Scouting Yankees Prospect #9: Greg Bird

The Yankees selected catcher Greg Bird in the fifth round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of Grandview High School in Colorado. At $1.1 million, he signed for the highest bonus of all the Yankee draft picks and the Yankees love the high-upside offensive potential he brings with him behind the plate.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Greg Bird
Position: Catcher
DOB: November 9, 1992
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 220
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

"We think Greg Bird has a chance to really hit, hit with power, and land in the middle of a lineup," Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer told PinstripesPlus.com on draft day. "When we're talking about that type of bat from the left side, it's a pretty serious commodity.

"If he catches or plays first base, it really doesn't matter, we believe this is a real, legitimate bat, and left-handed bats with this kind of power are hard to come by. I think we're buying bat power before we're buying the catcher side of it with Greg."

Known as offensive-minded backstop cut in the mold of a Jesus Montero or Gary Sanchez type, Bird saw just a handful of games in the Gulf Coast League since he signed too late to see any significant playing time. The Yankees quickly went to work on his defensive game behind the scenes though this offseason.

"That's coming along really well," Bird said of his defense. "I feel like I keep improving and the coaches seem real happy. I'm enjoying it. I think the raw skills of catching has been the hardest; footwork, blocking, and all of that stuff.

"Going into it I never had good catching instruction. I had catching instruction just not to the level that I've had now. I just think trying to pick on things that I never even realized were possible has been the key to it all."

He possesses the necessary athletic foundation, including a strong arm, to make the long-term defensive adjustments needed. It's just going to take some time to learn the nuances of the position. Until that time, however, the Yankees are very excited about the kind of offense he can bring to the position.

"He's going to have a good chance to hit," GCL Yankees manager Carlos Mendoza opined. "The scouting department did a great job signing this guy; a catcher hitting from the left side, tall, good athletic body, and he made huge improvements defensively behind the plate [with] blocking, throwing.

"And offensively he's going to hit. He's got a short swing, he's a line-drive hitter to the opposite field, etc. I'm very excited about this kid."

His exposure to the professional ranks has pretty much been limited to two Instructional League camps this offseason and the pre-Spring Training mini-camp. And while nearly everyone is excited about his hitting potential and defensive progrss thus far, it is Bird's overall makeup that brings the entire package together.

"It's been a while since I've played in games," Bird admitted. "I played in the collegiate league and I was done with that in late July. I played in a couple of games during the regular season but the rest of the games were in the offseason and it's not quite as competitive.

"It's still competitive but it's just not the same. The actual season, I'm looking forward to that big-time. I'm confident.

"You've got to be confident in baseball, especially with hitting. I just don't want to press too much. I'm going to do what I do and do what I've done my whole life, and see how it works out. I think you get into trouble when you try too hard and pressing so I'm just going to relax and just give them my best."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2011 GCL Yankees .083 12 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 .154 .083


Batting and Power. Bird's offensive success begins and ends with his incredibly short, compact stroke, and great bat speed. He shows an advanced approach to hitting with good patience and pitch recognition, and he's willing to use the entire field. An exceptional gap hitter, he has above average power to the opposite field and plus home run potential to the pull-side. He is also very calm in the batter's box and seldom finds himself guessing.

Base Running and Speed. Bird isn't fast but he is far more nimble and athletic than most catchers around, giving him above base running skills for a power guy. He won't steal much but he's not likely to hurt his team in the running game like other catchers tend to do.

Defense. It's because of his natural athleticism that many scouts believe he has what it takes to stick at catcher long-term. He has a ton of learning to do short-term, however, in his receiving skills, blocking balls, the nuances of calling games, and better footwork when making his throws to second base. He'll have his struggles for the foreseeable future as he continues to learn but there's some real potential here.

Projection. How far Bird's defensive game behind the plate develops is simply a wait and see proposition, but what makes him so good is that his bat projects to be productive anywhere down the road. He has to continue to develop and further prove himself, but with a quick-twitch stroke and plus power potential, not to mention an advanced hitting approach and early proclivity for clutch hitting, his ceiling is that of a future big league hitter who could hit in the heart of the order. Should he be able to do just that while playing a solid defensive catcher's position, he has the chance to be a special player.

ETA. N/A. It's too early to give a realistic timetable on his future big league arrival at this point until he shows just how quick he can pick up the defensive side of things. He'll get plenty of one-on-one time in Extended Spring Training and he is destined for one of the short-season league teams in 2012.

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Greg Bird
\r\nPosition: Catcher
\r\nDOB: November 9, 1992
\r\nHeight: 6'3\"
\r\nWeight: 220
\r\nBats: Left
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\n\"We think Greg Bird has a chance to really hit, hit with power, and land in the middle of a lineup,\" Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer told PinstripesPlus.com on draft day. \"When we're talking about that type of bat from the left side, it's a pretty serious commodity.
\r\n
\r\n\"If he catches or plays first base, it really doesn't matter, we believe this is a real, legitimate bat, and left-handed bats with this kind of power are hard to come by. I think we're buying bat power before we're buying the catcher side of it with Greg.\"
\r\n
\r\nKnown as offensive-minded backstop cut in the mold of a Jesus Montero or Gary Sanchez type, Bird saw just a handful of games in the Gulf Coast League since he signed too late to see any significant playing time. The Yankees quickly went to work on his defensive game behind the scenes though this offseason.
\r\n
\r\n\"That's coming along really well,\" Bird said of his defense. \"I feel like I keep improving and the coaches seem real happy. I'm enjoying it. I think the raw skills of catching has been the hardest; footwork, blocking, and all of that stuff.
\r\n
\r\n\"Going into it I never had good catching instruction. I had catching instruction just not to the level that I've had now. I just think trying to pick on things that I never even realized were possible has been the key to it all.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe possesses the necessary athletic foundation, including a strong arm, to make the long-term defensive adjustments needed. It's just going to take some time to learn the nuances of the position. Until that time, however, the Yankees are very excited about the kind of offense he can bring to the position.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's going to have a good chance to hit,\" GCL Yankees manager Carlos Mendoza opined. \"The scouting department did a great job signing this guy; a catcher hitting from the left side, tall, good athletic body, and he made huge improvements defensively behind the plate [with] blocking, throwing.
\r\n
\r\n\"And offensively he's going to hit. He's got a short swing, he's a line-drive hitter to the opposite field, etc. I'm very excited about this kid.\"
\r\n
\r\nHis exposure to the professional ranks has pretty much been limited to two Instructional League camps this offseason and the pre-Spring Training mini-camp. And while nearly everyone is excited about his hitting potential and defensive progrss thus far, it is Bird's overall makeup that brings the entire package together.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's been a while since I've played in games,\" Bird admitted. \"I played in the collegiate league and I was done with that in late July. I played in a couple of games during the regular season but the rest of the games were in the offseason and it's not quite as competitive.

\r\n\"It's still competitive but it's just not the same. The actual season, I'm looking forward to that big-time. I'm confident.
\r\n
\r\n\"You've got to be confident in baseball, especially with hitting. I just don't want to press too much. I'm going to do what I do and do what I've done my whole life, and see how it works out. I think you get into trouble when you try too hard and pressing so I'm just going to relax and just give them my best.\"
\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

Team

\r\n

AVG

\r\n

AB

\r\n

2B

\r\n

HR

\r\n

RBI

\r\n

R

\r\n

SB

\r\n

BB

\r\n

SO

\r\n

OBP

\r\n

SLG

\r\n 2011\r\n GCL Yankees\r\n .083\r\n 12\r\n 0\r\n 0\r\n 0\r\n 0\r\n 0\r\n 1\r\n 4\r\n .154\r\n .083

\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power. Bird's offensive success begins and ends with his incredibly short, compact stroke, and great bat speed. He shows an advanced approach to hitting with good patience and pitch recognition, and he's willing to use the entire field. An exceptional gap hitter, he has above average power to the opposite field and plus home run potential to the pull-side. He is also very calm in the batter's box and seldom finds himself guessing.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed. Bird isn't fast but he is far more nimble and athletic than most catchers around, giving him above base running skills for a power guy. He won't steal much but he's not likely to hurt his team in the running game like other catchers tend to do.
\r\n
\r\nDefense. It's because of his natural athleticism that many scouts believe he has what it takes to stick at catcher long-term. He has a ton of learning to do short-term, however, in his receiving skills, blocking balls, the nuances of calling games, and better footwork when making his throws to second base. He'll have his struggles for the foreseeable future as he continues to learn but there's some real potential here.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. How far Bird's defensive game behind the plate develops is simply a wait and see proposition, but what makes him so good is that his bat projects to be productive anywhere down the road. He has to continue to develop and further prove himself, but with a quick-twitch stroke and plus power potential, not to mention an advanced hitting approach and early proclivity for clutch hitting, his ceiling is that of a future big league hitter who could hit in the heart of the order. Should he be able to do just that while playing a solid defensive catcher's position, he has the chance to be a special player.
\r\n
\r\nETA. N/A. It's too early to give a realistic timetable on his future big league arrival at this point until he shows just how quick he can pick up the defensive side of things. He'll get plenty of one-on-one time in Extended Spring Training and he is destined for one of the short-season league teams in 2012.
\r\n
\r\n

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

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\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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