It’s Derek Jeter Week for the New York Yankees. His number will join the esteemed list of Yankee players at Monument Park on May 14. The Yankees will face the Houston Astros on that date in Yankee Stadium.
It’s eerily similar of how the Yankees are now as opposed to Jeter at his best.
The Yankees are 21-9 and currently coming off a sweep of the defending-champion Chicago Cubs. They also defeated the Cincinnati Reds 10-4 on Monday, May 8. The Yankees also own first place.
Something is familiar about these Yankees. They prevail at insurmountable odds, never quit and always play until it’s over.
They also have a prodigy similar to Jeter in demeanor and young popularity. That prodigy is outfielder Aaron Judge.
Judge is having the breakout year. The rookie outfielder has 13 home runs and 28 RBI’s with a batting average of .317. His height and skillset are the only things that separate Judge from Jeter. Other than that it’s like looking into a mirror.
Both know how to say the right things. They give credit to their teammates and deliver their speech in a calm demeanor.
What’s frightening is not so much the abilities both Jeter and Judge have during their rookie careers. It’s the timing.
When Jeter began his first full rookie year, he joined a Yankees team rebounding from a 1995 playoff game elimination by the Seattle Mariners. Jeter was a call-up before the postseason began.
Judge was called up last year in the latter half of the season. The Yankees missed the playoffs last year, but they missed the Wild Card spot due to faltering to a red hot Boston Red Sox team.
Fast forward to the years after, and the similarities continue.
No one could predict where a prospect can go. They can only hope for the rookie’s best. That was the case with Derek Jeter. Now, it’s the case for Aaron Judge.
What happens next must be due to a large part of Judge and the Yankees organization.
When Jeter’s legend grew, the Yankees made sure he was everywhere. Jeter became the next face of the Yankees through commercials and endorsements. Oh, he also leads the Yankee franchise in all-time hits.
Judge can follow this route if he manages to keep his head clear, not let any distractions befall him and handle the New York media with ease. Next thing you know, the merchandise will follow. Then again, it already has.
It also means the New York Yankees have a stud in their midst and a marketable one at that. However, let’s stress the fact that skill doesn’t mean a thing without a ring in The Bronx.
Jeter brought home five rings back to New York. Will Judge contribute to even one?
Let’s state one more scary thought. Jeter’s first year featured a Yankees team that took home the 1996 World Series from he Atlanta Braves.
Many factors went against them. It was Joe Torre’s first year, and Tino Martinez replaced recently retired Don Mattingly. However, the roster was filled with veterans who were hungry for their first World Series Title.
The Yankees of today are in a better position than 1996. They have an even mix of veterans and young gifted players, with Matt Holliday filling in the primary designated hitter role. The management, while questionable, remains the same. These Yankees also managed to keep their loss column in the single digits for an entire month.
Granted, it remains to be seen if the Yankees become world champions this year. Then again, if this upswing keeps going with Judge, then it will be a case of sooner rather than later.
It seems inevitable that Judge will become the new face of the New York Yankees and deservingly so. All he has to do is be consistent with his ability and demeanor, and he Yankees will fill the void left by The Captain three years ago.
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