The New York Yankees are about a week into their Summer Camp and it is already a unique experience. Thanks to the YES Network, fans and media have been able to bask in the Yankees intra-squad games and workouts.
In a regular year, most of the work gets done in Spring Training games against opposing teams, particularly against their minor league players. With Summer Camp, where everyone needs to ramp up the workouts at the same time, we have seen true entertainment matchups.
We’ve been gifted Gerrit Cole taking the mound against Aaron Judge. Masahiro Tanaka against Giancarlo Stanton. We even got to see Clarke Schmidt (Yankees no.2 prospect) take on the Yankees full strength lineup. The kid showed that he belongs, mowing down the likes of Judge, Stanton and Sanchez.
The most fascinating, and extremely weird thing about the intra-squad games are there are not many rules. We’ve seen instances where teams have 2 DH’s, to get guys extra at bats. At one point there was only one outfielder, and Zack Britton long tossing in left-center. Outside of getting guys swings and pitches, there are no real rules. It’s like a pickup game at the local field with your friends.
Platform for Younger Talent and Replacement Players
This isn’t going to be the main talking point but the Summer Camp has also allowed the younger talent and replacement guys to be under the spotlight.
Miguel Andujar, who has an explosive bat but no true position to play, has been seen working out at 3B, 1B, and the corner outfield spots. He hit a HR of Gerrit Cole during one of the intra-squad games, so you know the Yankees will look for any excuse to get him At-Bats.
Thairo Estrada and Tyler Wade, two guys fighting for that ultra utility role have been getting a lot of work in with the starting caliber guys. Estrada is ahead of Wade when it comes to offense, but Wade’s glove and speed keep With the expanded roster both guys may find a way onto the roster, but this sprint to the start of the regular season is making it an intense battle.
Summer Camp Isn’t For Everyone, But Completely Unique
Another fun thing to see was C.C Sabathia in the Stadium. First he was sitting in the stands behind home plate taking in a game as a fan. Then the next day in the outfield shagging fly balls as if he didn’t retire. But anytime you get to see CC, it’s a good day.
While this has been a very non competitive format, it is giving the viewers a glance at what baseball will look like when it returns. No fans, no outside noice. Just the good old sound of ball meeting bat and glove. It’s weird looking out at Yankees Stadium with 50,000 empty seats, but this is giving the viewers time to adjust prior to when games actually matter.
Summer Camp isn’t a viewing experience everyone would enjoy. Only the diehards fans are sitting through 2 hours of meaningless games, batting practice, bullpens and fielding drills. But it has proven to be an experience unlike any other.