Yankees Greg Bird has delivered nothing but hype thus far

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images /

The long-awaited Yankees slugging first baseman has delivered almost nothing at the plate thus far. Were the Bronx Bombers better off without him?

All we heard from the season start was Bird — Bird — Bird. Come one, come all and see the amazing left-handed power bat in the Yankees lineup sandwiched between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.

So we waited and waited, now we are watching, and we are still waiting. So where is it? In his first 12 games with the Yankees since coming off the disabled list, what has Bird done?

Here’s Bird’s current line: 51 PA, 9 H, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs, 13 SO, .191 BA .255 OBP, .432 SLG, .666 OPS and a -2 WAR.

But wait, what are his career numbers? After all, the Greg Bird lovers are going to shout how this sample size is very small. So I checked Bird’s three-year numbers, keeping in mind that he missed most of 2015, the entire 2016 season, most of 2017, and the first 50 games of 2018.

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Here are his combined career numbers.

395 PA, 77 H, 22 HRs, 63 RBIs, .221 BA, .306 OBP, .471 SLG, .778 OPS

From 2015-17, Greg Bird managed just under a full season of at-bats, and yet, these are the numbers the Yankees and their fans have waited for? Manager Aaron Boone said he expected Bird to “land on his feet running” when he returned from the latest stint on the DL. He certainly looks like he landed, flat on his face.

OK. Another very important stat to look at is BABIP. Batting average for balls in play. This is one reason the Yankees were so high on Bird in 2015. On balls Bird put into play in ’15, his BABIP climbed from .261 to .319 in 178 PA. Not to shabby right?

Unfortunately, it has yet to reoccur. That stat dropped to .194 in 2017 on 170 PA, and currently, it is .226 in his first 51 PA this year. The Yankees and their analytic-driven front office should be keeping close tabs on this.

The biggest “Bird problem” however, comes from Yankees manager Aaron Boone’s placing him third in the lineup. Bird has provided zero protection for Aaron Judge, who hits in front of him — as Judge has seen far fewer pitches in the zone.

The Yankees star right fielder’s numbers have fallen off badly since Bird’s return and his appearance in the No. 3 hole.

Since Bird’s arrival on May 29, Judge’s batting average has fallen from .298 to .270. If this trend continues, Bird will definitely be dropped in the lineup. And if that happens, the Bombers’ dream of Bird’s left-handed power bat between Judge and Stanton may finally be broken.

There are many, including myself, that believe the Yankees were a better team before Greg Bird arrived, but only GM Brian Cashman’s opinion is important in such matters, and he has certainly proved over his brilliant 20-year career that he knows what he is doing.

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However, and I use that word a lot when writing about Greg Bird, if the current situation persists into July, Cashman might decide to use that “left-handed power bat” in a trade package to get better leverage on securing a quality starting pitcher, which is far more important to his club’s fortunes.