The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Brandon Laird: In the outfield and on the radar

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Oct 30, 2010 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

ph_477186Brandon Laird might have been the breakout star of the Yankees minor league system this year. As a 27th-round pick, he’s never been considered a sure thing, but he’s consistently hit and hit for power. Between Double-A and Triple-A, Laird hit .281 with 25 homers and 102 RBI this season, then the Yankees sent him for more at-bats in the Arizona Fall League.

Why? Because they want him to learn the outfield corners.

During my time covering the Yankees minor league system, officials consistently made reference to the idea of a corner utility man. Someone who can fill in at first, third, left and right. It’s pretty much what the Yankees had in Eric Hinske late last season. It’s not especially easy to find, but it’s kind of an ideal bench player.

In theory, it would be a bigger bat than whoever might fill in at second base, shortstop or center field. Those bench spots are generally expected to provide defense and speed (Ramiro Pena this year, Brett Gardner last year). That corner bench player would bring offense, first and foremost.

That’s why Laird is on my radar, and that’s why it caught my eye that he was playing the outfield in the Fall League. Laird is a natural third baseman with experience at first, but giving him outfield reps makes him an attractive Major League option sooner rather than later. Kevin Russo got some Fall League starts in the outfield two years ago, and look at where he got most of his big league time this season.

Laird needs to be protected from the Rule 5 draft this winter, so he’s practically a lock for a spot on the 40-man. He could easily play a role in New York before the end of next season, especially if he keeps hitting and gets comfortable in the outfield.

 
 

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13 Responses to “Brandon Laird: In the outfield and on the radar”

  1. Ruby Tuesday October 30th, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    I hope he can be as great for us as D*n**l N*v* and D*rn*ll McD*n*ld were for the “you know whos” .

  2. Ace October 30th, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    If he can hit he’ll play.

  3. RobertGKramer@AOL.Com October 30th, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    I look at the 106 games played at 3B and the OF in 2010 by Huffman, Kearns, Nunez, and Russo and picture Laird getting that time in 2012 …………NICE!!!

  4. raymagnetic October 30th, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    The saddest thing in the world is Ruby Tuesday. What a pathetic waste of human existence.

  5. The Genius Maker October 30th, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Two things, yes, they needed another player who hits lefties well this year because playing the OF and hitting lefties is what the Yankees were supposed to get when Cashman mistakenly thought Kearns was that guy (BTW, what is the Kearns contract situation as I expected him to be let go). Kearns had been better hitting against righty pitchers and Cashman messed up.

    In the article a few back, the mention of a 2nd lefty was brought up…Cashman should have made a 2nd lefty a priority this year! It is absurd for any team let alone one with 200m+ payroll to not have a 2nd lefty to match up.

  6. Razor Ray October 30th, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    This is why I read this blog. Random Fall league updates of potential future bench players

    (Seriously… no sarcasm)

  7. kd October 30th, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    ruby tuesday drives me nuts. why doesn’t he just go to a red sox blog?

    anyway, my two cents: laird will be a bench option next year. this is actually a great time to be a yankee fan. yes, we ran into a hot team and lost. as jeter always says, the best team wins in the regular division. the hottest team wins in the post season. with lee and pettitte back, brackman in the pen, and hughes a little stronger, montero hitting, this team is scary. they’re going to win the al east. the red sox have to spend like crazy to keep up, losing crawford will really hurt the cost cutting rays.

    what the steinbrenners do is all you can ask for.

    that being said, i’d like to see the team get a little bit younger. montero and laird will help. no need for thames to come back.

    in my opinion, it would be worthwhile to put the screws to joba. he needs to be told to come to camp in shape and be ready to work. if he doesn’t take it seriously, then trade him. he’s had his chance.

  8. 108 stitches October 30th, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    The Yankees liked what they saw of Brandon Laird last spring and he was one of the last cuts before the team headed north.
    It was best for him to stay at AA and AAA levels for all of 2010 for his own sake. He’ll be given every chance to make the team with what he shows in March.

  9. Doreen October 30th, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Brandon Laird won’t win any gold gloves, but as long as people realize he’ll be serviceable in the field and his bat is bread and butter.

  10. BIG AL October 30th, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    GB7 called this quite while ago. Maybe Chad could check with GB for some article ideas, just saying.

  11. BIG AL October 30th, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Doreen -

    From what I’ve read, his glove is not that bad, no gold glove, but much more than average.

  12. BIG AL October 30th, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Later folks.

  13. captainB October 30th, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    great little write up.
    i’m a laird fan.
    he’d be something the yanks really need–a viable back-up for a-rod. his versatility beyond
    that would just be a big plus.
    cashman tried to obtain ty wigginton during this season, so he obviously has known that the yanks have needed a “corner utility guy” for some time. if laird can develop into a wigginton-type–a decent, versatile fielder with a decent power–he’d be a great asset.
    but “late-2011″ is a pessimistic prediction. laird’s been working out in the OF for months now. he has some AAA experience. he has an excellent chance of breaking camp with the Yanks next spring.


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