Today’s Minor League Prospect Profile centers around Tampa first baseman/designated hitter, Greg Bird. The Yankees selected Bird in the fifth round of the 2011 Amateur Draft out of Grandview HS (Aurora, CO).
Bird did not generate a ton of interest in his high school career. He was looked at as a player who could use some seasoning in college. This lead him to commit to the University of Arkansas prior to the 2011 draft. That changed when the Yankees used their fifth round pick on Bird. After the Yankees offered Bird a $1.1M dollar bonus, he decided to turn pro.
Bird played four games of rookie ball for the Gulf Coast Yankees after being drafted. His 2012 season was limited to just 28 games, due to a back injury. That prompted the Yankees to move him to first base after drafting him as a catcher. Although it was a small sample size, he was showing some promise. Bird hit .337 with two homers and drove in thirteen in 109 plate appearances. He did enough to start the 2013 season in Low-A Charleston. This is where Bird started to gain some major attention. His 20 home runs and 84 RBI opened a lot of eyes. He hit .228 with an OBP well over .400. Prior to 2014, Marc Hulet of Fangraphs listed Bird as the Yankees’ eighth-best prospect.
Bird was promoted to Tampa to start 2014. His power numbers are down this year, as he has connected for 7 home runs and 30 RBI. His average sits at a respectable .281. Twenty-eight of his seventy-two hits have been for extra bases. The Yankees would love to see Bird take the next step this season, and make the jump to Double-A, but his age (21) allows the organization to be patient with him.
Scouts view Bird as a very good hitter, who can find a place on a big league roster because of his bat. Defensively he’s looked at as a liability. If he can regain his power stroke or develop into a pure gap hitter, as well as remain patient at the plate, you could see Bird start to move up in the system. It will be awhile before you see him in the majors, as he has to show he can hit at the higher levels.