TAMPA — Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner is enthused about the team's prospects after watching many of them play in instructional league games this month.
New York boosted its system by acquiring shortstop Gleyber Torres, outfielders Clint Frazier and Rashad Crawford and left-hander Justus Sheffield in trades for veterans Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran.
Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin joined the big-league team in August and sparked the Yankees to a wild-card run that ultimately fell short
"The last two months, we had one bad road trip and it was bad," Steinbrenner said Friday. "But other than that we were right in it. Being able to bring some of those kids up the beginning of August when the games really mattered, I think we learned a lot and saw a lot. We saw what they were made of. It was a great experience for them."
Steinbrenner watched Friday's finale with special adviser Reggie Jackson, vice president of player development Gary Denbo and pitching coach Larry Rothschild. The prospects acquired in the trades joined pitcher James Kaprielian (recovered from a flexor tendon strain) and first baseman Greg Bird (back from shoulder surgery).
"The quality of the players is as good as it's ever been. That's including if you go back into the early '90s when we had a lot of those guys that ended up going on to win championships for us," said Denbo, who was a Yankees minor-league manager and coach during the period. "I think this group of players reminds of me of that group."
HALL OF FAME FATHER? Hal Steinbrenner is excited about the possibility of his father George Steinbrenner being voted into the baseball Hall of Fame. George Steinbrenner is among 10 candidates on the Today's Game Era ballot to be voted on by a veterans' committee Dec. 4 and announced Dec. 5 at the winter meetings.
"He certainly deserves to be there, at least my family's opinion and I think a lot of fans' opinion as well," Hal Steinbrenner said.
The Yankees won seven World Series titles and 11 American League pennants in George Steinbrenner's 37 full seasons as team owner. He died in 2010.
STAR POWER: Jackson, Andy Pettitte, Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Hernandez, Tino Martinez, Alfonso Soriano and Nick Swisher were among the guest instructors during instructional league's three-week run.
"I want to ensure that our players have a healthy respect for the guys that have come before them and kind of put this organization in a position to have the respect that it does from around the world," Denbo said. "Having those guys around has all kinds of benefits for our players. To share their experiences and going back to when they were young players and talk about the things that they had to get through and how they got through them holds great value for our guys." … Hall of Famer Craig Biggio was at Friday's game to watch his son Cavan play for the Blue Jays instructional league team.