Pinstripe Preview: Kyle Higashioka
As a 26 year old minor leaguer, Kyle Higashioka had to put up a very good season in 2016 to get any kind of attention and he most certainly did that as he earned a 40-man roster spot during the offseason. While never really considered a top prospect, Higashioka has always had some upside. Sometimes all it takes is one breakout season to get yourself on the map.
Photo Credit: Baseball America
In his ninth season in the Yankees organization, Higashioka started the 2016 season with Double-A Trenton where he served as the starting catcher. Higashioka tore it up while in Trenton, batting .293 with eleven home runs and 51 RBIs in 63 games before getting bumped up to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Higashioka continued to rake as he batted .250 with ten home runs and 30 RBIs in only 39 games. Overall Higashioka posted a .276 average with 21 home runs and 81 RBIs in 102 games in 2016 while tying fellow prospect Chris Gittens for the orginazation’s home run leader.
The biggest surprise out of Higashioka in 2016 was by far the spike in power as his previous career high in home runs was eight all the way back in 2011. Overall, Higashioka set career highs in nearly every offensive category and with being added to the 40-man roster, he has certainly set himself up for a potential call up.
While Higashioka doesn’t have a legitimate chance to make the team out of spring training, he certainly will be the first callup should Romine or Sanchez be sidelined with an injury. If nothing else Higashioka should be a September call-up option when the time comes. Expect Higashioka to be Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s starting catcher and continue to put up impressive numbers.
Article by: Julian Bussells
Follow me on twitter @JuneYank6
Follow the BBB @BronxBomberBlog