Yankees: 2018 is the year of opportunity for Greg Bird

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Greg Bird
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Greg Bird /

Now I know it seems to be an annual theme, but 2018 is the year of opportunity for Yankees first baseman Greg Bird.

So far into his short career, the Yankees slugger Greg Bird has seen his fair share of misfortune, with his season-ending shoulder surgery in 2016 and then the right ankle injury that caused him to miss the majority of the 2017 campaign.

However, Bird once again will get the chance to solidify his status as the Yanks’ everyday first baseman. An opportunity that could see him chase numbers close to 30/100 in 2018.

Despite it being a small sample size of 87 at-bats, Bird slashed .253/.316/.575 following his lengthy DL stint that ended on August 26.

Translate his eight home runs and 25 RBI over a full 162-game season and the 25-year-old finds himself with an MVP caliber 44 homers, 139 RBI season.

Now, of course, Bird likely won’t maintain a home run per 10.8 at-bat pace, but 25-30 home runs to go with 85-100 RBI is more than enough to spice up the already potent Yankee lineup.

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Nonetheless, this very well could be Bird’s final shot. Regardless of the fact that injuries have derailed him, this could be his last chance. If the former fifth-round pick stays healthy for the majority of the 2018 campaign but doesn’t produce, the Yankees may explore other options, internally or externally.

Tyler Austin remains with the organization, and he has showcased his opposite field power at the major league level.

The 26-year-old has a .236/.294/.741 career slash line, in addition to back-to-back solid Triple-A seasons. Do I see Austin as the future of the position for the Yankees? Most certainly not, but still a lurking threat in the back of Bird’s head.

Nevertheless, Bird does look primed for a solid year. The organization wouldn’t have slotted him as their starting first baseman this past Postseason if they didn’t have an enormous amount of faith in him. Faith that paid off.

Bird was arguably the Bombers’ best hitter in October, posting a .938 OPS with three home runs, one of them being the go-ahead home run off of Andrew Miller in the seventh inning of ALDS Game 3.

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With that said, the opportunity is for Bird to succeed indeed is there. However, whether or not he takes advantage of that opportunity, only time will tell.