New York Yankees: Three key takeaways from a great first half

DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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New York Yankees
Brian Cashman, New York Yankees (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Although the New York Yankees dropped their last two games heading into the All-Star break, there’s still a lot to be happy about going into the second half.

For some teams, the All-Star break is a reminder that they’re running out of time to make the playoffs, but not the New York Yankees. In fact, with the second best record in baseball heading into the second half, they are hungrier than ever to further their lead in the American League East standings. In one of the toughest divisions in all of Major League Baseball, the Yankees have fought through adversity and still found a way to get it done, despite the odds being stacked against them numerous times. With that being said, there are certainly a few positive and negative takeaways that Yankees fans can look at when reflecting on the first half of the season.

Brian Cashman deserves a lot of credit

Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Luis Severino, Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, Greg Bird. You name a Yankee, and they’ve probably been injured at least once this season. With Tampa Bay and Boston lurking and healthy, this team was expected to take a significant slide and put themselves in a tough situation. Lucky for them, that never happened, and you can credit a lot of the teams’ success to Brian Cashman.

Not only has he been able to make the right Minor League call ups, but he’s made some quick thinking, short term impact trades to help the wounded bombers. Players like Gio Urshela, Cameron Maybin, Clint Frazier, and Thairo Estrada wouldn’t have dreamed of being on the Yankees’ roster in March, but Cashman took a gamble and based on the numbers that all of these kids produced, it was worth the risk.

Maybin is currently on the I.L., but when healthy was having his best season as a pro batting .314 in 118 at-bats. Urshela has proven himself to be the everyday third baseman regardless of Miguel Andujar’s health. He’s another .300 hitter that will more than likely win a gold glove at third base soon. Frazier was arguably the hottest bat at one point during their run, but his streak came to a quick end once he was sent back down to Triple-A due to a few disagreements with the fans and media. Regardless, those three as well as multiple other prospects were tearing the cover off the ball for a solid month and have shown me that they can produce at any level.

It turns me into a believer that the Yankees can get hurt as late as the postseason and still be okay when facing great teams. Although they may not be too high on the farm system rankings, they now have something that a lot of organizations don’t — young ballplayers who are battle-tested and have first-team minutes with a club. I have to say, Cashman knew what he was doing. Now, when the time comes that the Yankees start to filter out their older players, they don’t have to worry about looking through the Free Agency or Trade market to try and find that next guy. They already have a surplus of them.