From a highly touted prospect to a now 26-year-old competing with Luke Voit for his stay in pinstripes, Greg Bird has his work cut out for him. That brings up the question, what does Bird have to do to win the first base job?
Four seasons ago in 2015, Greg Bird actually posted a really solid rookie stint in the big leagues. In 46 games, the then 22-year-old hit .261/.343/.529 with 11 home runs and a wRC+ of 137. After already being regarded as the best hitter in the Yankees’ farm system by Brian Cashman, Bird seemed primed for a nice career ahead of him after a promising inaugural MLB season.
Although, just four months later it was announced that Bird would undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, sidelining him the entire 2016 season. It wasn’t looked at as the end of the world, however, as Mark Teixeira’s eight-year deal he signed in 2009 was set to expire, leaving a path for Bird’s return in 2017.
— Dan Rourke (@DanAlanRourke) February 25, 2019
After a successful surgery and a healthy Arizona Fall League season, Bird showed up camp ready to officially make himself the Yankees’ everyday guy at first base — which is exactly what he would do. In 23 preseason games, he hit an outstanding .451/.556/.1.098 with a spring-leading eight homers, seven doubles, and 15 RBI. If there was an MVP of Spring Training, it’s safe to say Greg Bird would have taken home the hardware.
Anyways, the reason to bring this up is that, well, Bird needs to do it again if he intends on leaving camp as a Yankee and not a RailRider. Manager Aaron Boone has all but said that there will only be one first baseman on the 25-man roster. So if Bird wants to start the season in pinstripes, another eight-homer spring performance certainly wouldn’t hurt his chances.
Who has the upper-hand?
The competition has been specified as Luke Voit’s job to lose and Bird’s to win, clearly implying that Voit has the upper-hand, and for good reason too. In 47 games last season, the 28-year-old smashed 15 longballs in 161 plate appearances to go alongside a ridiculous 187 wRC+. However, if that success doesn’t carry over into the spring for Voit, Bird might have a legitimate shot to snag the job he’s seemingly possessed so many times already.
Spring Training Stats Entering Monday:
2 AB, 1.000/1.000/1.500, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 0 RBI
3 AB, .667/.667/1.667, 0 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI