PP 2004 Scouting Report: 1B/3B Jayson Drobiak

The New York Yankees signed Jayson Drobiak on July 25th of 2002 out of the Independent Frontier League. Drobiak was originally drafted by the Detroit Tiger organization in the 44th round (1309th overall) of the 1999 Amateur Draft. He struggled mightily in the Tiger minor league system and was eventually let go by the club after the 2000 season.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Jayson Drobiak
Position: 1st base
DOB: March 3, 1979
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 190
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Place of Residence: Jewett, Connecticut
How Acquired: Jayson Drobiak was signed out of the Independent Frontier League on July 25th by the New York Yankees.


After 2000, Drobiak went to play in the Frontier League where the then 22 year old revitalized his young career. He was the star player for the Rockford Riverhawks for almost a year and a half. However, the Yankees saw an opening to obtain a very good talent and they jumped at the opportunity and assigned Drobiak to play for their A ball affiliate in Staten Island.

After a very strong college career, Drobiak was on top of the world after he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 1999 draft. The Tiger organization was expecting a very bright future from this youngster and believed that he could develop into a star in their farm system. He was the prototypical power hitting first base type that the organization was looking for.

Drobiak was assigned to the Tigers single A affiliate in Oneonta for his rookie campaign and was hoping to start a very good career. However, things did not go quite according to plan for Drobiak or the Tiger organization. He had a miserable season, hitting a pathetic .225 with no home runs in 31 games. Also, he only had 14 RBI and could only manage to compile a lowly .324 slugging percentage. This was not exactly the type of power hitting, star first baseman that the Tigers were expecting when they drafted Drobiak but they were hoping and thinking that this terrible season was nothing more than a case of the first year jitters.

Jayson Drobiak came to camp the next season with the Tigers affiliate in West Michigan with a clean slate and hoping that the season prior would become just a bad memory and that he could come back and have a great 2000 season. Once again, however, Drobiak's dreams were foiled and he had yet another miserable season in West Michigan. He only batted a dormant .224 with 5 home runs and 43 RBI and only could manage to put together another lowly slugging percentage of .326. Drobiak had hit rock bottom in the 2000 season and at that point he had no idea of the direction that his career was going.

Drobiak was released by Detroit after two straight horrible years with the bat and it seemed that his career as baseball player might be over. However, Drobiak remained determined and it found a job playing for the Rockford Riverhawks in the 2001 season. Drobiak had a great 2001 campaign with the team hitting .295 with 12 home runs and was finally showing the skills that Detroit believed that he possessed. The next season was even better for Drobiak when he hit an incredible .365 with 11 home runs and 44 RBI. Then on July 25 of 2002 Drobiak finally earned himself another shot and was signed by the New York Yankees.

The 23 year old Drobiak was ecstatic at the chance to play in the Yankee organization and was assigned to play for the Yankees A affiliate in Staten Island. There, Drobiak proved that his performance in the Frontier League was no fluke by hitting a solid .311 with 2 home runs and 16 RBI in 103 at bats. In 2003, Drobiak was promptly promoted to Battle Creek and it was there that he enjoyed the best season of his entire career. He hit .294 with a league leading 30 home runs while driving in an impressive 86 runs as well. Along with that, he put up a tremendous .559 slugging percentage.

During the 2003 campaign, Drobiak led the Yankees minor league system in many offensive categories and was in the top ten in others. The Yankee organization is now wondering if they should start to consider Jayson Drobiak as a top prospect again or just another over aged former prospect.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2003

Battle Creek

.293

499

35

30

86

83

18

42

120

.349

.559

2002

Staten Island

.311

103

8

2

16

17

1

5

22

.349

.485

2001

Springfield

.295

271

17

12

36

48

12

14

56

.341

.513

2000

West Michigan

.224

313

17

5

43

38

5

35

88

.305

.326

1999

Oneonta

.225

102

8

0

14

10

2

4

23

.279

.324


* Stats as of 9/7/03

Batting and Power. Jayson Drobiak has shown the world that he possesses tremendous power and can hit the ball out of the park at any time (just ask any MWL pitcher) and that he can also hit for a high average. The only question about Drobiak's hitting ability is if he will continue to hit at he moves up through the farm system and as he gets up against tougher pitching.

Base Running and Speed. Last season Jayson Drobiak swiped an incredibly surprising 18 bases and shows very good mobility at first base as well. So if you are thinking of him as just another, slow, lumbering first baseman you are sadly mistaken.

Defense. Jayson Drobiak has proven himself to be a solid defender at first base and has even played some games at third base throughout his minor league career as well. At any rate he has been an at least adequate fielder at every level he has played at.

Projection. This is a tough one to call when you consider Drobiak's age and that he is only in A ball at this point in his career. However, if he has truly turned around his career and continues to play as well as he has been we could see him as a very solid first baseman or even a third baseman in the major leagues someday.

ETA. 2006. At his age, he must move quickly through the Yankee system. It is hard to tell right now if Drobiak will bypass Tampa next year and go straight to Trenton but it seems that it could be a possibility. Most likely, he will play the 2005 season in Columbus and he could be playing in the majors by 2006.

First Basemen

2003 Team

Aaron Rifkin

AA - Trenton Thunder

Jeff Segar

A - Tampa Yankees

Hunter Bledsoe

A - Tampa Yankees

Jayson Drobiak A - Battle Creek Yankees
Eric Verbryke A - Battle Creek Yankees
Eric Duncan A - Staten Island Yankees
John Urick A - Staten Island Yankees
Taylor Mattingly R - Gulf Coast Yankees
Raul Dominguez Dominican Summer League Yankees


Comments


As of right now, there is nothing stopping a young first baseman from moving up through the Yankee farm system and making an impact on the major league level. Jason Giambi is to say the least, extremely fragile at first base and Nick Johnson has been sent packing to the Montreal Expos. This past off season, the Yankees would have loved nothing more than to have a young first baseman make his way through the ranks and step into a reserve first baseman role. Well, they really had no options of this nature to turn to at the time, but there are some lower level prospects that could be capable of taking on this role in the next couple of years if the need were to still exist.

1.) Aaron Rifkin - Rifkin enjoyed a breakout season in 2003 in which he finally showed off the skills that scouts had been saying that he had since he was drafted in 2001. Shows excellent left handed power and is a solid defender at first base. Needs to cut down on strikeouts and improve his patience at the plate. On base percentage must increase as well. At this point, he is one of the best first base prospects in the organization.

2.) Jeff Segar - After a fantastic season in 2002, Segar suffered a miserable 2003 campaign. Still has excellent power potential from the right hand side. Segar's defense is adequate, but still needs improvement. Must have a bounce back season to regain his standing in the organization. However, it is probable that he will still be promoted to AA Trenton for the 2004 season.

3.) Hunter Bledsoe - Bledsoe has been stuck in the minor leagues far longer than many of his statistics would suggest that he should be. However, he has shown very little to almost no power in his minor league career. Has been compared to Nick Johnson as a result of his patience at the plate. At 27 years of age, he is much to old for A ball. Must make a move within the next couple years, but with his age will still probably not be considered a prospect anymore.

4.) Jayson Drobiak - He could be categorized as the biggest organizational surprise of the 2003 season. Drobiak was picked up out of the Independent Frontier League back in 2002. This was after Drobiak had been released by the Tigers after the 2000 season. Ever since joining the Yankee organization, Drobiak has completely turned his career around. Had a career year in 2003, hitting .293 with an impressive 30 home runs. If he continues to surprise, he will move quickly through the system.

5.) Eric Verbryke - Another pleasant surprise for the Battle Creek Yankees in 2003 was Eric Verbryke. He served as the teams glorified utility man that could play many different positions in any game. However, he played many games at first base and performed very well. Played solid defense and provided a steady bat in the lineup day in and day out. Showed good power by popping 9 home runs while posting a .271 batting average. Expect Verbryke to move quickly through the Yankee farm system.

6.) Eric Duncan - Well for now, Eric Duncan is primarily a third baseman but it seems that in all likelihood that his future is as a first baseman. Is the number two prospect in the Yankee organization behind Dioner Navarro. Has great power with a short, sweet swing. He won't be rushed because of his young age but if he performs as well as he has, the organization will have no choice but to keep challenging him. Of the group and possibly of the entire organization, Eric Duncan is certainly the player to keep an eye on.

7.) John Urick - As an all around player it seems that Urick could have the potential to be an effective first baseman at a higher level. However, there is much to be improved upon on the part of his offense. His batting average stood at an anemic .226. The 22 year old lefty must improve his overall power and production numbers, but still is a very patient hitter that keeps his strikeout totals to a minimum.

8.) Taylor Mattingly - Mattingly only had a limited amount of playing time in 2003 but in the time he did play he did not show much with the bat. However, he did show good patience at the plate and played steady defense. On the other hand, it will take a full season to see what Mattingly really has to offer as a player.

9.) Raul Dominguez - Dominguez played for the Yankees 1 team in the Dominican Summer League in 2003 and there are already many scouts saying that he could be a big league star. It is obvious that it is much to difficult to tell what kind of player he could be considering his very young age and still incredibly raw ability. On the other hand, there is no doubt of the ability he has. He put up some of the best statistics in the league by hitting .316 with 4 HR and 46 RBI in 2003. His 46 RBI were tops in the league and he proved himself as one of the best players in the in the entire league. It is still early in his career, but keep an eye out for the name Raul Dominguez in the next few years.

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