You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Yankees.
Now that CC Sabathia has retired, who are the leaders in the NYY clubhouse? – Steven Slootsky
The most obvious answer is Brett Gardner, but the longest-tenured Yankee striker is the only one with an impact in the clubhouse. He and Sabathia were effective leaders because they worked well together in a way that was constructive in baseball matters as well as off-the-field situations. It’s a nice mix because pitchers tend to listen to pitchers, and the same goes for position players gravitating toward other position players.
And their longevity and success also played an important part of the puzzle because talent plays a big part of being able to lead in the major leagues.
Had Dellin Betances returned, he would have been a natural candidate to replace Sabathia, but the reliever signed with the Mets as a free agent.
In the short spring training, Gerrit Cole certainly appeared comfortable on the mound and in the clubhouse. He constantly craved feedback from teammates and coaches, and in his free time he watched other pitchers throwing bullpens and simulated games to see what he could pick up. That dedication goes unnoticed by big league players. In the clubhouse, Cole’s locker was a gathering place for pitchers to hang out and talk pitching. A few lockers down the same conversations were had with Zack Britton, who was often surrounded by Chad Green and Tommy Kahnle.
As for the position players, Aaron Judge is in his third full big league season and an obvious choice to provide leadership – but it’s easy when not playing due to injury. DJ LeMahieu gained instant respect a year ago with his professionalism and production.
Submit your Yankees questions to be answered in an upcoming mailbag
Pound for a pound, Ron Guidry was a dominant pitcher for his small size. What would his stats be if he was limited to about 5-6 innings a start like most pitchers these days? – Raymond
Certainly they are as gaudy as Guidry’s were in the age when starters worked deeper into games and posted more innings than today’s starters do. In 14 years, Guidry posted 95 complete games, which averaged nine per season. He had 21 CGs in 1983. Guidry’s 259 innings pitched in 1985 when he went 22-6 leading the league.
What is the status of Max Burt, the Yankees’ Double-A prospect? Certainly a great glove and extremely versatile infielder. – Rick
This would have been Burt’s third professional season after being a 28th-round pick in the 2018 draft, but there is likely to be a minor league season of any sort. The 23-year-old from Northeastern University in Boston has the versatility desired by these organizations these days. In two seasons he has played 28 games at first, 10 at second, 74 at third, 52 at short, one in the outfield and made one pitching appearance. However, his bat lags behind his defense. In two minor league seasons Burt has a .239 batting average, a .299 on-base percentage and has a poor strikeouts (135) to hits (131) and has drawn 33 walks in 607 plate appearances.
Who was the first Hispanic player on the Yankees? – Luis Davila
Angel Aragon, who was from La Habana, Cuba, played 32 games for the Yankees in three seasons (1914, ’16, ’17).
Would the Yankees be better off their rookie pitchers pitch if they played the short season as opposed to the veterans they already know? – John Zelinski
If you mean choosing Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt and Mike King over J.A. Happ, Masahiro Tanaka, Gerrit Cole and James Paxton, the answer is a resounding no. It makes no difference how short or long a season is held this year, the Yankees will be among their favorites to win the World Series, and a big reason is their rotation.
How many times have the Yankees been in the World Series? – Julie Miranda
The Yankees have been featured in 40 World Series and have won 27 of them. Their last trip to the Series was 2009 when they beat the Phillies.