents AND developing a farm system that can fill the needs of the roster for injuries, trades and everyday players. It’s something he referred to at the WFAN Breakfast as “operating like the Twins with a Yankee budget”. No more headache for headache deals, no more locking in to long term deals to unathletic players who don’t figure to age well. The Yankee financial edge should allow them to deal from a position of strength, and it’s good to see the Yanks have an ownership and management team that maximizes that position.
There’s a term on Wall Street called ‘best practices’ where you analyze who outperforms in their industry and how they do it. The Yanks have long been the industry standard from a financial standpoint, and they are developing a similar reputation on the player development side as well.