Saturday, June 14, 2014

"Yankees 1" and "Yankees 2:" A sign of - gasp - hope?

Next week, the Gulf Coast League opens. Whoopee. It's basically kids who are still sobering up from high school graduation parties, or else who vaulted from the military eugenics labs that churn out the Bryce Harpers - and, of course, Francisco Cervelli, who is always rehabbing from some malady.

Last year, the Yankees did something new: They fielded two Gulf Coast League teams, "Yankees 1" and "Yankees 2." (Not a lot of p.r. creativity there, eh?) On a given day, when the Yankee teams collided, we could not lose. God, it was magnificent! When I am dying someday, I hereby request to spend my final hours watching "Yankees 1" play "Yankees 2," knowing that the universe is ours, and all the players on the field are under Yankee control. Ahh, just thinking about it lowers my blood pressure.

But I believe it will prove to be a great advantage. Let me give an example.

Last season, Yankees 1 and 2 basically played four shortstops. First, there was Abiatal Avelino, now 19, a 5'11 kid from the Dominica, who split time with both teams. He hit .303. He's considered a solid prospect. Great speed. This year - though Abi is currently hurt - he's hit .294 at Charleston.

Then there was Tyler Wade, also 19, a 6'1 California kid, who hit .303 last season. He's also at Charleston, sharing time with Avelino and hitting .270. He's hanging in there, making the most of his chances.

Thairo Estrada, 18, a 5'10 Venezuelan, who hit .278 last year. Again, he received a lot of playing time. He'll start at Staten Island this weekend.

Finally, there was Austin Aune - a golden boy quarterback from Texas who we drafted in the second round of 2012 and lured away from Texas Christian.  He sucked - batted only two points higher than his weight - .190 - and fanned 72 times. He's also headed for Staten Island, hoping to play the outfield and salvage his career. Another year like 2013, and he might think about football.

If the Yankees had one team in the GCL last season, Aune probably would have devoured most of the playing time, because of our investment in him. The others would have either played second base or not at all. The Yankees got to sift through young players, and the players got to see what professional baseball is like.

Even when the Yankees didn't play each other, this was truly a no-lose operation.

This year, the Yankees are doing it again - two teams. It's smart, it's cagey, and though the results won't evolve for maybe four years, it's an advantage destined to pay off.

We rip the Yankees management often. So let's give them credit here. I just wish we could sponsor another Class A team. Imagine: Yankees 1 and Yankees 2 - in the majors! What a great and glorious world it would be! But that piss-pot Selig would probably whine.

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