In this edition of New York Yankees prospect profile, ESNY will take a look at infielder Thairo Estrada.
The New York Yankees signed shortstop Thairo Estrada to a $49,000 contract and the 20-year old is slowly but surely becoming one of the most prized prospects in the farm system.
Estrada, a natural shortstop, is currently with the Yankees Single-A affiliate, the Charleston River Dogs where he has seen action at third, second, and shortstop. He has excellent initial instincts, solid range, quick hands and a cannon for an arm. Here are hit scouting grades according to MLB.com.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 30 | Run: 55 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45
The kid is somewhat undersized (5’10”, 155 pounds) but the Venezuelan native has been able to produce at a respectable level throughout his time in professional ball.
Last season while in Staten Island, he slashed .267/.338/.360/.698 with two home runs and 17 doubles in 63 contests. He went down on strikes just 30 times in 247 at-bats.
This year, the infielder has hit two home runs while maintaining a .255 batting average through the first 25 games in Charleston. He’s more often than not penciled in the no. 2 spot in the batting order due to his promising on-base percentage (career .337) and speed (80% stolen base success rate).
Defensively, he played a ton of second base due to first round draftee, Kyle Holder being the man at shortstop. Last season, Estrada managed a .969 fielding percentage in 2015 and showcased that has the ability to play an above average shortstop and second base.
In the 25 games as a River Dog this season, Estrada has played six of them at third base where he has had the ability to show off his strong arm.
If you want to look long-term, his benefit to the Yankees’ organization is that he can play multiple positions while carrying an average bat. Above average defense at multiple positions contains unquestionable value and we’ve seen New York take on utility infielders on almost a yearly basis (Ronald Torreyes for example).
The only problem I find with Estrada is the surplus of shortstop prospects that the Yankees are very high on. He has guys like Jorge Mateo (to name one) in front of him. However, his overall skill set is unbelievably comparable to his superiors. The only obstacle for him is to improve his already solid skill set in order to separate himself from the crunch.
I expect Thairo to find a way onto the major league roster as early as 2018 to potentially be that Torreyes type of player for the Bombers. Versatility, especially on a Joe Girardi run team, often finds it’s way onto the roster.