Greg Bird named number two prospect in Cal Collegiate League

Thinking about Yu
Game 141: The greatest lineup ever

Baseball America continues to plug along with their lists of the top prospects in the various wood bat summer leagues, and they recently named Yankees fifth rounder Greg Bird as the number two prospect in the Cal Collegiate League. Bird, a high schooler catcher/first baseman from Colorado, signed for $1.1M on deadline day and was playing with college kids this summer.

The article is subscriber-only, unfortunately, so I can’t give away too much. They do praise Bird for his “above-average raw power from the left side” and the way he “excels at driving balls middle-away.” His work ethic is also considered a plus. However, Bird is still considered a first baseman long-term, mostly because he lacks the agility to stick behind the dish. The Yankees didn’t give him that much money for his glove, though. Sixth rounder Jake Cave was recently named the top prospect in the Coastal Plains League.

Thinking about Yu
Game 141: The greatest lineup ever
  • CountryClub

    I’m glad to read that these two did well in wood bat leagues. Obviously, you can’t take too much away from summer ball. But it’s better that they performed well than the alternative.

  • Zach

    These are nice conformations of Yankees scouting ability. It doesn’t mean much long term, except maybe the Yankees were ahead of the crowd on these guys.

  • pat

    Doesn’t mean much. All the real good prospects were in the balsa wood bat leagues.

  • IRF

    So does Greg Bird project to have a better bat than Bichette?

    • JohnC

      Definitely more power than Bichette. Don’t know about overall hitting ability. I think Cave potentially has the best bat of the bunch.

  • MattG

    #2? Bust. The number one guy must be a Sox signee.

  • MattG

    I really like that the Yankees have a off-center sort of metric for their draft, that being ‘success with wood bats.’ I’ve always felt that teams should try to identify some sort of unusual trait, be it physical or mental, that was common to good players (well, I am sure they are trying, it is probably not so easy!).

    For instance, imagine targeting a guy everybody thinks is a reliever because all he has is a big fastball, but you know you can teach him a change simply because he’s got really long fingers, or an unnaturally strong grip. How cool would that be?

    • Jimmy

      In general, guys named Albert Pujols seem to perform over slot, but that’s a pretty narrow filter.

  • bottom line

    Would be interesting to know if any of the guys ranked behind Bird and Cave as propsects in these leagues were higher draft picks. Might offer some confirmation that Yanks picked well.

    • mattdamonwayans

      Austin Kubitza, RHP, Rice, was number one in the Cal Collegiate League ahead of Bird. The Pirates failed to sign him in 2010, and he is seen as a first round talent for the 2013 draft. Major difference, however, is that Bird just graduated high school and Kubitza, and most of the competition is around 20-21. Performance like Bird’s in a wood bat league against more advanced competition along with his ability to re-enter the draft later made the Yankees open their pockets and dish out a nice bonus.

      • Ted Nelson

        I don’t know anything about the Pirates’ negotiations with Kubitza (7th round pick), but this might be an example of the downside of giving HUGE bonuses to picks in the late 1st and early 2nd. Pirates spent big on their top 3 and especially 2 picks in 2010. Taillon was/is a beast I think it’s safe to say most teams would have paid, but Allie might have been overpaid. They got Allie, but they didn’t get Kubitza. Yankees, on the other hand, have emphasized getting cheaper guys early on and signing most of the Kubitza type mid-round picks.

        I’m not necessarily saying one or the other is better… just that a lot of Yankees fans complain they don’t pay the Stetson Allie’s $2 million, without recognizing that you might get someone comparable to Allie in the 1st (Culver rated closely to Allie in NYPL by BA recently) AND still sign the Kubitza (say Mason Williams) later for the same price or less as getting one Allie high-priced “consensus” guy.

        • mattdamonwayans

          Interesting take, but it should be stressed that Kubitza had signed a letter of intent with Rice, a school that is notoriously difficult to sign guys away from. Tailion passed on Rice, however, it took one of the richest bonuses in draft history to inspire him to do so.

          Allie was much better prospect at the time of the draft than Kubitza. Ceteris paribus, you take the guy who throws in the mid-90s.

          • Ted Nelson

            “Ceteris paribus, you take the guy who throws in the mid-90s.”

            I’m not talking about deciding between Allie and Kubitza… but signing both, or more so signing both the guy you draft in the 2nd and Kubitza or a similarly high upside guy in the mid-rounds. Take Castellanos. People are still crying that the Yankees took Culver and not Castellanos. Castellanos is a very good prospect and I’d have no problem if the Yankees drafted him and gave him the $4.4 mill or whatever Detroit did. I also recognize, though, that the Yankees were able to sign Mason Williams and Culver (and many others obviously) whereas they might have lost Mason Williams if they gave Castellanos all that money. Only time will tell if Castellanos @ $4.4 mill or Culver & Williams @ ~$2.5 mill is a better deal… I’m just saying that there are trade-offs between the two strategies and the Pirates might have split Allie’s $2+ mill bonus between another 2nd round pick and Kubitza instead of giving it all to Allie… I don’t think one strategy is necessarily right or wrong, I just can’t understand how Yankees fans get so mad they don’t sign the most expensive guys available without realizing that trade-off exists.

  • Tyrone Sharpton

    Who would pay for a BA subscription? What a waste of money…

    • http://n/a Steve,s yankees

      BA Subsription, a waste of money. Well maybe thats why I know more about these Draft prospects then any of you guys!!!!!!!!!

  • IB6 UB9

    I think many Yankee fans appreciate the finds later in the draft but want the Yankees to do that AND take a consensus guy in the 1st round. This would require the Yankees to spend more, but they can afford it.