Thursday, February 2, 2017

Keith Law makes a Yankee prospect list. But what are these things, anyway?

Behind the Trumpian, secretive ESPN firewall, strange and stranger things happen. The Bristol laboratory is believed to harbor a porthole to the upside-down, where bad teams have the top farms, and a demi-gorgon named Keith Law prowls the Connecticut darkness, making lists. This week, "K-Law" (nineties nickname) unveiled his Top 10 Yankee Prospects list, which basically mirrors all the others.

The 2017 list of "K-Law"

1. Gleyber Torres
2. Blake Rutherford 
Clint Frazier 
James Kaprielian
Aaron Judge 
Justus Sheffield
Jorge Mateo
Tyler Wade
Chance Adams
Miguel Andujar

Every one a future star, right? Let's hope. In the meantime, let's step back two years - 2015, the year of the Paris Climate Accords, the Iran Nuke deal and the Trans-Pacific Partnership! Yes, there is cause for hope everywhere - especially in the Yankees farm system! 

The 2015 list of "K-Law."

1. Aaron Judge 
2. Greg Bird 
3. Gary Sanchez  
4. Luis Severino 
5. Tyler Austin 
6. Jorge Mateo 
7. Domingo German 
8. Ian Clarkin 
9. Luis Torrens 
10. Eric Jagielo


Little has changed, right? I mean, the jury is still deliberating, and they're order more pizza. Gary Sanchez looks like a star, but last year's two-month splurge is still within the boundaries of Maas Country. Judge, Bird, Sanchez, Severino, Austin... it's been two years, and we still dunno nurhin. German, Jagielo and Torrens (rule 5 draft) are gone. Mateo is Mateo, seemingly as far, far away now as he was then.

The fact is, most of these prospects have been around so long that the Yankees are marketing them as regulars. The fan base knows more about Mateo than Matt Holliday.  

As I look at these lists, one conclusion seeps out: To build via prospects takes a shitload of time. It doesn't happen in a two-month period following the trade deadline. The Cubs, Royals, Nats and Mets were wretched for years before becoming powers. Boston twice finished last. Last summer, the Yankees tried to jump start the process with a wholesale sell-off. They certainly aren't the first franchise to do so. Frankly, they are almost the last.

In theory, his should be the make or break year for Judge, Bird, Severino and Austin. But let's not kid ourselves. We're still kicking the tires on Aaron Hicks, age 27. If these guys flounder - and surely, a few will - we could find ourselves in the same spot next January, still trying to find out, as President Landslide says, what the hell is goin' on? 

But but BUT... The Yankees are on track to figure everything out by 2019. By then, the real Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier - and the whole crew - will have stepped forward. Redemption is two years away. 

Let's face it, when spring comes, everybody looks like a star. But get comfortable, comrades, because rebuilding is a long hard slog. We are six months into year one. 


Local Bargain Jerk said...

Has anyone ever seen lefty Ian Clarkin pitch? What was the basis for including him on a Top 10 list? The writer only had 9 and he needed one more?

Anonymous said...

The Master will be making a speaking appearance at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale on Feb 7 @ 2:00. The guest moderator is Jeffrey Lyons, former host of the Lyons Den.

el duque said...

He'll be giving a lecture, no doubt. I've heard it's like a college campus.

I'm Bill White said...

I don't want to alarm anyone, but this speaking appearance is not listed on the "Upcoming Events" page. In fact, February looks like a pretty slow month on the Hebrew Home Events front. Yes, I could make the argument--an ironic one at that--that The Master does not advertise his Hebrew Home appearances. After all, some things are not for sale, and this is on The Master's personal time. In other musings, my biggest regret of the off-season is that The Master was not on an episode of the Bear Grylls celebrity survival show. If not now, when? Better yet, I think a joint appearance by John and Suz would have killed it.

Anonymous said...

Wow - - I heard the Holland Home is looking for great speakers - - especially Pro Boner, or whatever....maybe the Master could make some time for the Old Dutchies, too - - my in-laws would probably love it. (They'd love President Landslide even better, be he won't be caught in IL, any time soon)....
The Bear needs to schedule The Master in the OFF-season (although some would say, since 2010, they've ALWAYS been "OFF-seasons"). LB (No J)