Scouting Report: 2B, Ty McFarland

The Yankees selected Ty McFarland in the tenth round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of James Madison University. The former college third baseman known for his advanced plate discipline and steady bat began transitioning to second base at the professional level, and the hope is he could be the newest version of Rob Refsnyder as an offensive-minded middle infielder.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Ty McFarland
Position: Second Base
DOB: October 13, 1991
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 190
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

He hit a very respectable .278 with 17 doubles, five home runs, and a team-leading 40 RBIs for the Staten Island Yankees in his debut season this year.

"It was a fun summer," McFarland said. "I was surrounded by great coaches and great teammates. I learned a lot. A lot of coordinators came through and gave me a lot of suggestions so it was a summer to get my feet wet in pro ball and soak up as much information as I can.

"I learned the most in the area that I had the most improvement needed and that's defense. My infield coordinator and [coaches] just showed me a lot of different stuff from footwork to glove work, to arm angle. There was a lot to take in but I was very happy I got it all."

Walking eight more times than he struck out in his four-year college career, however, offensively there weren't too many question marks surrounding him. Defensively though, his debut season was all about transitioning from solely a corner infielder in college to second base.

"It was definitely tough shifting to the other side of the infield," he admitted. "With those coaches though it made it a lot easier. I think I had just one or two really bad weeks where I made a lot of simple mistakes.

"I was trying to turn a lot of double-plays before I even got the ball. Once I worked with [the coaches] we ironed some stuff out and I got a really good grasp of it, and made a lot of good improvements that I was really happy with."

The hardest part about switching over to second base is learning the nuances of the double-play pivot. It's even tough for shortstops to learn the different angles and it's especially more difficult for former corner infielders.

"Definitely, I think that's the hardest part about transitioning to second base," he concurred. "The throw is going to be a lot shorter than third [base] so you don't really have to worry about that. But you have to worry about people sliding into you and getting rid of the ball quick. I think I definitely made the most improvement there."

The improvements were quite noticeable. He committed 13 errors in his first 40 games and just six in his final 23 games. For McFarland, he simply wants to play wherever his game has the best chance of succeeding and quite frankly it's his bat that projects to be a plus tool and profiles better at second base.

"My greatest strength is I usually have a good approach. I have a good idea of what the pitchers are going to come at me with. Other than that I like driving runs in. Whatever helps the team; driving runs in, moving guys over, all of that good stuff.

"I've heard [these comparisons] before but my three favorite players right now are Matt Carpenter, Daniel Murphy, and Nick Markakis. They're all guys who are doubles hitters that can get on base and don't strike out too much. That's kind of who I model my offensive game after, those three guys, but I'm a long way from comparing myself to them."

While he won't make the comparison the fact is the comparisons are already there offensively. A former shortstop in high school, he believes that he has the requisite athleticism to make the successful transition to second base, a position that, like Rob Refsnyder, would allow McFarland to be a bit of a standout offensively.

"It's not something I'm trying to worry about," he said. "At this point I'm just trying to get a grasp of the position and just keep getting better each day.

"I talked to my coordinators a lot about Rob Refsnyder; he rakes and supposedly he's become really good at defense so I'm looking forward to maybe seeing him at Spring Training and picking his brain about the shift to second base."

Continuing his defensive progression at second base will remain a work in progress through the coming years. And offensively, while there are little concerns with his ability to swing the bat, McFarland thinks there is a bit more upside there too.

"I think I displayed the kind of hitter I typically am. That being said though there's still plenty of room for improvement. My walk rate [in Staten Island] was pretty low and in college it was pretty high so that's something I want to improve on for 2015. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can from the coaches and the other players in the organization."














2014 Staten Island .278 237 17 5 40 24 6 20 37 .345 .430

Batting and Power. Supreme knowledge of the strike zone is the best term to describe McFarland as a hitter. The stroke is short, compact, and the bat speed is above average, and he is advanced at using the whole field when he hits, but what brings it all together is his innate ability to recognize pitches, hone in on one location, and drive the baseball. More of a doubles-hitter, he hits from gap to gap and the home run power is more average than anything but he can show some impressive power to the pull-side. His superb discipline does suggest he could be quite prolific at drawing walks as he gains more experience.

Base Running and Speed. Perhaps a tick below average in overall speed, McFarland is actually a solid base runner. The son of a long-time baseball coach, it's his baseball intellect in combination with his longer limbs that makes him a decent running threat on the base paths. He has the ability to be a double-digit stolen base threat.

Defense. One of the taller second baseman around, McFarland does pale in comparison to other middle infielders speed-wise. His range is merely adequate and probably won't improve much beyond that, but he does show soft hands and, a former third baseman, his arm plays up to a plus level at second base. More than anything he just needs more experience to learn the nuances of playing second base. His ceiling though is more of an average defensive second baseman and he's not there yet.

Projection. McFarland's projection will ultimately be decided by whether or not he can successfully transition himself into a average and even serviceable defensive second baseman. Offensively though, the comparisons to St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Carpenter are legit; great plate discipline, an ability to draw walks and not strike out, plus gap power, etc. And while that kind of offensive game might play at his natural third base position for some teams, it would play a lot better at second base for a team like the Yankees. Think Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets for a good comparison. Like Murphy the offensive output will most likely outweigh any potential defensive shortcomings.

ETA. 2017. McFarland's bat is absolutely ready to make the jump to the Florida State League next season. There is also a realistic chance that he could climb the minor league ladder in Rob Refsnyder-like fashion given his advanced hitting ability too and might only be slowed by his defensive work.

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