Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Have we all been doing Brian Cashman a grave injustice???


Perusing our 2021 organizational statistics in these lockout days, searching for any last, stray vestige of hope, I came across this surprising fact:

In 2021, the combined record of your New York Yankees' farm teams was 388-264, .595—a higher percentage than that for the Yanks' system in any recent season and perhaps anytime, ever, though records are woefully incomplete.  

Of the club's 6 farm teams, every one had a winning record, and 4—the Somerset Patriots in the Double-A Northeast League, the Hudson Valley Renegades in the High-A East League, the unfortunately monikered Tampa Tarpons in the Low-A Southeast League (oh, the romance of these new minor leagues!), and the Florida Complex League Yankees, in the Florida It's Complicated League—all finished first. 

Could we have been unfair to our favorite rappelling, street-sleeping elf? Could Brian Cashman have quietly, cunningly built a cracker-jack farm system right under our noses? Could the Yanks really be loaded for bear, and Red Sock, and Ray, in the years just ahead?

OR...could it be that their record just looks better because the Yanks are playing older, more experienced guys in many of these minor-league affiliates?  

In other words, is it the real thing, or is it just fantasy? Is it live, or is it Memorex? 

Let's take a look!

In 2021, the average ages for position players first, then pitchers, were as follows at each Yankees farm club:

Scranton (AAA):  26.7  26.9

Somerset (AA):  23.5  24.6

Hudson Valley (High A): 22.6  23.6

Tampa (Low A): 21.6  22.4

FCL Yankees: 20.4  21.1

Dominican Summer League Yankees 1:  18.6  19.1

Dominican Summer League Yankees 2:  18.8  19.2

So, how does this compare with 2017, the recent gold standard, when not only our boys in the Bronx revived, but so did the whole system? Back when life was tender and no one wept except the willow, filling our heads (all right, my head), with thoughts of a dynasty in the borning? 

In 2017, of the Yanks' 9 farm teams com, 5—Scranton, Trenton, Tampa, Staten Island, and one of their Gulf Coast League teams—finished first, and one, Pulaski, grabbed a title in the playoffs.  

These were average ages:

Scranton (AAA):  25.1  25.2

Trenton (AA):  23.4  23.5

Tampa (High A):  23.0  23.3

Charleston (Low A):  20.4  22.1

Staten Island (Low A):  21.5  22.2

Pulaski (Rookie):  19.5  21.7

Gulf Coast League Yankees West:  19.2  20.6

Gulf Coast League Yankees East:  19.2  20.3

Dominican Summer League Yankees:  17.8  18.5

And there you have it. Sadly, it seems that this year's high-flying, over-achieving, Wonder Farm System is (yet another) Cashman mirage. Hell, the average age at Scranton got so high I suspect half the team was already checking into the best way to fill the Medicare hole that Joe Namath is always telling us about.

At almost every level in 2021, the Yankees got "better" by simply stocking the pond with older players, many of whom had already shot their bolt. 

Not to mention the fact, of course, that they once again followed the herd in MLB, by eliminating one-third of their farm teams, and doubling down on young players in the DR—although, if you'll note, even their Dominican players got older. Yet another economy designed almost wholly to fatten Steinbrenner bank accounts.

That 2017 system never did quite live up to its promise. But it did include the likes of Miggy, Higgy, Gleyber Torres, Nasty Nestor Cortes, Domingo German, Thairo Estrada, Mike Ford, Dustin Fowler, Clint Fowler, Chad Green, Loaisiga, McBroom(!), McKinney, Jordan Montgomery, Brigadoon Refsnyder, Justus Sheffield, Tyler Wade, and Garret Whitlock—among others.

It's amazing how many of these players we managed to squander or ruin. But hey, at least the talent was there.

Today? Well, we've got Volpe and the Oswalds (already patented for my garage-band name), Cabrera and Peraza, and that's about it, folks. Not a truly promising pitcher in the whole system. 

Back to wondering if there will be a season in 2022. Back to wondering if that will matter.





JM said...

It's the end of the world and we're all gonna die.

That's how I'm feeling as a Yankees fan going into 2022.

Come to think of it, it's kind of how I'm feeling in general.

Doug K. said...

"Well, we've got Volpe and the Oswalds (already patented for my garage-band name), Cabrera and Peraza, and that's about it, folks. Not a truly promising pitcher in the whole system."

Yes, great name for a band. And well written as usual.

I agree overall but that said, where's our favorite Martian, Jasson Dominguez? Not that he'll pan out but he does exist, as does potential closer Ken Waldichuk and Luis Gil (Who will also not pan out.)

And what about the intersection of RHPs Brendon Beck and Beck Way our 14th and 22nd ranked prospects? I don't know if they are good but this was fun to type.

We will be fine as long as you define "fine" as mediocre. The continuation of our streak of consecutive winning seasons is assured.

HoraceClarke66 said...

We actually DO have a Beck Way!!! I am fervently hoping he makes the big club; the jokes will abound.

Can't find Brendon Beck, Doug. When did we draft him?

HoraceClarke66 said...

And you're right, Gil and Waldichuk COULD make it.

As for the Martian, well, let's just say that he's playing for time, jivin' us that he is voodoo.

Doug K. said...



EDB said...

The Genius, NEVER! This guy has gotten away with murder for years. Allowed a scouting firm in Japan to scout Kei Igawa and then threw money at him. Signed a strength and training coach who told Yankee players not to stretch and that resulted in multiple pulled hamstrings. Extended Barren Hick's contract. Signed many awful starting pitchers(carl Pavano, Javier Vazquez and brought him back a second time. Allowed the Yankee batting order to be primarily right-handed. Listens to analytics rhetoric from Mike Fishman religiously. Supports Manager Kumbaya at all costs. I understand it was Cheapskate Hal and Good Looking Randy Levine who were responsible for Mt. Softee Ellsbury. And yes, the Genius has made some good moves. It is time for a change. EDB

EDB said...

Thanks, Horace. I had to add that you were right on about the average ages at Scranton. The Genius also picks up lots of stiffs to fill out the Scranton Roster. Rob Brantly is back. Oh boy! And Cashman loved Joey "No Touch DE Ball" Gallo. EDB

HoraceClarke66 said...

Thanks, guys.

And I guess I should've just summed up Cashman's vision for the organization as, "Older, Fewer Players."