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Yankees 2014 Roster Report Card: Greg Bird

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Can this slugging first base prospect play his way into the majors as Mark Teixeira's successor?

In case you forgot, Greg Bird once hit three home runs for me.
In case you forgot, Greg Bird once hit three home runs for me.

Grade: B

2014 Statistics: .271/.376/.472, 14 home runs, 30 doubles between High-A and Double-A

2014 Level/Roster Status: Double-A/Non-40

A back injury delayed the start of Greg Bird's 2014 season, but the first base prospect managed to hit well enough in 75 games at High-A Tampa to earn a promotion to Double-A for the end of the year. Bird didn't quite have the 100-walk season that he put up in 2013 with the Charleston RiverDogs, yet he still found his power stride by hitting as many homers (7) after his promotion (27 games) as he did in the 75 games before. It might have been his back injury sapping some of his power which should not be an issue in 2015.

Bird's excellent eye at the plate is impressive for a prospect, but his relegation to first base is always going to cause a hit in his value. The second instance of a back injury, in addition to the one that forced the Yankees to move him from catcher to first base in the first place, is a bit concerning. There is no real competition ahead of him in the Yankees' system at first base until you reach Mark Teixeira in the big leagues. If Bird can keep up his power game and continue to get on base at a high clip, it's possible that he could be positioning himself to be the heir to Tex at the big league level in a couple years.

Although the numbers were down for Bird pretty much across the board, it's hard to know how much of that was back injury and how much was merely adjusting to a higher level of the minors. It is encouraging that the Yankees felt satisfied moving Bird from High-A to Double-A within the same season despite 2014 being his first year beyond the Low-A level. It seems likely that Bird will start his 2015 season in Double-A Trenton with the chance for a promotion to Triple-A mid-season or later if he performs well. Hopefully the back injury is fully behind him at this point, but it will certainly be a concern to monitor going forward.