Bombers Blast: New York Yankees poised for youth movement?
The New York Yankees are old. Heck, Alex Rodriguez even has the hips of an assisted-living resident. We’ve been hearing all offseason about the Bombers advanced age. They have the oldest mean age of any baseball team: 33. Why they’re practically ready for AARP!
Given all the rickety old folks in pinstripes, the Yankees may get younger sooner rather than later. With their intent to get under the luxury cap by 2014, they will be looking for more affordable options than signing a pricey household name should they lose a veteran player to injury. Here are four Baby Bombers who may be coming soon to the Bronx.
Austin Romine: He’ll be competing with Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli for a starting spot. The Yankees may want him to have more time in triple-A since he spent most of last season on the DL with a back injury. While he has been injury prone, Romine, 24, showed up to spring training 13 pounds thinner, having spent the offseason getting back in top shape. A good defensive catcher, he doesn’t have a ton of pop in his bat, but neither do Cervelli and Stewart. They might as well let him get some major league experience while they wait for their top catching prospect Gary Sanchez to mature.
Mark Montgomery: The righty is one of those rare prospects who has gotten better as he’s faced tougher opposition. During 2011, in 28.1 innings for Staten Island and Charleston, Montgomery had an incredible 16.2 strikeouts per nine innings with 51Ks. In High Class A in 2012, Montgomery had a 0.967 WHIP and struck out 61 hitters while walking just 16. He continues to impress. In the Arizona Fall League, the 22-year-old held hitters to a measly .143 average. Although he doesn’t have the most impressive fastball — it sits in the low 90s — he has a devastating slider that gets him a lot of swing-and-misses.
David Adams: The 25-year-old can play both second and third base. Given that A-Rod will be gone most of the season, and the guy the New York Yankees signed to replace him, Kevin Youkilis, has been injury prone of late, he could see playing time with the big league club. Adams himself is currently nursing a back injury and played just 86 games last year after a lengthy rehab for an ankle problem. He did look good in the Arizona Fall League, though, where he hit .286 with a .388 OBP and .524 SLG.
Zoilo Almonte: A switch-hitting outfielder, he had a .487 slugging percentage last year in double-A and hit 21 home runs. Almonte, 23, was especially good against right-handed pitching. He’s slated to play right field in triple-A this year and could provide depth for the outfield later in the season.