In my 12 years covering the Staten Island Yankees I have seen a total of 66 former Baby Bombers make the show. Many of them only getting a brief stint, some like Robinson Cano have stuck and made a name for themselves in major league baseball.
There is a certain thrill you get when you see a player you have seen start their career here make the show. Earlier this year I was lucky enough to see Chase Whitley’s major league debut from the Delta club at Citi Field. Believe it or not it was the first time I was actually at a MLB debut of one of the players I covered in Staten Island and it was not on purpose. Every year my father and I take in a few games at Citi Field, my father is a life-long Mets fan and there is nothing better than watching a ball game with my dad. It is one of the few chances we get to sit and score a ballgame together and talk about the game. That particular game we were sitting in front of several Mets scouts who were impressed with Whitley’s debut.
This year seems to be the year of a reluctant youth movement for the New York Yankees. Whether it was Chase Whitley, David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, or many of the other young players; the big club has been benefiting greatly by youth. Who could forget the amazing run that Yangervis Solarte has had this year? A few years ago that would have been a signing that would have saw him just taking a spot in AAA while a past-their-prime veteran took the field in the Bronx.
But for the youth movement to be successful the Yankees need to take a page from the Mets playbook. Let the kids play, and let them work through their issues at the MLB level. The Yankees cannot just send guys like Solarte down because he is in a slump, would you do that with a veteran? Obviously not since Brendan Ryan, Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts are still on the team. If it was me, I would rather have seen Corban Joseph get a shot at second at the MLB level. Yes I know he is not the top prospect he once was but I don’t think he could have done worse than what we have had.
The other day, my colleague wrote that the Yankees should deal from their strength of catchers. I agree. I cannot help but think guys like Francsisco Cervelli or Austin Romine could be better off with another team. However, don’t deal them for veterans. Get a young second baseman or a young shortstop. Maybe even a young pitcher. Someone who can grow into the next Yankee great.
One of the worst mistakes the Yankees made this past off season was not protecting Tom Kahnle. Kahnle has proven himself at the MLB level this year with the Rockies. This year the Yankees need to protect Danny Burawa from the Rule 5 draft, if they don’t another team will pick him up and give him a shot. Danny is one of many at AAA that deserve a shot at the majors. I personally would wish the Yankees give Pat Venditte a shot.