Is Thairo Estrada A Difference Maker?

Thairo Estrada - photo credit Tom Hagerty on Flickr (lakelandlocal). Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees. Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Lakeland, FL. Feb. 27, 2019

If you had under 6.5 games in the “How many games until Tulowitzki get hurt” pool then congratulations you won!!!! As the injury bug continues to mount for the The Bronx Bombers in 2019, an opportunity has arisen for Thairo Estrada. Estrada may have lost a little luster as a prospect (#25 on Paul Martin’s Yankees pre-season Top 50 prospects here on Prospects1500) through no fault of his own. He was involved with an unfortunate incident where he sustained a gunshot wound in his home country of Venezuela causing him to miss all of Spring Training in 2018. This was followed up by nagging wrist and hamstring injuries and then a back injury that ended his 2018 season prematurely. 2018 was clearly a lost year.

So who is Thairo Estrada? A 2017 Double-A All Star who the Yankees have played both at 2B and 3B to accommodate other rising star prospects, Estrada has the instincts, footwork and arm strength to be an above average major league shortstop on the defensive side of the ball. The real question is whether he can hit enough to stick at the major league level. Not much of a base stealer, and with little power to speak of his main asset offensively may be his keen eye. Estrada stuck out only 56 times in 542 at bats in 2017 leading to a .301 AVG and .351 OBP. His swing tends to be flat which leads to a diminished power profile. In a lineup that still boasts top level talent even with all the injuries, Estrada shouldn’t be asked to do too much with the bat. It is his glove they will rely on, keeping Gleyber Torres at 2B.

We here at Prospects1500 got it right when we predicted Miguel Andujar would be a revelation for the big club last year. Unfortunately I do not have the same confidence in Estrada to be a difference maker. With Tyler Wade being the first call up in the super utility role, and a reliance on DJ LeMahieu, I believe Estrada will only be keeping a roster spot warm until either Didi or Tulo return to the team. I will say it is refreshing to see that the Yankees have enough confidence in Estrada to give him an opportunity to play, so I hope this is a prediction I get wrong. It has been the influx of youth over the last few years that have kept the Yankees relevant when many expected a downturn for the team that might require excessive spending. Here is to hoping that the farm system continues to develop players that can step in and hold down the fort for the inevitable injuries that may occur.

Born in Brooklyn, NY but currently living in enemy territory just west of Boston, I am an avid Yankee fan who has been passionate about baseball my entire life. My Mom stood in line overnight just to get me tickets to the World Series in 1996. A father of 2 young sons, I hope to share my passion for baseball with them in the future, and who knows? Maybe one day they will be featured here on Prospects1500.

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