Name: Thairo Estrada
DOB: February 22, 1996
Batting and Power. Estrada, who still hasn't even turned 20 years old yet, has superb pitch recognition, plate discipline, and overall patience, arguably some of the best of any current teenage professional baseball player. He simply knows how to hit and has the innate feel of a seasoned veteran hitter, one who should be a lot older than he is. His career .272 average to date does not do his natural hitting abilities any justice; he has the potential to be a high-average hitter someday and seems to be at his best when the pressure is highest. What makes him even more intriguing is his rare ability to barrel the baseball so consistently. Not physically imposing at all, standing just 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, he still has long-term average or better big league power potential because of his nice blend of above average speed and uncanny feel for barreling the baseball. He might not be a huge home threat when it's all said and done given his physical limitations but he has the chance to be a high extra-base hitter.
Base Running and Speed. Estrada doesn't just have sneaky power, he has sneaky speed too. More above average speed-wise than a true burner, his impact running the bases can play to a plus level at times because of his enormous baseball acumen, aggressive running style, and all-out hustle. Second to none as a station to station runner, Estrada is just now scratching the surface of his base stealing abilities. He projects to be a solid 20-plus stolen base threat [perhaps even more] as he continues to mature and gain experience.
Defense. Let's get this out of the way; there are better and more elite defensive shortstop options from a physical tools standpoint, mostly range-wise. However, few boast his combination of above average or better physical tools, high baseball intellect, and tremendous mental makeup. His range is still very much above average, he has soft hands, and he has plus arm strength, but throwing in a very much Derek Jeter-like feel for the position he shows long-term above average defensive potential at the position. He has begun playing more second base recently due to the glut of quality shortstop prospects in the Yankee farm system and he has proven to have long-term plus defensive potential there in short order. He has the arm to play third base in a pinch and the speed to play centerfield if called upon too. Quite simply, he's a more than adequate defender at a few different positions.
Projection. With above average speed, average or better power potential, tremendous mental makeup, an ability to hit consistently, and above average or better defensive potential at a few different positions the still 19-year old is very rare indeed in that he already has the floor of an eventual big league utility player at minimum. However, not only was he born to hit and do so oh-so consistently, he still has a considerable ceiling left to be tapped as well in every area of his game. Throw in tremendous high character makeup and his all-out hustle style of play he's the kind of player any manager wants on the field as much as possible because he can do a lot of different things. In most other farm systems he would have the ceiling of an everyday big league shortstop [and he still does with the Yankees] but because of the Yankee depth at the position he best projects long-term as an eventual starting second baseman, one who can be above average or better on both sides of the ball. There's an Anthony Rendon-like offensive ceiling if he continues to progress but better defensive potential at similar ages.
ETA. N/A. It's still a little too early to calculate a responsible estimated big league arrival time considering Estrada still has yet to make it to the long-season leagues and also throwing in the fact that his everyday position is still very much up in the air. With no real weaknesses in his game he could accelerate a lot quicker through the minor leagues if he were moved to second base permanently right now but it's also tough to completely give up on his shortstop ceiling just yet too. For now he will most likely continue playing both positions and open up with low-A Charleston to start the 2016 season. Don't be surprised if he begins to move a lot quicker through the minor leagues, however, shortly thereafter if he remains healthy.