Last Updated on October 3, 2023 at 7:36 am by Sara Molnick
While the traditional wisdom in baseball advises caution when drawing conclusions from spring training or September performances, the New York Yankees are set to differ.
According to manager Aaron Boone, September was a valuable month for the Yankees, unlike spring training where outcomes carry minimal significance. For the team, the month served as an opportunity to assess the capabilities of their younger players and contemplate how they could potentially contribute to the team’s future endeavors.
Boone reveals the significance of September for the Yankees
The Yankees manager responded that these September games indeed hold significance as they involve matchups against playoff-caliber teams. Boone emphasized that while the team should consider various factors, the month was integral to the essential process of evaluating players, particularly when it comes to young talents.
In September, the Yankees played nine series, and among them, five involved teams actively contending for playoff berths. It began well with the Baby Bombers leading from the front for a historic 3-0 series win in Houston. They ended with victory in six series with some of the best performances this season.
Their heightened competition adds an extra layer of significance to these games because while the Yankees were in the playoff race, their opponents were, making these matchups particularly important.
Boone recounted that despite the team’s official elimination from playoff contention, there remained a considerable amount at stake and much to demonstrate during the final month of the season. He shared his belief that the Yankees collectively adopted this mindset and were motivated to make the most of the opportunities ahead.
September saw a new resurgence
The Yankees had substantial stakes on the line during the previous September. At that time, it appeared that Oswaldo Cabrera was poised for a significant role in the 2023 season, while Oswald Peraza seemed destined to become the team’s starting shortstop. However, neither of these expectations came to fruition.
Fast forward a year later, Cabrera and Peraza once again took the field in the month of September to finish the season strongly and carve out roles for themselves in the team’s future plans. Additionally, Austin Wells and Everson Pereira, along with Jasson Dominguez before his UCL injury, put themselves in a similar situation, making their first appearances in the big leagues during the final month of the season.
Boone acknowledged the need to approach the evaluation process with a degree of caution, considering various factors. However, he disagreed with the notion that September didn’t hold significance. He emphasized that the Yankees are indeed assessing all aspects of the game, including the overall season performance, especially for young players who have spent time in the minor leagues. Furthermore, he highlighted the importance of observing how their young players responded to different atmospheres and environments, underlining that this is an integral part of their development journey.
The Yankees had established themselves as the top-performing team in baseball in September, boasting a remarkable 20-10 record during that period. Throughout this stretch, each of their young players had demonstrated glimpses of their potential.
In the 19 games played in September, Peraza had a batting average of .274 and an OPS of .741. Cabrera, despite a challenging season overall, had recently strung together his most impressive series of at-bats, batting .271 with a .735 OPS in his last 13 games. Wells had been on a hot streak, hitting .280 with a remarkable .948 OPS over his last seven games.
Even Estevan Florial had exhibited improved performance at the plate compared to his previous call-ups. Certainly, making sense of September performances extended beyond just evaluating young players.
The Yankees also had a clear idea of whether Michael King could secure a permanent spot in the rotation for the upcoming year and how far they could rely on Carlos Rodon.
The Yankees manager acknowledged that while they couldn’t solely rely on a player’s performance in September, it is indeed an important part of the overall evaluation, development, and the process of gathering information and opinions about people.
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