The Yankees are established as one of the greatest franchises in the history of sports. They produced a dynasty in the lates 90s into the early 2000s, including a group of players known as the “Core Four”. This core consisted of captain and shortstop Derek Jeter, left handed hurler Andy Pettitte, catcher Jorge Posada and closer Mariano Rivera. All of these players had one thing in common, they came up through the Yankees farm system as young players and played their entire careers with the Yankees (aside from Pettitte, who played 3 seasons with the Astros before returning to the Yankees in 2007).
The Yankees now have been one of baseballs best teams, being in the playoffs the last 2 years and winning at least 90 games, An integral part of the Yankees newfound success has been their young talent. With the way this team has been playing, its fair to wonder if the Yankees have found a new core four, the four players listed below have the best shot at replicating a new core of players.
#1 Aaron Judge, Right Fielder
Aaron Judge has arguably become the face of baseball, having been drafted in 2013 by the Yankees and tearing it up through their minor league system and was one of their most highly touted prospects. One can’t forget his debut in August of 2016 when he hit a home run in his first major league at bat against the Rays. Despite finishing his rookie season with a .179 batting average and 42 strikeouts in 84 at bats, Judge adjusted his mechanics and came into 2017 hot, arguably spending his true rookie season as the hottest player in baseball, hitting a putrid 52 home runs, 127 walks, and 114 rbis, winning the home run derby, being named an all star, finishing second in the AL MVP voting and taking home the rookie of the year award for 2017 while also setting the record for most walks and home runs by a rookie in history. Judge missed time due to a chip fracture in his wrist, but still had an all star campaign in 2018 smacking 27 home runs and hitting .278 in 112 games. Judge has battled injuries like many players in major league baseball, but theres no doubt he is an incredible asset to the Yankees and has arguably become their face of the franchise, Judges chambers in right field is a prime example of this, to have a section named after you at Yankee Stadium speaks volumes about how valuable you are to the organization.
#2 Gary Sanchez, Catcher
Gary Sanchez is without a doubt a fantastic catcher, his defense has been somewhat questionable in recent years, allowing the most past balls in 2017 and 2018 despite missing significant time due to a groin injury. Nonetheless, Sanchez is still a clutch hitter, it was only a few seasons ago Sanchez hit 20 home runs and drove in 42 runs in 53 games as a rookie, leading to him finishing second in rookie of the year voting only behind Detroit right hander Michael Fulmer. In 2017, Sanchez had arguably his best season to date, hitting 33 home runs and driving in 90 runs in 122 games with a stat line of .278, .345, .531 earning him an all star nod and a silver slugger award. Sanchez’s 2018 struggles both offensively and defensively show he needs improvement, but theres no doubt his outstanding performance helped the Yankees get back to postseason contention, with Josh Bard as the bench coach being a former catcher himself, Sanchez has all the tools necessary to get back to form.
#3 Luis Severino, Starting Pitcher
Luis Severino has been the Yankees ace for quite some time now, his rookie season saw him show glimpses of brilliance, pitching to a 2.86 ERA and winning 5 of the 11 games he started. His 2016 campaign was rocky as he was demoted to triple a in August of that year. Since his sophomore season, Severino has completely turned it around, not only overtaking Masahiro Tanaka as the ace, but winning 14 and 19 games in 2017 and 2018 respectively. He pitched to a 2.98 ERA and struck out 230 batters in 2017 and had a higher but respectable 3.39 ERA and 220 strike outs in 2018. He has finished in the top 10 for Cy Young voting each of the last 2 seasons. Severinos grit and stellar performance, especially in 2018s wild card game against the A’s in which he pitched 4 innings and struck out 7 without giving up a run earned him a 4 year extension worth $40 million. If he can stay consistant and perform as well as he has in recent years, theres no doubt Severino will go down as a core member of the Yankees new dynasty.
#4 Miguel Andujar, 3rd Baseman
Perhaps one of the most underrated Yankees players, Miguel Andujar, a player who wasn’t even supposed to play at the Major League level this past season was called up and instantly made an impact at the hot corner. Andujar often takes heat for his “poor” defense as he ranked 18th in the league for 3rds basemans fielding percentage at .948 which led to him being benched in game 4 of the ALDS due to the contact inducing C.C. Sabathia taking the hill, a game in which the Yankees were eliminated. Despite his struggles on defense, he still is a young player at only 21 years of age, and his offense more then makes up for it. Andujar was clutch to say the least for the Yankees, hitting .297 with 27 home runs and 97 RBIS. Andujars walkoff single against the Indians in May also proves that Andujar can come up big when necessary. With regard to games played, batting average, home run total and WAR , Andujar was the Yankees second best player in 2018, only behind Giancarlo Stanton. Andujar has lots of room to grow, and being homegrown and coming up through the minors with the Yanks, its only a matter of time until he gets even better.
Judge, Sanchez, Severino and Andujar all have something in common that the core four before them did, they all came up through the Yankees system. With Sanchez being signed in 2009, Severino and Andujar being signed in 2011 and Judge being drafted in 2013. With the way these baby bombers are playing, its not unrealistic to think this could be the start of a new core four.