Dreaming of Greg Bird

Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE


Greg Bird is awesome. If we were to somehow transport his statistics into the majors and put them up against other first basemen in the league, Greg Bird would rank second best in wRC+ (168) behind only Chris Davis (183).

For his first full season in the minor leagues at Low-A Charleston, he has hit .285/.424/.507 with 18 home runs and a 18.6% walk rate. He would be ninth in batting average and would rank higher than Edwin Encarnacion, Justin Morneau, and Nick Swisher. His on base percentage would trail only Joey Votto, meaning it's better than Paul Goldschmidt, Allen Craig, Prince Fielder, and everyone else. His slugging would rank fourth in the league and outrank Votto, Freddie Freeman, and Adam Dunn. He would be tied with Votto, Anthony Rizzo, and Adam LaRoche for seventh in home runs and would have the highest walk rate in all of baseball. He would be a lot better than Ryan Howard, specifically.

Greg Bird would be a better option at first base than Lyle Overbay against right-handers and Mark Reynolds against left-handers.

He'd be so much better than Evan Longoria, David Wright, Yadier Molina, Adrian Beltre, Buster Posey...basically he'd be better than everyone except Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Andrew McCutchen, and Chris Davis. He'd have a 6 WAR and be in MVP discussions and the Yankees would probably not be in fourth place. He'd win Rookie of the Year and the Yankees would probably not sign him to a cheap extension. Then he'd either completely disappoint in his sophomore season or prove to be a future Hall of Famer. Then the Yankees will retire his number, put him in monument park and along the way, the right field porch would be christened Bird's Balcony...

In reality he's the best offensive first baseman in the South Atlantic League. He ranks fourth in OPS among all hitters and first in walks by nearly 30 and is just five walks away from 100. This draws the question of where his good eye ends and pitchers pitching around him begins, but it's still an accomplishment. Patience doesn't slump, so if he's not hitting over a week he's still going to contribute.

At this point we know that prospects disappoint, but maybe, just maybe, the Yankees have something special. Bird is probably being held back because this is his first full season of professional baseball without injury and the Yankees just want him to get a full season in before worrying about promotions and higher levels of competition. He's still only 20 years old, so there's plenty of time. As a first baseman, he won't be ranking too highly on the prospect lists until he plays like this moving forward. Still, he's looked awesome and I only hope it continues. But keep your guard up just in case.

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