Yankees Greg Bird: Should he regularly bat third in the lineup?

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 03: Greg Bird
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 03: Greg Bird /

Based off of Aaron Boone‘s first five constructed Spring Training lineups, it appears Greg Bird may regularly bat third. Is the Yankees 25-year-old left-handed first baseman the right man for the job?

Heading into Wednesday, Aaron Boone penciled Greg Bird in the Yankees three hole for all three games the first baseman has started in. One can assume the repetitive decision was not by coincidence, but by choice.

Even with combinations of Giancarlo Stanton, Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks and Gary Sanchez in the lineup, Boone still batted Bird third. Why is that? And when Aaron Judge is back to full health, will Bird always be the number three hitter? Or will Bird regularly bat fifth as he did in Wednesday’s game?

Batting Judge second seems to be the plan moving forward for the Yanks. Some people disagree with this decision, but Yankees GM Brian Cashman had said before he expects Judge to be the everyday No. 2 hitter. As for Bird, Cashman has high expectations for him.

Brian Cashman is confident in Greg Bird

In an interview with Brian Hoch of MLB.com, Cashman expressed why it is that he believes in his first baseman and how vital Bird is to the team. As reported by Hoch, here is what Cashman had to say in regards to believing in the young first baseman despite his past injury history:

"“My full expectation is to trust in Greg Bird,” Cashman said. “That’s why we waited all season for him. We knew he was coming back. Unfortunately, it took a lot longer to determine what was really ailing him. When we did, we knew what the time frame was and he’d be back. His abilities are what they are. We’re going to get a productive player there, and we’re lucky to have him.”"

Aaron Boone has stated multiple times on record; he will trust his analytics team and front office.  With such confidence in the first baseman from upper-management, don’t be surprised if Boone also believes in him.

What are the pros and cons of batting Bird third?

There are some pros and cons I’m sure management has considered before deciding to bat the lefty third. Traditionally, the number three hitter for MLB teams is the club’s best all-around hitter.

More from Yanks Go Yard

With established sluggers like Judge, Stanton and Sanchez already in the lineup, what does Bird possess that’s different? The obvious answer is he’s a left-handed hitter who can smack the ball to all fields.

Bird’s also has been praised by Yankee greats Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Tino Martinez. If former pros have some interest in Bird’s abilities as a hitter, one would think he must have something special.

Pros: Praised by former Yankees

According to NJ.com, Rodriguez said on FOX Sports before the 2017 season, “[Bird] has the swing and the personality of Yankee legend Don Mattingly.”

During the 2017 Postseason, Rodriguez also expressed that he believes Bird will become a better professional hitter than Sanchez or Judge.

Tino Martinez, like A-Rod, also praised Bird as one the league’s best young hitters, capable of hitting the ball to all fields. Bird even doesn’t seem to be reliant on the short porch in right field to find success, according to Martinez.

After reading reports about how Teixeira took Bird under his wing a few years ago, I had a chance to ask Tex a question on ESPN NY 98.7 FM. Heading into the 2017 Postseason, I wanted to know what Tex’s thoughts were on keeping his successor as the starting Postseason first baseman. Tex praised him and even called him one of the American League’s best hitters.

Cons: Slow, haven’t seen a full season from him

Bird is arguably the slowest runner on the basepaths out of the Yankees’ starting lineup. So even with a solid lefty stick, why have a slow runner at the top of the order in front of excellent hitters that can drive the ball, arguably just as well?

We also have not seen a full season out of Bird against major league pitching.

Sure, he has the potential to be great, but before he reaches his potential shouldn’t he bat lower in the order? Why not have him work his way up from the six or seven hole?

What Yanks Go Yard  thinks about Greg Bird

Bird is projected to have a decent 2018 season, as pointed out by Chris Northrop of Yanks Go Yard. His ceiling could be as a .300 hitter with 30 home run and 100 RBI potential — much like Tino Martinez pointed out.

According to our own Dan Rourke, the 2018 season could be the year of opportunity for Bird if he stays healthy, while other analysts like Mike Calendrillo believe the Yanks can only afford to give Bird one last shot.

I, however, believe the 25-year-old slugger should bat sixth for the Yankees. Let him drive the ball with the big sluggers in front of him. He could be the icing on the cake for the Yanks and be an RBI machine in the six hole.

Next: Yankees almost signed Neil Walker

What’s your opinion? Should Greg Bird be the Yankees’ everyday number three batter?