Yankees' player development director lavishes praise on under-the-radar prospect

Maybe the Yankees' eyes are more open than we thought...

Fond du Lac Dock Spiders    Caleb Durbin connects with the ball against the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters
Fond du Lac Dock Spiders Caleb Durbin connects with the ball against the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters / Doug Raflik/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

The Yankees have plenty of tantalizing prospects, but there's only one Caleb Durbin in the system.

New York's Top 30 is stacked with enough arms to finance two or three Juan Soto trades. The top of their prospect mountain is stocked with several dynamic offensive players, some of whom received MLB cameos in 2023 (Everson Pereira, Jasson Dominguez), and one of whom who's waiting to wear a jersey with Aaron Judge's exact measurements when the time comes (Spencer Jones).

And then there's a a 5'6" middle infielder who was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 14th round out of Washington University in St. Louis. The kind of player whose profile absolutely screams out to baseball traditionalists. The type of guy who Yankee fans watch, fall in love with, then immediately worry about where he'll land next. After all, there's no way the marquee-powering, star-studded Yankees would ever turn over a roster spot to a throwback scrapper ... right?

Player development director Kevin Reese tossed a life raft to all Caleb Durbin enthusiasts on Monday at the Winter Meetings when he singled out the totally unique prospect as the one name in the Yankees' system more people should know. Hopefully, that's the precursor to a spring training spotlight and not a trade package.

Yankees paying attention to pesky prospect Caleb Durbin

Durbin's most recent addition to his portfolio was a ridiculous stint in the top prospect-laden Arizona Fall League, where he stood out amongst the trees yet again. He posted a 1.066 OPS in his first 44 plate appearances in the showcase league, muddied by just three strikeouts. During the regular season, Durbin hit .304 between High-A and Double-A, pushing his OPS to .822 (again, not quite a singles hitter). Most impressively, in 253 at-bats across 69 games, he struck out just 18 times -- nine times each at both levels.

That's unheard of, and if the Yankees are looking to add further balance to their lineup over the course of the next few seasons after adding a lefty or three, Durbin's almost impossible-to-believe contact profile could further diversify their offering. Don't believe us? Just ask Reese.

And, to think, all of this came from a Lucas Luetge trade most fans didn't totally comprehend last winter.