Former Yankees outfielder Justin Christian — once one of the feel-good stories of the Yankees farm system — has signed a minor league deal with the Giants. The deal does not include an invitation to big league camp.
Undrafted out of Southeast Missouri State, Christian slowly built some prospect stock and played his way to the big leagues in 2008, hitting .250 and stealing seven bases during his brief tenure on the Yankees bench. He was non-tendered that winter — and wound up injured in 2009 — but the Yankees brought Christian back last season and he hit 297/.374/.472 in Double-A, with a handful of games in Triple-A.
He went to Mexico this offseason and hit .356/.452/.561 in winter ball, and he’s now Mexico’s center fielder in the Caribbean Series (the team’s first baseman is Jorge Vazquez).
Christian was always easy to dismiss as a prospect, partially because he went undrafted out of a small school and partially because he came through the system with Brett Gardner (a similar but much more highly touted player). Covering minor league ball, I always appreciated guys like Christian — or J-Sizzle, as the guys called him — who had to earn absolutely everything.
He’s a good guy, with a good story. Good luck to him.
Associated Press photo