FIFTY THOUSAND MOONS
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Posted by el duque at 7:00 AM
Yes, Amos Otis. The Elevator.
Sherman, set the Wayback to 1969. Otis was the future of the Mets, a 22-year-old CF who had failed in his first incarnation, at 20. He comes up, hits below .200, and is dealt to Kansas City for the great Joe Foy. As a Royal, Otis blossoms, epitomizing a common event in the 1970s and 1980s - the former hot prospect who is a bust with the first team, then explodes in another setting. Randy Johnson, for example. The decades were full of them, and the Yankees - think Doug Drabek, Jay Buhner, et al - led the way in giving them away.
But then GM's began to wise-up. Nobody wanted to be the guy who traded Jeff Bagwell for Larry Andersen, a player whose name in Boston remains synonymous with a bucket of fried chicken. But the trades still happen. And Cashman is sifting for his Amos Otis.
Last year, he pried loose Didi Gregorius from Arizona. Gregorius started horribly, then did very well. If he further evolves, he could be a star.
Here are the Yankee Darwinian Hopes for 2016:
1. Aaron Hicks, former Twins first-round pick. He's 25, hits both ways, is solid defensively, and has Paul Molitor as a fan. To get him, we gave up John Ryan Murphy - who could turn out to be the one that got-away. If Hicks evolves...
2. Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi. We all know them by now. They should be hitting their peak years. They've both flashed signs. Maybe we've already seen all there is to see. If either evolves...
3. Dustin Ackley, former Mariners' first-rounder. We got him at the trade deadline. This is the guy who disappeared when Robbie Cano came to town. He was supposed to be the next Dustin Pedroia. He is NOT the next Pedroia. But if he evolves...
4. Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, former top Yankee prospects. Basically, they are the same player - (25 and 24, respectively) - fast, injury-prone, LH bats who play good defense, might hit .280 and maybe 15 HRs. For either to evolve, somebody has to get hurt. What are the chances of that happening...?
5. Luis Severino. Saved the best for last. Practically every hopeful 2016 projection involves this guy evolving into a top starter. He's 22. Two weeks ago, we were stunned by the news that Greg Bird will miss the season. The only thing more disheartening would be an injury to Severino. If he evolves...
I'd say for the Yankees to win the division, three of the above seven names has to make that step. Of course, there are many other factors. But if someone evolves... the elevator will be going up.