1. Chris Gittens
Ah, Hard Hittin’ Chris Gittens.
The owner of perhaps the hardest exit velocity of any non-Giancarlo Stanton Yankee this spring, Gittens is a 27-year-old first base/DH type who has consistently displayed his massive power at every minor-league stop and registered an impressive OBP in the process (.393 with 23 bombs in his most recent full season at Double-A Trenton in 2019.
Perhaps more importantly, when Gittens hits the ball, he destroys it.
At this point, he’s unfortunately been relegated to spring training legend status; without a 40-man spot, the Yankees won’t be going to Gittens in a pinch this year, and he doesn’t really have a clear path to establishing himself as a power bat on this all-powerful team.
Perhaps no one has boosted his profile more, though, proving time and again that his bat-to-ball skills are no fluke, putting his immense power on display during even routine outs. There’s no doubt that, in the exit velocity era, Gittens is now getting his somewhat proper due every time he appears on stage during a Yankees spring training game.
He seems completely lovable, and brings a skill set that’ll play in the bandbox in the Bronx. Without any discernible room, though, power-hungry bottom feeders like the Seattle Mariners (who are always down to clown) should take notice.
Or what about the Oakland A’s, a team that fetishizes both cheap talent and Gittens’ exact package?
Say what you will about the first baseman’s path to MLB relevance, but he’s relished every opportunity thus far in 2021.