New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird is off to a strong start in spring training. Down in Florida he’s 5-for-12 with three homers so far. It is very early of course but his swing looks to be in mid-season form right now.
Bird falls into a nebulous category. He showed his talents back in 2015 when he hit 11 homers with a .261/.343/529 slash line in 157 at-bats with the Yankees. However, he missed all of 2016 recovering from labrum surgery. He returned for the Arizona Fall League but did not thrive, hitting just .215/.346/.354, granted he did have a lot of rust to work off. He has too many MLB at-bats to count as a rookie so he doesn’t show up on prospect lists, but he’s not exactly an established player, either.
The hope is that Bird will be able to take over at first base with Mark Teixeira out of the picture and the early results this spring make that look quite likely.
Looking at the various projection methods, we find ZIPS with Bird at .234/.307/.449, but Steamer much more optimistic at .264/.345/.489. Baseball Prospectus has him right in between those extremes at .246/.330/.460. These all seem quite plausible but I’ll go with the BP numbers as the midpoint projection.
Bird is only 24. Don’t sleep on him.
Video by Aaron LaFond