By Rich Bauer
For the past few months whenever anyone talked or wrote about the Yankees and the 2017 season the youth movement came up early and often. Greg Bird this, Gary Sanchez that and the minor league system is one of the best in baseball.
Well I guess veterans Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, CC Sabathia and Chase Headley said, “hey, what about us?”. They have let their play on the field do their talking for them. Each in their own way has stepped up, playing with an edge and contributing big to the Yanks fast start.
Me personally, after the performances of this group last year, I was frustrated, out of patience and ready for them to move on and out much sooner than later.
The biggest surprise is Chase Headley who has become famous for slow starts in April but who has gotten off to a quick start this year. Headley is hitting a strong .395 and is tied for the most multi-hit games in the majors with seven. Right behind him is the highly over-paid Ellsbury with 15 hits and an OBA of .367.
Ellsbury and Brett Gardner have combined to add a new dimension for the Yanks, one we have not seen in years and that is base stealing. The Bombers are among the leaders in stolen bases in the major leagues. Throw in 18 home runs and you have a great combo: speed and the long ball.
There are plenty of questions still buzzing around the starting pitching staff but Sabathia, the senior vet, has done his best to squash any concerns about himself. With a 2-0 record, an ERA of 1.47 plus total control and confidence on the mound I can only pray he holds up for 180 innings for the season. By the way the initials CC stand for Carsten Charles just in case you were wondering.
I know the Yankees will not play to a .690 winning percentage for the entire season but I do know that it is much easier to lead by example and that is exactly what these Yankee veterans are doing. Leadership comes with individual success. Combine that with the potential talent of the Baby Bombers and we have the makings of plenty of fun in the Bronx this season.
One last thing to add in your prayers is that this group can stay healthy and continue to make these contributions on the field as well in the clubhouse.