Recently we have seen the Cubs and Red Sox rebuild with great success largely through their farm systems. Both suffered last place seasons and derived the benefits of having several top #1 draft picks. Now it’s the Yankees turn. What’s fascinating is that they are trying to do it while staying competitive. No last place finishes for them. In fact, they have yet to be under .500. It is to their credit that they have finally changed strategy and have decided to scrap the tedious philosophy of bringing in veteran overrated, overpaid stars while selling the idea that salaries and reputations in themselves will result in dynastic glory. Obviously not. Now Yankee management is selling winning based mostly on youth. Great, but let’s be careful here. Let’s look at some world class future Hall of Fame Yankee prospects that ultimately did not have any real impact.
At the end of 1966 the Yankee offense was dismal. Bill Robinson was a top stud outfield can’t miss prospect who they acquired from Atlanta for institution Clete Boyer. Robinson was given a THREE year chance to start without any demotions. He failed miserably capping off a disastrous third season by hitting .171. Bill couldn’t even see the Mendoza Line with binoculars. Forget about getting to it. Other stud prospects from that era who made the majors, but fell well short of expectations were Whitaker, Kenney, Ferraro, Blomberg, Ellis, Fernandez, Hegan, Burbach, and many others who never sniffed a major league game.
So, let’s get more current. According to Baseball America’s rankings of the yearly Top 100 Prospects, the Yanks have had four prospects ranked #3 or higher: Brien Taylor, Ruben Rivera, Joba Chamberlain and Jesus Montero. Taylor blew out his shoulder in a bar fight. Rivera was a potential next Mantle, who proved to be an immature underachieving bust. Chamberlain and Montero have never come close to projections. I mean, that’s hard to do – four elite prospects all of whom never made any lasting impact on the Yanks.
To offset the Yankee misses, there have been the Core Four and Bernie Williams. There have been a few others as well. So, it truly can be hit or miss regardless of a top ranking. Today’s Yanks need to be very careful with their top kids. And they better have plenty of them. With the likes of Torres, Frazier, Rutherford, Mateo, Kaprielian, Judge, Sheffield, Adams, Abreu, Sanchez, Bird and Severino, we’re talking about some very high end prospects. And there are more. There is great hope. By design, there is also great risk and some inevitable disappointment. Yankee fans have every reason to be excited by their farm system. But let’s not forget for every young player who has all-star potential in him, there’s probably another who has Bill Robinson potential in him. Where is Bill now anyway? At home living next door to Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens and Kevin “No” Maas.
-Celebrity Post By Mark Jelléy