The Yankees and their fans are aching for a repeat of a young core to propel the club to a slew of World Series titles. It will be difficult for any team to win four World Series in five seasons, but there are some similarities to the 1990s core of Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams, to that of the current group of young players who have climbed the Yankees' farm system.
The Yankees reached the American League Championship Series in advance of many projections, and despite being sent home after a tough seven-game series, the key players should benefit immensely from the reps.
Despite coming into the postseason with just 170 plate appearances under his belt due to a lengthy recuperation period from ankle surgery, Bird performed at the most consistent level of any of the Yankees' position players during the playoffs.
Bird hit .244 with a .426 on-base percentage and a .512 slugging percentage in 54 postseason plate appearances. Bird drew 12 walks, ripped two doubles, and three home runs and drove in six runs.
Bird demonstrated that when he is healthy, he can be a force at the plate and clutch when the pressure is mounting. The playoffs did not faze Bird in the slightest as there wasn't a moment too big for him, so the experience in 2017 could portend to a great postseason future.
Judge's regular season ended with incredibly gaudy statistics - 1.049 OPS, 128 runs, 52 home runs, 114 RBIs and a 173 wRC+. However, he struck out 208 times, which became a talking point when he slogged through a lengthy slump coming out of the All-Star break.
The playoffs were somewhat of a microcosm of the regular season in that Judge had distinct ups and downs. When he was going bad, he was striking out at a record-breaking clip - 27 Ks, the most ever in a postseason. However, when Judge locked in, he dismantled baseballs much like he did throughout the regular season - three doubles and four home runs with a team-leading 11 RBIs.
The issue with the playoffs is that there is little time to adapt and the pitching is simply better. There are fewer mistakes made and when they came, Judge often missed them as he was out-dueled more often than not.
Judge made numerous adjustments from 2016 to 2017, so there is little reason to believe his next foray into the playoffs could end with a much better result.
Like Bird, Sanchez was playing in his second season with the club, and very clearly demonstrated he was a force to be reckoned with at the plate - 33 home runs, 90 RBIs in just 525 plate appearances. Sanchez had his issues behind the plate allowing 16 passed balls, but his blocking improved a bit as the season wore on.
Sanchez hit just .208 with a .218 on-base percentage and a .415 slugging percentage in the postseason. Sanchez launched three home runs, but in all, he was not as productive as the Yankees hoped with the bat. He also missed a couple of key throws that came to the plate, most notably allowing the winning run to score in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series.
Sanchez's offense will remain his calling card, but he'll have to work hard in the offseason to round into the all-around player he has the potential to become.
Severino might have been the third-best pitcher in the American League in 2017 after registering a 14-6 record, 2.98 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 230 strikeouts in 193 1/3 innings.
However, he was wildly inconsistent in his four outings in the playoffs. Severino recorded just one out in the AL Wild Card Game, and he managed just 8 2/3 innings in two starts in the ALCS. Severino did pitch well in the ALDS - seven innings of three-run ball with nine strikeouts - but overall the playoffs might be deemed a disappointment for the 23-year-old as he finished with a 5.63 ERA in 16 combined innings.
There is the potential that the innings began to catch up to Severino as he threw 31 2/3 innings more than his next highest season mark (2015). As Severino continues to grow as a pitcher, he will be able to push his body deeper into the postseason. Further, he has already shown he could overcome poor outcomes (5.83 ERA across 71 innings in the 2016 season) as he did with a stellar 2017 effort.
The Yankees had to be happy to see each of the players enjoy some playoff success, but also had to be understanding that their inexperience became a factor. Each of the players will grow from the knowledge of what to expect.
The thirst for a title is evident, and the Yankees are set up for an extended period of high-level performance. Assuming health, the Yankees ability to continue to develop the farm system, combined with complementary veterans, could see this group of four in-house players go down as an equivalent to the core of the 90s and 00s.