Scouting Yankees Prospect #11: Brandon Laird

The Yankees drafted third baseman Brandon Laird in the 27th round of the 2007 MLB Draft out of Cypress College. He has posted some really good numbers in his first three professional seasons but was plagued by slow starts. Nearly everyone dreamed of what he could do if he got off to a hot start and he finally showed that last year, earning Double-A Eastern League MVP honors.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Brandon Laird
Position: Third Base
DOB: September 11, 1987
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 215
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

"It went well there and I saw the ball real well," Laird said of his time in Trenton. "In the beginning of the season when I was driving in all of those runs, I give a lot of credit to the guys who got on base, guys like [Austin] Krum and all of them.

"I was just trying to drive in runs as much as I could. The numbers were there and I got a promotion up [to Scranton]."

Just a combined .253 hitter with only eight home runs in the first halves of 2008 and 2009, Laird finally had the kind of first half he usually saved for the second half, hitting .276 with 19 home runs prior to the Eastern League All Star break last season.

He credits finally getting off to the hot start with his time in the Arizona Fall League last offseason when he hit .333 with six home runs while playing against some of the elite talent minor league baseball has to offer.

"I think it helped going out there and playing with all of the good talent," he opined. "I just wanted to keep it going from the Fall League into the season and that helped. I went to Spring Training over in big league camp and did well over there.

"I just wanted to have a good season and show them that I could play in the big leagues someday soon. I wanted to put it in their heads and I think I did a pretty good job of that."

His cup of coffee with Triple-A Scranton didn't go nearly as well, however, hitting just .246 with two home runs [both of which came in his very first game] in 31 games.

A career .281 hitter and coming off of a career-high 25 home runs though, nobody is too concerned about his bat long-term. In fact, in an effort to find room for him at the big league level someday, the Yankees sent him out the Arizona Fall League once again this offseason to get him time in both left and right field.

"With more flexibility, playing first and third as well as left and right [field], I'll be playing four positions and hopefully have a better chance next year with the [big league] club," he said.

"I am excited about moving to the outfield. I've got first and third locked, and playing two more positions is going to help me get to the big leagues. If I get a chance to make the club next year or get up there playing left, right, first and third, that's more for them and more for me."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2010

Scranton

.246

122

6

2

12

13

0

4

27

.268

.344

2010

Trenton

.291

409

22

23

90

73

2

38

84

.355

.523

2009

Tampa

.266

451

20

13

75

53

1

39

75

.329

.415

2008

Charleston

.273

454

31

23

86

71

1

40

86

.334

.498

2007

GCL Yankees

.339

168

14

8

29

27

0

6

26

.367

.577



Batting and Power. Laird has always had above average power to all fields, even in his younger days, but often times his power would escape him because he would press too much actually trying to hit home runs. He was at his absolute best when he took what the pitchers gave him and used his center-to-opposite field approach, and that's exactly what he did last year. The end result was the same kind of power numbers but he was able to hit for the higher average most scouts believed he could. The other thing that hasn't changed is his aggressive approach to hitting. While he has the selectivity to draw walks, getting on-base via the free pass isn't always at the forefront of his objectives.

Base Running and Speed. Like most sluggers, Laird has been and most likely always will be a station-to-station base runner. He won't have much of an impact in the running game.

Defense. Known primarily for his bat, Laird is still a very serviceable defensive player at third base and even at first base. He has decent range, not great, but he does have a strong throwing arm and he can make the necessary short-hop and back-handed plays. He is very new to the outfield position but the early reports are his defense is much the same there - serviceable.

Projection. Laird's best attribute is clearly his power and overall hitting ability. When he keeps his up-the-middle approach and doesn't get too home run happy on the pull-side, he is a good hitter for average who can drive in runs in ways other than the long ball. He's not going to win many ball games with his glove at any position, of which he plays four corner spots now, but he has the type of bat that can help a big league lineup on an everyday basis. He has often been compared to a Billy Butler type as an offensive-first player who can play in the corners, and like Butler his bat could come around at the big league level after he gains some experience breaking in as a reserve corner guy.

ETA. 2012. Laird needs some more time in the outfield and a little more seasoning offensively at Triple-A, but he is pretty close to being big league ready right now. Expect him to open up in Scranton and a short-term promotion to the big leagues is not out of the question later in the year.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Brandon Laird
\r\nPosition: Third Base
\r\nDOB: September 11, 1987
\r\nHeight: 6'1\"
\r\nWeight: 215
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\n\"It went well there and I saw the ball real well,\" Laird said of his time in Trenton. \"In the beginning of the season when I was driving in all of those runs, I give a lot of credit to the guys who got on base, guys like [Austin] Krum and all of them.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was just trying to drive in runs as much as I could. The numbers were there and I got a promotion up [to Scranton].\"
\r\n
\r\nJust a combined .253 hitter with only eight home runs in the first halves of 2008 and 2009, Laird finally had the kind of first half he usually saved for the second half, hitting .276 with 19 home runs prior to the Eastern League All Star break last season.
\r\n
\r\nHe credits finally getting off to the hot start with his time in the Arizona Fall League last offseason when he hit .333 with six home runs while playing against some of the elite talent minor league baseball has to offer.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think it helped going out there and playing with all of the good talent,\" he opined. \"I just wanted to keep it going from the Fall League into the season and that helped. I went to Spring Training over in big league camp and did well over there.
\r\n
\r\n\"I just wanted to have a good season and show them that I could play in the big leagues someday soon. I wanted to put it in their heads and I think I did a pretty good job of that.\"
\r\n
\r\nHis cup of coffee with Triple-A Scranton didn't go nearly as well, however, hitting just .246 with two home runs [both of which came in his very first game] in 31 games.
\r\n
\r\nA career .281 hitter and coming off of a career-high 25 home runs though, nobody is too concerned about his bat long-term. In fact, in an effort to find room for him at the big league level someday, the Yankees sent him out the Arizona Fall League once again this offseason to get him time in both left and right field.
\r\n
\r\n\"With more flexibility, playing first and third as well as left and right [field], I'll be playing four positions and hopefully have a better chance next year with the [big league] club,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\n\"I am excited about moving to the outfield. I've got first and third locked, and playing two more positions is going to help me get to the big leagues. If I get a chance to make the club next year or get up there playing left, right, first and third, that's more for them and more for me.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

\r\n Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n AVG

\r\n

\r\n AB

\r\n

\r\n 2B

\r\n

\r\n HR

\r\n

\r\n RBI

\r\n

\r\n R

\r\n

\r\n SB

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

\r\n SO

\r\n

\r\n OBP

\r\n

\r\n SLG

\r\n

\r\n 2010

\r\n

\r\n Scranton

\r\n

\r\n .246

\r\n

\r\n 122

\r\n

\r\n 6

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 12

\r\n

\r\n 13

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 4

\r\n

\r\n 27

\r\n

\r\n .268

\r\n

\r\n .344

\r\n

\r\n 2010

\r\n

\r\n Trenton

\r\n

\r\n .291

\r\n

\r\n 409

\r\n

\r\n 22

\r\n

\r\n 23

\r\n

\r\n 90

\r\n

\r\n 73

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 38

\r\n

\r\n 84

\r\n

\r\n .355

\r\n

\r\n .523

\r\n

\r\n 2009

\r\n

\r\n Tampa

\r\n

\r\n .266

\r\n

\r\n 451

\r\n

\r\n 20

\r\n

\r\n 13

\r\n

\r\n 75

\r\n

\r\n 53

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 39

\r\n

\r\n 75

\r\n

\r\n .329

\r\n

\r\n .415

\r\n

\r\n 2008

\r\n

\r\n Charleston

\r\n

\r\n .273

\r\n

\r\n 454

\r\n

\r\n 31

\r\n

\r\n 23

\r\n

\r\n 86

\r\n

\r\n 71

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 40

\r\n

\r\n 86

\r\n

\r\n .334

\r\n

\r\n .498

\r\n

\r\n 2007

\r\n

\r\n GCL Yankees

\r\n

\r\n .339

\r\n

\r\n 168

\r\n

\r\n 14

\r\n

\r\n 8

\r\n

\r\n 29

\r\n

\r\n 27

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 6

\r\n

\r\n 26

\r\n

\r\n .367

\r\n

\r\n .577


\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power. Laird has always had above average power to all fields, even in his younger days, but often times his power would escape him because he would press too much actually trying to hit home runs. He was at his absolute best when he took what the pitchers gave him and used his center-to-opposite field approach, and that's exactly what he did last year. The end result was the same kind of power numbers but he was able to hit for the higher average most scouts believed he could. The other thing that hasn't changed is his aggressive approach to hitting. While he has the selectivity to draw walks, getting on-base via the free pass isn't always at the forefront of his objectives.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed. Like most sluggers, Laird has been and most likely always will be a station-to-station base runner. He won't have much of an impact in the running game.
\r\n
\r\nDefense. Known primarily for his bat, Laird is still a very serviceable defensive player at third base and even at first base. He has decent range, not great, but he does have a strong throwing arm and he can make the necessary short-hop and back-handed plays. He is very new to the outfield position but the early reports are his defense is much the same there - serviceable.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. Laird's best attribute is clearly his power and overall hitting ability. When he keeps his up-the-middle approach and doesn't get too home run happy on the pull-side, he is a good hitter for average who can drive in runs in ways other than the long ball. He's not going to win many ball games with his glove at any position, of which he plays four corner spots now, but he has the type of bat that can help a big league lineup on an everyday basis. He has often been compared to a Billy Butler type as an offensive-first player who can play in the corners, and like Butler his bat could come around at the big league level after he gains some experience breaking in as a reserve corner guy.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2012. Laird needs some more time in the outfield and a little more seasoning offensively at Triple-A, but he is pretty close to being big league ready right now. Expect him to open up in Scranton and a short-term promotion to the big leagues is not out of the question later in the year.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

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