Thursday, February 26, 2015

Greedy Pinstripes Top 28 Prospects List: #3

The Top Three Prospects in the Yankees system according to The Greedy Pinstripes, get hyped! Today our third prospect is revealed and his name is Greg Bird. I may be a little high on Bird as a first baseman and I worry about his back as much as anyone but the guy is close to the majors and can flat out hit. If you don't believe me see his Arizona Fall League stats from 2014. 

Here is the write up from Kyle McDaniel on Bird:

Current Level/Age: AA/22.2, 6’3/215, L/R
Drafted: 179th overall (5th round) in 2011 out of Colorado HS by NYY for $1.1 million bonus, Agency: Legacy
Hit: 20/50+, Raw Power: 60/60, Game Power: 20/60, Run: 35/35, Field: 40/45+, Throw: 50/50+

Scouting Report: Bird has been an under-the-radar prospect in a high profile system, but had a breakout year in 2014 after getting on the radar with a strong full-season debut in 2013. Bird was an overpay (for a surprisingly high amount, to the industry) in the 5th round out of a Colorado high school, so we’re talking about a high school first baseman (who caught at times, but everyone knew that wouldn’t work) with limited physical projection from a cold weather state without great competition.

He was banged up and just alright after signing and in short-season leagues/instructs in 2012, then hit way more than expected in Low-A in 2013: .228/.428/.511 with 20 homers as a 20-year-old. Bird still has a good arm from his catching days that was enough for the Yankees to consider letting him catch after he signed, until a back injury nixed that idea. He moves pretty well around the bag and is fine defensively, but it’s all about the bat here.
I got reports that Bird looked like a young, healthy version of Nick Johnson, but given just one season of performance with little background and the limits of a first base profile, scouts were still cautious. Bird performed well above league average while aged correctly for a prospect in High-A in 2014 (making for a scary middle of the lineup with Judge), then hit even better in a late-season Double-A promotion and carried that level of performance to the Arizona Fall League.

Bird has an advanced feel for the strike zone and is more of a hitter who has power than a slugger that swings from his heels. One way that scouts pick up on this is that Bird will not show you all of his raw power in BP. I’ve seen Bird take BP at least a half dozen times and, while Judge will let it loose in the last round and Gary Sanchez tries to put a hole in the outfield wall in most of his BP swings, Bird will just hit line drives all over the field with every swing. I’ve seen him hit homers in games to all parts of the ballpark and seen him carry the center field wall by 30 feet. It’s plus power and it might be a 65, I just haven’t seen it in BP to confirm. I also couldn’t get this out of my head when writing this report.

Summation: Bird will head to the upper levels for 2015 and, like Judge, if he keeps mashing may be a big league option by the end of 2015. More conservatively, there will be some challenges and things to work on and the ETA is likely sometime in 2016.

Upside: .275/.360/.470, 25 homers
FV/Risk: 50, Low (2 on a 1-5 scale)
Projected Path: 2015: AA/AAA, 2016: AAA/MLB

3. Greg Bird
4. Jorge Mateo
5. Robert Refsnyder
6. Gary Sanchez
7. Jacob Lindgren
8. Ian Clarkin
9. John Ryan Murphy
10. Luis Torrens
11. Tyler Austin
12. Bryan Mitchell
13. Miguel Andujar
14. Eric Jagielo
15. Jake Cave
16. Austin DeCarr
17. Tyler Wade
18. Juan DeLeon
19. Dante Bichette Jr.
20. Domingo German
21. Slade Heathcott
22. Nick Rumbelow
23. Jose Ramirez
24. Ramon Flores
25. Gosuke Katoh
26. Chasen Shreve
27. Taylor Dugas

28. Johnny Barbato

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