Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Gregory Bird, 1B:

Greg Bird was selected in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. Bird was the Yankees last major over-slot signing, as he got $1.1 million. Bird was considered an inexperienced catcher at the time of the draft, and because of missed time due to a balky back the Yankees were forced to move him to first. While the move does hurt his value, the Yankees are confident that he has the bat for the position. So far Bird has done his job to prove he deserved such a big signing bonus and currently stands as the best Yankees first base prospect since Nick Johnson

Vital Statistics:

Born: Nov. 9, 1992 B-T L-R. Ht: 6-3 Wt: 215
Drafted: HS- Aurora, Colorodo, 2011 (5th round).

2011 stats(4 gms): BA/OBP/SLG/WOBA/WRC+           .083/.154/.083/.130/-22 GULF (RK)
2012 stats(17 gms)                                                  .286/.419/.367/.384/143 GULF (RK)
2012 stats(11 gms)                                                  .400/.489/.650/.518/229 NYPL (A-)
2013 stats(130 gms)                                                .288/.428/.511/.429/170 SALL (A)


Despite being a fifth round pick the The 18 year old Greg Bird's signing bonus was higher than any other Yankee draft pick in 2011.Upon signing he was thought to be an inexperienced catcher who lacked athleticism. He would have been given time to learn the position, but he was barely able to get any game action in his first couple of seasons. This ultimately put a end to his catching career.

While the Yankees thought of him as catcher, their main reason for signing him was his impressive power. He showed this power in his last year of high school and by putting up a slash line of  .273/.446/.494 in the California Collegiate League (college level summer league), after he was drafted.

2013 Performance:

In his first full season as a Yankee, Bird showed everyone why the Yankees gave him that bonus. Bird had 20 homeruns last year becoming the first left-handed prospect in Yankee history to reach that mark as a member of the Charleston Riverdogs. This is significant because Riverdogs play in one of the worst hitting parks in minor league baseball ( 0.929 PF). Bird's  advanced bat helped him not only exceed in Low A but dominate it. Bird led the league in walks and walk percentage and was in top ten in the following categories: OPS,WOBA, ISO, WRC+, HRs, RBIs, and runs.

Despite doing all of this  at the age of 20  he was left off of BA's top 20 list for the South Atlantic league. However he did receive praise from Jim Callis who said Bird had  "legitimate power"and that he was interested in seeing how Bird does at higher levels.Bird was also called the best sleeper in the system by Marc Hulet.

Scouting Report:

Besides making Callis's All-Prospect-second team, Bird missed out on most lists. One of the reasons for this is that 1b prospects have to do a lot to get national attention. While I feel that Bird did do enough to deserve more attention others questioned his power and stated that he strikes out to much.

According to BA's Josh Norris, people question his bat speed. Norris also remarked that Bird did most of his damage on the road. While Bird did have a significant home/road split he actually hit well everywhere. Bird hit .328/.470/.608 on the road and 248/.383/.412 at home, both splits are exceptional. His power wasn't his only question-mark as, he had never really played first base before this season and so far has only done an average job of fielding the position.

While some still question his power and defense almost everyone agrees that he has an advanced hit tool and lacks speed. Additionally some wonder if he is to selective at the plate, he had 107 walks last season but also struck out 23 percent of the time.


In his BA writeup he was compared to Lyle Overbay.While Overbay did have a nice 3 year peak, where he produced an .854 OPS, Bird still has time to prove he is better player. The hard part about projecting a first baseman is that they have to produce a lot of power in order to be successful and it isn't easy to predict how much power a young prospect like Bird will really have.If Bird  repeats his 2013 stat line in high A and AA next year he will get nicer projections.

2014 Level:

2014 will be a big year for Bird, he will begin the year in a less extreme pitcher's park and should be able to show scouts whether his power is real. If he does well in the first half of 2014 he might be moved to AA.

This also depends on how other first base prospects perform, as he has to share playing time with two lesser but important prospects in Reymond Nunez and Matt Snyder. If he progresses without any setbacks he could be in the majors sometime in 2016 season.

Bird made quite a jump in the Yankees prospect rankings this year but with another great season he could be a top 100 prospect in baseball and the top prospect in the system.


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