While there have definitely been growing pains, the New York Yankees youth movement has been an unqualified success in the second half.
This current iteration of the New York Yankees have almost nothing in common to the group that limped to a 52-52 record over the first four months of the season before being sold for parts at the August 1st trade deadline.
The Yankees have made the bold decision to trust their farm system down the stretch, promoting top prospects Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin and giving them regular roles in the lineup.
The rebuild has gotten off to a torrid start. The Yankees have played their best baseball of the season since the trade deadline, going 22-13 in that span. After a five game win streak, New York finds themselves nine games over .500 for the first time this season and just two games out from the second Wild Card. That’s the closest they’ve been to holding down a playoff spot since April.
After Tyler Austin’s opposite field, walk-off solo shot in the ninth inning of New York’s 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday, Joe Girardi seemed in awe of what the Baby Bombers have brought to the table the last month-plus, telling Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media,
It’s amazing what these kids have been able to do for us. [Austin] had a big home run the other night against Toronto and he has another one. It’s hard to explain.
The “transition period” (as the team’s front office likes to call it) hasn’t been without its bumps and bruises. Judge, Sanchez, and Austin have all gone through extended slumps since their promotions, but there have also been flashes of brilliance along the way.
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To the Yankees credit, they have allowed their rookies to struggle without consequences, even in the midst of a playoff race. The real goal here is to build this team into a perennial contender. The lessons these young players are learning in pressure-filled, meaningful September games are invaluable.
Even if the team ultimately falls short of the playoffs this year, this run has been incredibly fun to watch. New York needs to stay the course with this crop of promising players, letting them grow together and fail this season if need be.