By Sweeny Murti
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A week ago, Tyler Wade, Miguel Andujar and Dustin Fowler were minor leaguers. Now they are Yankees, expected to help the team stay afloat as they recover from a rash of injuries.
Wade and Andujar both got their first major league hits Wednesday night in the Yankees’ 12-3 win over the White Sox, and Fowler will join them in uniform Thursday.
Let’s not forget that a year ago at this time Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge were in the minors, and now they both could be All-Stars.
The Yankees are in a serious Baby Bomber movement. Sure, there are some extenuating circumstances. The Yanks have been hit by injuries right from the outset when Didi Gregorius missed the start of the season and Sanchez got hurt a week into it. Greg Bird never really made it out of the starting blocks, either.
Starlin Castro, Aaron Hicks, and Matt Holliday are now on the DL, where Jacoby Ellsbury was for a month, too. And the pitchers aren’t immune — Aroldis Chapman, CC Sabathia, and Adam Warren all landed there as well.
Now, as the team nears the halfway point as one of the season’s best stories and firmly in the race, even more youngsters are being asked to keep them there. This may not end as well as it began, but the experience will carry these guys a long way, especially if they can contribute to reversing the late June swoon and get the Yankees headed in the right direction into and out of the All-Star break.
Jordan Montgomery has been a big part of this as well, coming out of nowhere in spring training to win the fifth starter job, and he hasn’t given it back yet. And let’s not forget to give Luis Severino some love here. There’s a reason the Yankees didn’t want to give up on Severino as a starter and stick him in the bullpen. You’re seeing it now. He is in the top ten in the AL in ERA, WHIP, strikeouts and batting average against.
There are speed bumps for these rookies and young bucks coming. The path isn’t linear. It doesn’t start high and just keep going up. The graph will chart down for some of these guys, like it did for Judge last season, like it did for Bird because of his health. And we have yet to see how the pressure of August and September pennant-race baseball affects the up-and-comers.
The pitching help the Yankees crave might have to come from within, too. Chance Adams, Ben Heller, J.P. Feyereisen and Matt Wotherspoon are at Triple-A. Domingo Acevedo, Zack Littell, Yefry Ramirez and Justus Sheffield are at Double-A. Any of these arms could help the Yankees either this year or next.
Because remember, these Yankees really weren’t supposed to be thinking about contending until 2018. But just like general manager Brian Cashman likes to say that the prospects have a way of telling you when they are ready, these Yankees will tell you when they are ready to be real contenders.
Last summer, we were still talking about A-Rod, Beltran, McCann, and Teixeira.
What a difference a year makes.
Follow Sweeny on Twitter at @YankeesWFAN