Hoping to return at full force from shoulder surgery, New York Yankees’ first baseman Greg Bird is feeling better than ever.

If the New York Yankees missed one thing the most in 2016, it was the stellar production the “Bird Man of New York” provided them in 2015.

In his first cup of coffee, Greg Bird slashed .261/.343/.529 with 11 home runs in 46 games — a total of 38 when proportioned to a full season.

Bird’s 31 RBI’s were additionally the second-most by a member of the Yankees who played in less than 50 games throughout his rookie campaign.

All was optimistic as he was primed to carry that very same output into his sophomore season. That is until he opted to operate on a torn right labrum that would keep him sidelined for a full season.

“I think it was really kind of an overtime thing,” Bird said in a video on the team’s Facebook account. “I took time off in the offseason and tried rehab and it just didn’t do anything for it. It was almost in a worse place than it was before that. We had to make the decision to have surgery, and now looking back on it, it was the right decision for sure because I feel a lot better, I’m confident in it again and I’m right where I want to be.”

This past fall, Bird completed his time down in the Arizona Fall League and although his numbers wouldn’t support “midseason form,” getting at-bats while remaining healthy was more meaningful than any number could display.

In 17 games, the rusty Bird slashed .215/.346/.364 with only one home run and four doubles.

However, his on-base percentage (.346) and walks (12) reassured his organization that although his power and swing may be dull due to a recent recovery from surgery, his plate discipline had not disappeared.

While one could expect Bird to come back and not miss a beat in order to stabilize the lineup that already features Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge, one’s expectations should tamper as it’s not all about success at this moment.

Fangraphs’ Steamer predicted the 24-year old to slash .264/.346/.489 with 24 home runs in 122 games last year. If Bird can actually play 150 this season, his projected home run total would rise to 30.

That’s fine and dandy, but don’t keep that written in stone as your ultimate projection. The key at this moment in time is that Bird stays healthy throughout the remainder of the offseason and spring training.

Judging by his contemporary optimism, too much dependence on results to justify progress shouldn’t be a problem.

“Here it’s a little less about (results) and more about development,” Bird also said in the video posted by the Yankees. “And for me about health and just getting my playing time and my at-bats and getting used to the everyday thing again, but at the same time not killing myself and getting ready for a full offseason to come back strong and ready to go for spring.”

If that health comes, it’s highly probable that the kid will help raise the bar from the team’s -1.4 WAR (28th in MLB) from the first base position last year.

Furthermore, he’d accompany a prolonged list of prominent Yankees’ first baseman that had helped the organization rank fourth in OPS from the position since Don Mattingly’s first season in 1984.




6 COMMENTS

  1. Man you Fan-Boy Yankee writers crack me up.
    WOW “Bird translates to 38 HRs”
    Ignoring the fact he blew out his shoulder. Struck out in about 1/3 of his ABs when his shoulder WAS good. But HEY good for 30 AT LEAST eh? WOW a 260 and falling hitter with occasional pop who CAN’T take a walk. At least Teixy could. AND you buy the Cashman call to pencil him in at 1B everyday.
    Prepare to be disappointed.

    • Just going by his quotes and his personal update on the status on his repaired shoulder – a surgery in which he already had and came back from. My expectations of him are staying healthy – not to produce his 38 homer pace he was on in 2015 (a fact, not opinion). And when did I say I believe he’ll be penciled in as the 1B already, ignore his blown out shoulder or even say he’d hit 30 homers? Oh, and his shoulder was an injury that started nagging since the start of his 2015 season in Scranton. Boy, Teddy Ball Game, you’re a funny guy.

  2. ” If Bird can actually play 150, his projected home run total would rise to 30.” So 150 isn’t everyday? Those are your words, right? So you did predict 30 HRs.
    Don’t be so thin skinned if you want to be a journalist when someone points out the flaws in your article. You want to be a fan-boy writer: Proceed on your course. If not put down your pom-poms and be objective.

    • Actually, that was going off the projection by Zips. They predicted 120-ish games and I simply mapped out what would happen to that projection if he were to play a full season. The point is: being healthy is key and the results should follow. Appreciate the feedback but you’re clearly not paying attention. And trust me, buddy, the chances of you getting under my skin are slim to none. This post was actually very un-opinionated, but proceed!

    • I made a typo in my comment. I used the Steamer predictions, my apologies. But the key to this story was how the expectations shouldn’t be about production but about HEALTH. Coming back strong instead of an ahead-of-himself Yankee fan expecting 40+ home runs. The Steamer suggested that Bird would hit 24 homers in just under 130 games but all that sentence was stating was that IF he were to be healthier and play a full season, he’d do better according to the projection. I followed that by stating don’t keep that written in stone, as health is more important. You have not only failed to realize the theme of this story based on Bird’s very own quotes, but you have managed to put words in my mouth that I never stated. I’m not projecting anything here, bud. Please find something better to do than spam this website with paper thin spam arguments that come from a Sox fan. It already got old.