July 19, 2014

The Once and Future Yankees

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored blog post.

The Yankees’ nearly two decades of baseball dominance and their run of nine straight division titles (1998-2006) was all about top notch home grown talent. Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, and The Captain, Derek Jeter, all came up through the Yankees farm system. Flashy free agent signings over the same period of time, like Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina, CC Sabathia, and Alex Rodriguez got huge headlines, and were no doubt huge contributors–and still are in the case of Sabathia and A-Rod – but if not for the core group of Yankees prospects turned Yankees stars, the World Series titles wouldn’t have come.

We’ve also been reminded about the importance of good drafts and the cultivation of young talent down in the system by the recent success in Kansas City, with last year’s World Series champions boasting that five of their eight regulars in the field had only ever been a Royal. Although it's worth happily noting that as things sit currently with the oddsmakers at https://sports.betway.com, the Yankees are favored ahead of the two-time American League champions in Kansas City to win this year's World Series.

So, with the future core of another Yankees dynasty in mind, let’s take a look at the newest batch of New York-bound youngsters – the 2016 New York Yankee Draft Class.

First round pick Blake Rutherford has the powerful left-handed swing that is sure to make him a favorite in Yankee Stadium. As an older than average senior in high school (he turned 19 in May) Rutherford hit .577. He comes with good speed, a great batting eye, and the ability to spray the ball to all fields. The one and only concern is that he has committed to play at UCLA next year. But most experts agree that the promise of cash and the chance to wear pinstripes will probably change his mind. Rutherford currently plays centerfield, but his developing powerful bat is most likely to land him in either right of left.

2nd round pick Nick Solak is a great bat without a true position. He bounced around the field at Louisville, and almost by default that makes him a second baseman. But his speed may help him find an eventual home in center field. Regardless of where he ends up on the diamond, there’s no question that he can hit. His power is lacking, but his consistent line drive contact is not. Most scouts regarded him as one of the better pure hitters in all of college baseball.

Third round pick Nolan Martinez is definitely a long term prospect. Only 17 years old, and at a slight 6-foot-2, 165 pounds, he has some growing and developing still to do. A fastball in the low 90s and a solid curveball, he conservatively projects to be near the back end of the starting rotation.

The Yankees used their fourth round pick on the best hitter on his Florida junior college team, Nick Nelson. But as a Yankee he will be a pitcher. He posted big strikeout numbers on the mound this past season and scouts agree that once he gets settled into just one position, his obvious talent will begin to refine.

But that is the future of the Yankees. For the present, we keep our eyes focused on the ultra-competitive American League East.

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored blog post.

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