This Unheralded Yankees Prospect May Be Ready for The Show in 2017


New York Yankees first baseman Mike Ford as emerged as a legitimate major league prospect less than four years after going undrafted in June of 2013.

While he’s nowhere to be found on New York Yankees prospect lists, 24-year-old first baseman Mike Ford may be ready to have an impact at the big league level in the near future. According to the Steamer projection system, Ford would be a major league average hitter with solid power numbers if given the chance in 2017.

A cult favorite among many who follow the Yankees minor league system, Ford was a two-way star for Princeton, becoming the first player in history to win both the Ivy League Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year awards, and, even more remarkably, he did it in the same season.

Somehow this studious Sultan of Swat wasn’t taken seriously as a prospect despite hitting .320/.442/.503 with six homers in 147 AB and pitching to a 0.98 ERA in 64 IP as a junior for the Tigers. He eventually signed with the Yankees after a strong performance in the Cape Cod League that summer.

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After three solid professional campaigns, Ford made it up to Double-A in 2016, where he hit an impressive .280/.417/.455 (144 wRC+) with five home runs in 180 plate appearances, striking out just 13.9% of the time while walking at an impressive 18.9% clip.

Ford has hit every step of the way during his minor league career and is now expected to begin 2017 just one step away from The Show, as the starting first baseman for Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre. Both guys ahead of him on the depth chart, Greg Bird and Tyler Austin, have had serious injury issues in the past few seasons, so there is a non-zero chance Ford could get his shot in the Bronx at some point in 2017.

If he does, Steamer thinks he’ll be ready, projecting him to hit .253/.327/.417 (100 wRC+) with 20 home runs and 70 RBI if given a full season’s worth of plate appearances. That’s not a star, but it’s a useful reserve player.

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Steamer estimates he would be worth 1.1 WAR as a full-timer, which beats out the projection for Tyler Austin (0.4 WAR) and Rob Refsnyder (0.7 WAR), as well as previous Yankees’ backup first basemen Garrett Jones (0.4 WAR) and Ike Davis (1.0 WAR).