“We’re just all kind of blessed,” Montgomery said. “It’s a great time to be a young Yankee right now. We all just kind of fit in right at the perfect time and it all happened so quick and we’re here. We’re all still fairly young.”
Despite all the effort and time spent, there is always an element of surprise when the big leagues come calling. There’s a sense of gratitude, too.
“With how baseball’s transitioned into a younger generation it’s definitely helping these younger guys get an opportunity a lot earlier in their career,” Frazier, whom the Yankees acquired from Cleveland last summer, said.
“I never thought that I was going to play for the New York Yankees ’cause I was with the Indians, so everything happens unexpectedly. I’m honestly saying this: I’m thrilled to be here and I’m proud to be a New York Yankee.”
Blue Jays (at Red Sox)
Status heading into series: 42-49, 5.5 back in the wild-card, 9 back in the AL East
Need to know: That still looks like a potentially powerful offense, and if starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez stays healthy to team with Marcus Stroman and J.A. Happ, that’s a solid top of the rotation, too. And closer Roberto Osuna made the All-Star squad. This feels like a team that could still win a postseason series or two, right? And remember that 40-18 finish to the 2015 season that led to the franchise’s first playoff berth since 1993?
On other hand: They’re seven games under .500. After crawling their way back to within a game of the .500 mark at 35-36, they’re just 7-13, which is tied for the worst record in the AL. If they decide to sell, Josh Donaldson (free agent after 2018) and Marcus Stroman (contenders love young cost-controlled starters) could bring back huge returns.
All three of those teams went 2-8 during their first 10 games and made it to the playoffs anyway, despite two of them even finishing April under .500. Toronto, at 1-8, has three more games against the division-rival Orioles this weekend, and if they lose this series (and the next one, a three-game set against the Red Sox), 2017 could very well be a long season no matter how well they play afterward.
Each of those three teams who erased their horrific start had to go to extreme lengths to do so. The Pirates went 20-8 in August, and managed to win their division and earn an NLCS berth despite winning just 88 games on the season: the Blue Jays won a Wild Card spot last year with 89 wins. The Rays almost immediately rebounded with a 14-5 stretch to finish off their April, but it still took the Red Sox having one of the worst months in the history of baseball in September to help the Rays sneak into October — and the only reason even that worked out is because the Red Sox had gone 11-15 in April themselves before crushing the league for four months.
We’ve all screamed several times while watching both of these guys play and each yelp deserves a tally, too. Every time you audibly scream, whether it’s because of a violent dunk or nasty crossover, give that candidate three points.
Few things are more important to Westbrook or Harden than their undeniably, um, unique, fashion. There’s going to be some debate here, but we’ll try to keep things simple. If they wear something normal like a plain suit (which they won’t) award them no points, but if they are on-brand (which they will be) and wear something outrageous, give them four points. Our MVP needs to be stylish. (If the clothes also become a meme they are awarded a total of nine points.)