Sure, Didi Gregorius‘s first home run was a lot of fun, and it was also exciting to get a first glimpse of new Yankee Matt Holliday. We also learned Bryan Mitchell can still pitch and Brett Gardner can still field.
But in the Spring opener, it was the kids in the farm system that took front and center. Aaron Judge hit a towering home run that left the ballpark, Miguel Andujar showed off his base running skills, Kyle Higashioka hit his first home run of the Spring in his first at-bat, and Clint Frazier showed off his bat speed.
It was only February, and it will be awhile before most of these kids are ready to play in the Majors–obviously I’m not counting Judge since he’s in competition for a big-league job. But there was something special about watching the kids giving us a glimpse into the future.
It probably helped the kids were wearing Yankees pinstripes since it was the first game at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
This year the roster is going to consist of a mix of veterans and youngsters, ranging from longest tenured Yankee Brett Gardner to the kid expected to take Mark Teixeira‘s first base job, Greg Bird. Gone are the days where the kids would show up to camp knowing they won’t get a job, and it was only a matter of time before they were sent across the street to minor-league camp.
The kids are now at George M. Steinbrenner Field with something to prove. If they play well now, there’s a good chance they’ll reach the Major League’s at some capacity over the course of the season. Management is going to remember what they did and reward them when an injury hits or a veteran isn’t hitting.
We might be a season away from Frazier or a few months from James Kaprielian, but the kids are coming. And the Yankees are going to be a more dangerous ball club because of it.