Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Posted by el duque at 5:56 AM
But wait: There is genuine hope: The Yankiverse can feel hopeful about the futures of Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams and Ben Gamel - each a worthy potential 5th outfielder and 24th man on the roster. (No. 25 always belongs to some bullpen rag arm.) We've had far worse depth in Triple A, and if you don't believe me, think Melky Mesa.
That said, forgetaboutem. Likewise, forget A-Rod, Tex, CC and every other Yankee over 30, because if Food Stamps Steinbrenner is merely biding time until they're all off the books, why shouldn't we, as well? Ah, if it were only so simple! Unlike Shallow Hal, who puts a price on Yankee victories, we fans have no choice but to march along. But I believe only one guy in the Yankiverse really matters this year, and for all the discussion he generates, most bloggers aren't talking about him this winter, because they're terrified that he'll turn out to be a bust.
He is, of course, Aaron Judge. Three years ago, he was a first round pick. He is the size of an NFL defensive end or an NBA power forward: Six feet seven, two hundred and seventy five pounds. He'll be the biggest OF in Yankee history, bigger than Dave Winfield, bigger than Shelley Duncan, bigger than Henry Cotto and Alvaro Espino on piggyback. He'll turn 24 in late April. He blasted through the low minors like a hollow-point bullet and reached Scranton last July. Six feet seven, two hundred and seventy five pounds. Does that give you an erection? Six feet seven, two hundred and seventy five pounds. Do you feel it? Six feet seven, two hundred and seventy five pounds. Yep, you read that right. Six feet seven, two hundred and seventy five pounds. And then, you know what he did in Scranton?
Yes. Six feet seven, two hundred and seventy five pounds of suck. Judge played in 61 games at Scranton and hit a measly .224. with eight HRs. He had blown through Trenton - 12 HRs and .284 - causing everybody to assume he'd do the same at Triple A. Well, didn't happen. So now what?
Wait... let me type it again. Six feet seven, two hundred and seventy five pounds. That's him. He bats RH, strikes out too much, has a strike zone bigger than Tom Cruise (so does everyone, btw, the guy is short) and he hasn't begun to touch his power potential. But Judge has the highest ceiling in the Yankee system. Six feet seven inches tall. He will be a great star or great disappointment. It's that simple.
So let's dream. If Judge is the real deal, the bacon, the buttered toast, we can fantasize a 2020 Yankee lineup featuring baseball's two greatest sluggers - Bryce Harper in CF and Judge in RF. It would be the Second Coming of Mantle and Maris, Mickey and Roger, the two Yankee sluggers who brought me into this world. If Harper and Judge could play to age 40, they might outlast my lifetime. So be it. Ashes to ashes, bats to bats.
This season, we will probably learn the future of Aaron Judge. We'll know if he is to be a star, or if he will disappear into the firmament. Get a good seat. It should be interesting.