The step up to first team level is huge and that must never be forgotten. We do remarkably well to progress the players we do.There has been a certain amount of pessimism on here about the quality of players coming on. I wonder whether we are in danger of not comparing like with like. Three or four years ago we had half a dozen potentially exciting batsmen at our disposal. Root and Bairstow have moved on to higher things, as, to an extent, has Ballance. Lees, Leaning and Rhodes have not quite yet fulfilled early promise, but are still relatively young. Expectation that the club could continue to produce players of that quality like a conveyor belt was unrealistic.
You do not, however, need to be a Root or a Bairstow to serve a county side well.
During the season the second team won the 50 over competition with a very young side. At 24 James Wainman was the oldest Yorkshire player in the final. Also within the same age group, but not playing were Leaning, Coad, T K-C and Shaw (who at 21 incidentally, already has 53 first class wickets).
While success in a 50 over competition may not be an exact indicator of first class potential, it does suggest the existence of some talent.
The Academy side has performed consistently well in the Yorkshire League, and might well have won it this year but for a vengeful innings from Gibson and a masterclass from Rhodes for Stamford Bridge in the penultimate game.
The 15's are national champions with just one defeat in four seasons.
So there is plenty of potential for the coaches to work with. The headache for Moxon & co. is identifying the best of the best and then keeping them all happy and motivated. Ambitious young men in a time-limited career will not be content with second team cricket. Rhodes is an obvious case. But those decisions are what the managers and coaches are paid to make. We must trust them to make the right choices.
Root and JB quickly followed by the next wave of England under 19s (Rhodes, Fisher, Shaw, Tattersalls and Carver + Gibson who was on the England fringes) made it look easy - it isn't.
Also our boys are often exposed to good standard, hard and adult league cricket at an early age therefore bringing their development forward with others perhaps catching up in the late teenage years? How someone progresses from 18 to 20 usually defines whether they'll make the grade and movement though 2nd team cricket for the very best is often rapid.
Of the current crop, I like Waite (a lot), Brook, Barnes, Anjam and Shutt. If Ben Birkhead can improve his keeping, he's also got a chance. Logan seemed to be a 'good'un but has stalled a bit. Warner is held in high regard but I've seen little of him.
Others such as Wainman, Thompson, Callis appear unlikely to see much / any first team cricket.
I expect Ryan Gibson to get a go elsewhere especially as a 'white' ball cricketer.
One point to note is the incredible record our coaches have in deciding who to retain and who to let go - I cant think of anyone coming back to haunt us. Rhodes may, but he's asked to go to seek more 1st team opportunities - fair enough and Gibson has effectively been sacked due to disciplinary problems, again, fair enough.