Future Yankees Stars Mateo, Judge Shine In Win Against Red Sox

Why do we watch Spring Training games as fans? Aside from the excitement of having baseball back, a big part of Spring Training is seeing the future stars take the field and make an impact. That’s exactly what happened when the Yankees defeated the rival Red Sox 6-4 today in Tampa. The Yankee farm system used to be barren of true top prospects, but Brian Cashman has made it his mission the last few years to re-stock the minor leagues with talent. That talent was on display in full force today in the forms of Jorge Mateo, Aaron Judge and Rob Refsnyder.

Mateo, the #1 prospect in the Yankees system, followed up his impressive Spring debut with a monster home run to left field today. What made the homer even more amazing is that he hit it off a knuckleballer. In Joe Girardi’s daily interview with YES during the game, he said it was probably the first knuckleball the 20-year-old has ever seen. Mateo is known around baseball for his blazing speed, but it’s been his power that has really jumped out in his first two games of the Spring.

Later in the game after all the substitutions had been made, Refsnyder led off the seventh inning with a single. After another single, Ref would lead a double steal while Judge was at the plate. The 6’7″ 275 lb. right fielder – those are not typos, he’s that big – must have laughed at that double steal. “I don’t need you to move up bases, I shall just mash this baseball.” Judge took a hanging breaking ball and showed monsterous opposite field power for a 3-run dinger. You can just see the raw power Judge has and why he’s the #2 prospect in the system. When he truly learns how to hit at the ML level, he’s going to be a force in the middle of the lineup.

All three top ten prospects that played today made a nice impact, but let’s not forget about the veterans as well. Alex Rodriguez followed up his home run the other day by going 2-2 with a walk. He looked in mid-season form smashing a pair of singles right up the middle. Jacoby Ellsbury played his first game of the Spring and hit a booming triple to right center field eventually scoring on a Carlos Beltran (1-3, RBI, run) groundout. Mark Teixeira also had a ribbie single in the game. The Yankees desperately need all four of those guys to stay healthy and produce this season. When healthy and fresh, all of them can carry the offense.

As far as the pitching went, the Yankees used nine total arms today giving one an inning each. Most of the pitchers had a nice day, but two really stood out to me. First was Chasen Shreve who worked a 1-2-3 second inning including a strikeout. After the big three in the bullpen, the most reliable middle relief arm the Yankees have is Shreve. He was virtually unhittable last season before he got tired and fell apart. He’s a huge key to this season. Second was Johnny Barbato who also tossed a 1-2-3 inning with a pair of punch outs. Barbato is my dark horse to win a bullpen spot on Opening Day and he’s had two extremely solid outings so far this Spring. I love his arsenal of pitches and the way the ball jumps out of his hand.

The Yankees picked up a victory, everybody stayed healthy and a ton of players young and old contributed to the effort. I’d call that a perfect Saturday afternoon in March, wouldn’t you?

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About David Berger

I'm a 24-year-old sports fanatic that wanted to get back into writing. I wrote for a year at Pucks and Pitchforks covering the New Jersey Devils and really enjoyed my time. Baseball and hockey are my specialties, but I love all sports. I hope you enjoy!
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