Yankees state of the system: First Base

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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With the graduation of McBroom, Trenton should call on Chris Gittens, a towering, powering right-handed masher.

At 6’4″ and 250 pounds, the 23-year-old Gittens is an imposing presence in the batter’s box. Last summer in Tampa, he slashed .266/.372/.472 with 13 home runs in 73 games. The previous year, Gittens managed 21 dingers across 107 games with Charleston.

The Yankees selected Gittens in the 12th round of the 2014 Draft out of Grayson County College in Texas. He stunned evaluators by batting .341 with plenty of pop in his first pro season. Since then, he’s come back to Earth a bit.

Nevertheless, Gittens has hit everywhere he’s gone.

He’s a bit in the McBroom mold — effortless power and a sweet stroke to all fields, but the rest of his game is suspect.

Gittens will be tested this year. It’s a bit of a cliche, but 2018 is make-or-break for him. The caliber of quality pitching skyrockets between Single-A and Double-A. If Gittens performs at this level, he can establish himself as a legitimate prospect.

The Thunder might also call on Tim Lynch, the team’s ninth-round pick in 2016.

After four seasons at Southern Mississippi, the 24-year-old Lynch posted a tremendous 2017 in Tampa. Batting .310/.368/.573 with 13 homers in 57 games, Lynch was one of the best hitters in the Florida State League.

With one full season of pro ball under his belt, Lynch needs to be challenged. The Yankees should consider promoting him aggressively. Clearly, he can handle A-ball pitching. Plus, at 24, he’s a bit old for his level of competition.

Like Gittens, Lynch has a chance to establish himself as a possible big league prospect. It’s not absurd to believe that either one of them might finish the season in Triple-A.