Welcome to the Baby Bomber Era
The Yankees are experiencing a youth movement for the first time in a while and there are quite a few “Baby Bombers” with high expectations. Over the next few blogs, I will review a few of these players, where they stand and what can be expected.
For Part 4, we will talk about a few more Baby Bombers that are working their way to the Majors.
Blake Rutherford appears to be a blue chip prospect. At 6’3, this 19 year old outfielder from California was drafted by the Yankees with the 18th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. He has all the tools you would hope for from an outfielder. In his limited time in the minors since being drafted, he has hit for high average and walked a ton. Scouts rave about his speed and range in the outfield and although there has been concern about his arm strength, he is actively working to improve that attribute. During the offseason, he worked out with Marlins star Christian Yelich and he stated that he models his game off of Yelich’s. That sounds good to me. He is still a baby (he was born in 1997), so there will be more minor league games in his immediate future. However, a player with these budding skills and strong mental composure could breeze through the minors. If he continues to develop at a fast pace, the Yankees may call him up in September to get a taste of the big leagues and he could have a chance to make the team next season. A less optimistic prediction would suggest we will see him with the Yanks by 2019.
Jorge Mateo was signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2012 at only 16 years old. At 6’0, he is a nice size for a shortstop. The first thing worth talking about with Mateo is his speed. He has blazing speed. He can get from the right side of the plate to first base in less than four seconds. MLB.com ranked Mateo as having the best speed in the minors for two straight years and he has a total of 192 stolen bases in his 337 minor league games thus far. The other areas of his game have steadily improved as he has advanced from the Rookie League to Class A including his batting average and last year his home run total. Scouts feel that his speed will help him both with defensive range and with extra base hits. The Yankees are rich with shortstops within the organization so there is potential for him to switch infield positions at some point. Regardless of any other player, Gleyber Torres will probably always be ahead of him on the depth chart at shortstop. He could be called up earlier due to his elite speed but Yankees fans will probably have to wait until next year to see him in pinstripes and he may not see extended playing time until 2019 at the earliest.
Chance Adams is a 22 year old starting pitcher that unlike many other baby bombers covered in this series, was not a high draft choice. Selected in the 5th round in the 2015 MLB draft, Adams stands at 6’1 and has pitched well in his two years spent in the minors compiling a 2.11 ERA with 207 strikeouts in 179 innings. Originally used as a reliever, the Yankees made him a starter in 2016 and he had a lot of success finishing with a 13-1 record. He still has some kinks to work out in the minors as he walked 3.1 batters per 9 innings at Double-A last season and he has begun 2017 with a BB/9 over 3 again, despite it being a short sample size. With the Yankees’ need for starting pitching and top pitching prospect James Kaprielian going down with Tommy John surgery, Adams could find himself making his Major League debut this season and if he has success, he could stick around for a while. If the walk rate decreases, he could be an All Star. Time will tell.
About the Author
Bryan Revello is the Editor in Chief for New York Sportscene. A New York Yankees analyst and enthusiast, he can be heard talking about New York Yankees baseball on the Spadora on Sports radio program on Sports Byline USA stations around the USA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.