Scouting Yankees Prospect #2: Greg Bird

The Yankees selected first catcher Greg Bird in the fifth round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of Grandview High School in Colorado. Minor injuries haven't been able to derail his development as one of the better pure hitters in the Yankee farm system and his long-term projection screams impact player at the big league level someday.

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

Batting and Power. Bird has long been lauded as one of the best overall hitters in the Yankee farm system despite some not so great batting averages at the minor league level and it's because of his consistent professional approach to every at-bat. His knowledge of the strike zone is superb, his patience at the plate is second to none, and he has an uncanny knack for keeping the barrel of the bat in the zone longer than most. Throw in an advanced ability to spray line drives all over the field and all if it equates to some impressive batting averages coming his way down the road. The soon to be high-average hitter also has above average power to all fields, especially to the pull-side where he has the chance to hit some prodigious home runs. He is an impact hitter, both power-wise and with his ability to get on base at a high rate.

Base Running and Speed. Like most traditional first baseman, Bird has very little in the way of foot speed. He's an intelligent runner but physically has little in the way of impact ability due to his below average speed.

Defense. Bird has been unfairly knocked for his defensive shortcomings at first base. He doesn't have great natural speed but he does show some nimbleness around the bag, good soft hands, and he's able to pick it out of the dirt well. He projects to be an average or better defender long-term, perhaps even above average, given his high baseball intellect, attention to detail, and tireless work ethic.

Projection. Outside of negligible foot speed there really is only one downside to Bird's game and that's his supreme patience at the plate. He knows the strike zone so well and he knows exactly what pitches he's looking to drive that often times he will take strikes earlier in counts and fall behind, or he'll be prone to taking borderline third-strike calls. Because of that he will strike out a bit more than he should given his plus ability to make contact, but he'll also draw a lot of walks too in the process. It's because of this trait that the comparisons to Cincinnati Reds' first baseman Joey Votto are on the money, and like Votto he has the chance to develop into one of the more consistent offensive producers in the heart of a big league lineup. He has big league All Star potential, plain and simple.

ETA. 2015. We've been touting his big league ETA at 2015 for some time now and he's clearly big league ready.

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