Mid-Season Report Card: Greg Bird
In the second installment of the BBB Mid-Season Report Cards, Greg Bird will be under the spotlight. After missing the entire 2016 season due to injury, Greg Bird mashed in Spring Training and easily won the starting first base position. Expectations were high for the lefty slugger and most Yankee fans did not think they would miss Mark Teixeira playing first base every day. Unfortunately for Bird, he played atrociously until it was revealed that he had suffered a bone bruise in his ankle at the end of Spring Training. He was placed on the disabled list right as the calendar flipped to May and he has stayed on it ever since.
First half performance:
While Bird has been sidelined with an injury for the majority of the 2017 season, his production was abysmal prior to his disabled list stint. Greg Bird proved that Spring Training stats do not always matter as he slashed .100/.250/.200 over a course of 19 regular season games and struck out a whopping 22 times in only 60 at-bats. Odds are his ankle bruise played a substantial role in derailing his production over the course of April, however, those numbers are inexcusable for a player that is penciled into the lineup on an everyday basis.
Bird has not played in a game since May 1 and has already suffered a setback after playing a few rehab games with Tampa and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Even when he played in the minors, he still batted an unimpressive .237 with zero home runs.
Bird's walk rate was phenomenal in both his Major League and rehab stint, so he is still seeing the ball well at the plate. However, this further proves his body's state was a big factor in derailing his ability to put the bat on the ball.
Second half expectations:
Now that Chris Carter is out of a Yankee uniform and Tyler Austin’s foot is healed from his Spring Training injury, the Yankees have less of a need to rush Bird back from his nagging injury. Bird is taking batting practice with the Triple-A team and has participated in running drills over the course of the past few days, so his return is on the horizon. What will be expected of him once he is healthy?
Bird will not be handed the starting position as easily as he was prior to the season. Bird will have to prove to the Yankees’ coaches that he is still capable of being a middle of the order threat and be able to hit above league average. He will need to display increased production and cut down his strikeout rate immensely. The Yankees could use another force in the middle of their lineup, after the recent injuries to Aaron Hicks and Starlin Castro. There is no chance Bird hits as bad as he did in April once he returns, but there is still a lot of skepticism amongst the Yankee universe on which Greg Bird will show up once he makes his Bronx return.
Bird has not been the word so far in 2017, and his season has been an utter failure, after he set such lofty expectations coming out of Spring Training. Due to Aaron Judge and company’s surprising offensive production, Bird hasn’t been ridiculed as much as he would have if the Yankees offense was incompetent without him. The ankle injury was, in all likelihood, a crucial reason why his production became inept and because of that he did not receive a failing grade (although it was tempting, after his injury resulted in Chris Carter having to play everyday).
Greg Bird should return sometime shortly after the All-Star Break and he will have a lot to prove to himself and the Yankees. His confidence is likely at an all-time low and he will really need to work hard to turn his season around.
Article by: Ryan Thoms
Follow @_TheRealRT_ Follow @BronxBomberBall