by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Greg Bird is a player who consistently seems to get hyped, and when he’s on the field shows signs of holding value. Hoe seems to always be battling some sort of ailment, however, having missed all of 2016 and being limited to 48 games in the Majors in 2017…
Of course his limited AB last season wasn’t solely due to injury, as he hit .190 over his 170 PA and was forced to spend time in the minors. He did fare better while there, hitting .298, and the power potential is obvious (9 HR in the Majors in ’17). The question is exactly what can we expect in 2018? For this exercise we’ll have to assume that he stays healthy, though that has proven to be a hard sell.
Part of the problem may have been due to rust in ’17, as he worked his way back from a missed season. There are also mixed indications in his underlying numbers:
- BABIP – .194
- Strikeout Rate – 24.7%
- Walk Rate – 11.2%
- SwStr% – 12.3%
- O-Swing% – 20.4%
So there was some poor luck and he proved he can stay inside the strike zone… Again, though, those two things come with caveats.
We would expect Bird to carry at least a little bit better of a BABIP, but he brings a fly ball approach (51.9% in ’17) and lacks speed. Those two things will not lend themselves to an elevated mark and if things stay consistent he appears to be more likely to post a .250 BABIP and opposed to a .300+ mark.
While fly balls will play into his power potential, especially playing half his games at Yankee Stadium, in terms of his average it’s going to keep him capped.
While he did show the ability to draw walks, there also remained too much swing and miss to his game. It wasn’t just one pitch that he struggled with, showing equally mediocre Whiff% against all types of pitches:
- Hard – 12.00%
- Offspeed – 14.04%
- Breaking Balls – 15.38%
He did show more coming up through the minors (6.4% SwStr% between Double and Triple-A in ’15), but is that enough?
If he plays every day he’s shown the potential to hit 25+ HR, but as a first baseman that’s not something that’s hard to find. The value comes from an option who can pair power with a strong average, and barring a change there appears to be little chance Bird does that. It doesn’t mean he isn’t usable, though he’s a better fit as a corner infielder (or in OBP formats) since he could hit .250ish or worse. Either way, he’s simply not a player you want to reach for on draft day.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
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|Starting Pitchers||1-20: 03/24/18|