Caleb Durbin, INF
The ultimate Yankee underdog, Durbin came over from Atlanta last winter in the Lucas Luetge trade. He was drafted by the Braves in the 14th round in 2021, and according to a Braves scout one of our staff writers has spoken to, Atlanta was the only team on the diminutive slap hitter at that point during his Wash U St. Louis days.
After a throwback 2023 season, you can certainly add the Yankees to that growing list of believers.
Durbin hit .304 with a .395 OBP and .822 OPS across multiple levels last season, and though injuries robbed him of a full campaign, he still managed to show off his speed and surprising pop in 47 games at Double-A Somerset. He swiped 21 bags and hit .291 at the level, despite barely getting a chance to get his feet wet.
In case you needed further proof of the Yankees' belief in Durbin, they sent the 5'6", 100% unique grinder to the Arizona Fall League last October to play with the game's most pedigreed prospects. All Durbin did in that showcase was swipe three bags in a single game and win Hitter of the Week as the short season wrapped to cement his surprising place in the game's heirarchy.
Durbin is in a similar spot to Rice, though he's probably about six months behind on his Buzz Timeline. Who knows whether Baseball America or similar publications will ever acknowledge Durbin? Both the second baseman and the Yankees don't seem to care much. In fact, New York would probably rather he fly under the radar.
Unfortunately for them, he'll make proper use of any at-bats he secures during his spring training showcase. It's in his nature.