Last night, the Mediocre Empire lost. Again.
Should we care? I dunno. Those invisible fans sitting behind home plate sure don't. When the A's tied the game, I switched to Netflix and watched Lilyhammer. I felt like a crime boss who'd been given a new identity. Yep. I closed my eyes and went to... Norway... No, Trenton, I mean TRENTON. Yeah, I checked box scores.
Listen: Forget Yankee Stadium. Forget Alfonso Soriano. Forget Vidal Nuno. Think: Trenton.
It's all happening across the river.
Look at that lineup. Only one guy over age 27! (That's Sanchez, a Cuban, who is 28, going on whatever. Forgetaboutm.) Compared to past Trenton lineups, that's pre-school.
We have two fading STYUD's (That is: "Still Too Young to Utterly Dismiss") in Mason "Classical Gas" Williams and Tyler Austin "City Limits." Williams recently was benched, I suspect, to reboot his disillusionment; he was hitting .190. Austin homered last night - only his 2nd; he's recovering from a Teixeira wrist and - sadly, it seems - still looking for a position. He plays 3B, RF and 1B. Can't say either of them looks so promising anymore. But once upon a time, Baseball America - "BA" - loved them. And they are still too young to utterly dismiss. They are both 22.
We have an over-achiever in Ben Gamel, who BA ignores, but who simply hits. He is 22, too. We have our "Number One Baseball America Prospect" in Gary Sanchez, 21, the heir apparent to Jesus Montero. Unfortunately, Sanchez' greatest pro achievement is still his bonus, the largest ever given by the Yankees to a Latino (at that time.)
Ah, but then there are the Wonder Boys - Pete O'Brien and Robert Refsnyder.
Bloggers have gushed about them, so I won't rehash Wikipedia. O'Brien, 24, has 21 HRs this year. Good grief, when was the last time a Yankee farmhand who was not Shelley Duncan, hit 35 HRs? They're playing him everywhere, trying to find a position. (That's a good sign, by the way; remember when they insisted that Jesus Montero would only catch, because they wanted his value to be high? As in... "his trade value?" Shouldn't we have considered that to be a red flag? Should we now consider it to be a red flag with their insistence on keeping Sanchez behind the plate? I dunno. Just asking.) O'Brien is listed at 6'3" and 215. He strikes out too much, doesn't walk enough. But all that hope I don't have for Alfonso Soriano... I have it for O'Brien. And it feels great.
Refsnyder, 23, looks like a hitter. This is his second full season of pro ball. He was drafted out of college in June 2012, went straight to Charleston and booted a barge-load of routine grounders. He's improved ever since, and apparently made himself into a viable 2B. Over the last two weeks, he's been the second coming of Joe Morgan.
O'Brien recently was jumped to Trenton. I doubt the Yankees will barnstorm him, so he'll probably stick in Chris Christie's orbit at least until September, then who knows? But Refsnyder is running out of traffic cones to relocate. To jump him to Scranton, the Yankees must move Jose Pirela - (see post below). They could trade Pirela - probably for not much or - my preference -waive Brian Roberts, (unless he starts hitting soon... like TONIGHT.)
My fear? That Brian Cashman - under pressure to boost YES ratings - will go Bowe Bergdahl on the organization and trade five guys for the 2014 version of Denny Neagle. But let's give Cash credit: For all his foibles, he has tried to stay away from a big ticket trashing of our farm system. He hasn't traded a Drabek, a McGriff, or a Buhner. Fingers crossed. Let's hope he keeps our hopes alive. Otherwise, I strongly suggest Lilyhammer.