The Yankees have matched, and perhaps exceeded expectations to date. The Yankees are in first place with a 37-17 record and a .685 winning percentage. No team owns a better record.
There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic, especially when you consider the depth and farm system of this team. Here are a couple of thoughts as the team braces for June.
1. Potential Trade With The St. Louis Cardinals
If you told me that the Yankees would receive poor results from Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray in the first two months, I would not have predicted at .685 winning percentage. However, the poor pitching results have been mitigated by an unbelievable offense.
This unsurprisingly brings up the question of what the Yankees will do at the trade deadline. The starting pitching, even with the eventual return of Jordan Montgomery, is still a significant weakness that needs to be addressed. The Yankees have the prospects and depth to make just about any deal happen.
The Yankees should target a true difference maker, or at the very least, a young pitcher that is controllable for the foreseeable future. Jaime Garcia is not going to cut it. Madison Baumgarner and Jacob DeGrom have been the big names mentioned of late, but these players will be tough to acquire due to pure availability.
It is interesting to envision a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals though. The team is filled with starting pitchers, and they could really use infield help. What about creating a package involving one of the many Yankee infielders for Carlos Martinez or Jack Flaherty? Acquiring a player like Martinez is more of a dream, and would require the Cardinals to be out of contention. Flaherty might be more reasonable though, perhaps even more realistic than DeGrom or Baumgarner.
Flaherty is just 22-years-old, and he has been recently ranked as the number 53 prospect in all of baseball. This season, he has posted a 2.62 ERA through only 34 innings (6 starts), and he has four pitches that are average to above average. Flaherty will not overpower hitters like Baumgarner or DeGrom, but it is not hard to imagine a career like Jose Quintana. I am very high on Flaherty, and I think he could be an exciting acquisition.
2. Rookie(s) of The Month
Did you think you could read this without hearing about how great Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar have been? Torres was recently named the AL Rookie of the Month for May, and during that time, he batted .317/.374/.659 with a 1.032 OPS. He drove in 24 runs in 24 games. The 23-year-old Andujar, on the other hand, has batted an impressive .294/.317/.529 with a .830 OPS since being called up. His 26 extra base hits lead all rookies.
So let’s take a moment to remember when fans were concerned about second and third base at the beginning of the season. Remember when Torres looked rusty in spring training? All of a sudden, Neil Walker is on the bench, and Brandon Drury is in AAA, while the two rookies make the headlines at the MLB level.
Brian Cashman deserves so much credit for what’s happening. The lineup is young, cheap (by Yankee standards), and the best in baseball. Few teams are going to have as much success as the Yankees in the next five to ten years, and the rookie performances are just a microcosm of that. Cashman’s role in building this team cannot be emphasized enough. Excellent performance by the rookies, and as usual, outstanding performance by Cashman.
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