The Yankees brightened Thursday morning for fans everywhere with the news that they would be calling top first base prospect Greg Bird up the majors prior to tonight's game. Ever since returning from the injuries that plagued his first two minor league seasons after being selected in the fifth round of the 2011 MLB Draft, Bird has done nothing but hit everywhere he's played. He was named the Yankees' Minor League Player of the Year in 2013 for batting .288/.428/.511 with 56 extra base hits in Low-Charleston, and it has been a rapid rise to the big leagues since then, spending fewer than 80 games at each minor league level above Charleston, earning 2014 Arizona Fall League MVP honors along the way.
After crushing International League pitching with a .301/.353/.500 triple slash and six homers in 34 Triple-A games, Bird will get his chance at the big league level, backing up Mark Teixeira at first base and Alex Rodriguez at DH. Here's how some writers reacted on Twitter:
During spring training, Cashman called Bird the best hitter in the Yankees' minor league system. Now he gets chance to help listless lineup.— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) August 13, 2015
Bird will be with the Yankees in Cleveland tonight. With RHP Trevor Bauer starting, there's at least a chance Bird starts.— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) August 13, 2015
Brian Cashman was always quick to praise Bird, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see Joe Girardi get his feet wet with the Yankees already with a start tonight. Teixeira and A-Rod seem to be a bit worn down, so it certainly couldn't hurt to give one of them a day off.
@dpatrickg he'll probably get a few ABs, but mostly, yea. late enough in the year that it doesnt really bother me— The Thought Leader (@yagottagotomo) August 13, 2015
Some people on Twitter voiced concerns about Bird being "wasted" on the bench, but Moshe brings up a good point here. At this point in the minor league season, there's so little time left that another two to three weeks isn't really going to make much of a difference for his development. The Yankees have a need for a real first base backup, and prospects don't always get starting roles immediately upon promotions. I have no problems at all with him earning some big league time, even as a reserve.
The proprietor of the excellent MLB Farm provides a sample of what Bird might offer in the majors. Be prepared for some shifts, but the power is certainly there.
Back in spring training, A-Rod told @NYDNHarper Bird looked "stronger and more mature as a hitter" than he did when he saw him 2 years ago.— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) August 13, 2015
A-Rod the sage! He would know what good hitting looks like.
Greg Bird is probably going to take late-inning clutch at-bats away from Stephen Drew and Brendan Ryan which is probably good— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) August 13, 2015
Oh no, what will the Yankees do with fewer contributions from the dynamic duo??
I suppose the Yankees saw our Double-A Best Tools, noticed Greg Bird was the best defender at first, and pounced. http://t.co/nSftog0Z0C— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) August 13, 2015
Happy for Greg Bird. Great guy. Great player. Hard worker. And now, a Yankee.— Donnie Collins (@RailRidersTT) August 13, 2015
Norris spent some time covering Bird last year in Double-A for Baseball America, and Collins was Scranton's beat writer during Bird's recent stint in Triple-A, so it's great to see them both excited about his potential.
I'm not saying that Greg Bird being called up is the happiest day of my Yankee fandom, but I'm not NOT saying that.— Tanya Bondurant (@TanyaBondurant) August 13, 2015
#GREGBIRD YAAAAAAAAAAAS— #GREGBIRD (@EderMik) August 13, 2015
As one can imagine, the blogosphere was pretty stoked about Bird's promotion as well (just a little bit).
Welcome to the big leagues, Greg Bird!