Prospect Profile: Greg Bird

(The Post and Courier)
(The Post and Courier)

Greg Bird | 1B

Background
Bird hails from Grandview High School just outside of Denver, where he played with current Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman. As scouts flocked to Colorado to see Gausman, Bird benefited from the increased exposure. He was named the state’s High School Player of the Year after hitting .533 with a dozen homeruns as a senior. Bird committed to Arkansas.

Prior to the 2011 draft, Baseball America (no subs. req’d) ranked Bird as the best prospect in Colorado but not as one of the 200 best draft prospects in the class. He was generally considered the type of player who would benefit from three years in college before turning pro. The Yankees felt differently and selected Bird with their fifth round pick, the 179th overall selection. They bought him away from the Razorbacks with a $1.1M bonus on signing deadline day, the largest bonus they gave to a draftee in 2011.

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Prospect Profile: Ian Clarkin

(San Diego Union-Tribune)
(San Diego Union-Tribune)

Ian Clarkin | LHP

Background
A Southern California kid from San Diego, Clarkin struck out 133 batters and posted a 0.95 ERA as a senior at James Madison High School this spring, which earned him a third consecutive All-California Interscholastic Federation Baseball Player of the Year selection. Clarkin led USA Baseball’s 18-and-under team to the International Baseball Federation 18U World Championship in South Korea last year with six strong innings in the gold medal game. He committed to the University of San Diego.

Prior to the draft, Baseball America (no subs. req’d) ranked Clarkin as the fifth best draft prospect in California and the 17th best draft prospect overall. The Yankees selected him with the third of their three first round picks, the 33rd overall selection. That’s the pick the team received as compensation for losing Rafael Soriano as a free agent. Clarkin infamously said he hated the Yankees in a pre-recorded video aired during the draft broadcast, but the team changed his mind with a $1,650,100 signing bonus. He took exactly slot money roughly two weeks after the draft.

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Prospect Profile: Nik Turley

(Mark LoMoglio/MiLB.com)

Nik Turley | LHP

Background
Hailing from North Hollywood, Turley attended Harvard-Westlake High School and was committed to Brigham Young University. He comes from a family of athletes, as both parents and three brothers all played sports at the collegiate level. His father pitched at BYU once upon a time.

Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked Turley as the 83rd best prospect in California prior to the 2008 draft, but because he’s a Mormon, teams expected him to follow through on his college commitment and go on a two-year mission. The Yankees rolled the dice and selected him in the 50th round with the 1,502nd overall pick, making him the third-to-last player chosen in the entire draft. Turley wound up signing relatively quickly for a well-above-slot $150k bonus.

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Prospect Profile: Corey Black

(Photo via FaulknerEagles.com)

Corey Black | RHP

Background
A Southern California kid from San Diego, Black played both baseball and football at Mission Bay High School. He was a four-year varsity player on the diamond, though he missed most of his junior season due to Tommy John surgery. Black was primarily a shortstop as a prepster, and he wasn’t much of a pro prospect despite hitting .431 with seven homers as a senior. He went undrafted in 2009 and followed through on his commitment to San Diego State.

Black was a two-way player under head coach Tony Gwynn (yes, that Tony Gwynn) as a freshman, going just 2-for-18 with eight strikeouts as a utility infielder while pitching to a 7.04 ERA in 47.1 innings. He struck out 50 and walked 27 in his seven starts and seven relief appearances. Black saw much more time on the mound as a sophomore, posting a 3.56 ERA with 78 strikeouts and 42 walks in 73.1 innings. He made eleven starts and eight relief appearances while also going 1-for-6 at the plate.

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Prospect Profile: Gary Sanchez

(Cliff Welch/MiLB.com)

Gary Sanchez | C

Background
Raised in Santo Domingo, the largest city and capital of the Dominican Republic, Sanchez signed with the Yankees for $3M on the first day of the 2009 international signing period. He was 16 years old at the time, and it remains the largest signing bonus New York has ever given to an internationally signed amateur. Thanks to the spending restrictions implemented by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Sanchez figures to hold the record for the foreseeable future.

Pro Career
The Yankees skipped Sanchez over the Dominican Summer League and brought him stateside for his pro debut in 2010. He hit .353/.419/.597 (188 wRC) with six homers in 136 plate appearances with the rookie level Gulf Coast League affiliate after a stint in Extended Spring Training, earning him top prospect honors in the circuit according to Baseball America. The Yankees bumped him up to Short Season Staten Island very briefly at the end of the season, and he played 30 of 47 total games at catcher. Both Baseball America (#30) and Keith Law (#68) ranked Sanchez as one of the 100 best prospects in baseball the next spring.

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