In 2017, the New York Yankees have one of the best minor-league farm systems in all of baseball along with others such as the Braves, White Sox, and Astros. As a result, there are some talented players who get lost among the shuffle, and one of them is Thairo Estrada. Estrada has been splitting his time between shortstop and second base this season in Double-A Trenton, but more recently has made second base his everyday position since top prospect Jorge Mateo was called up to play shortstop. Despite getting an All-Star nod for the Eastern League this season, Estrada still does not get talked about as much as other Yankees infield prospects including Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, and even Mateo. Overall, Estrada is definitely worth taking a second look at alongside these other prospects, as someone who could be a solid middle infielder in the majors one day.
Estrada’s line of work speaks for itself this season. While the minor leagues do not have as much access to advanced stats, having seen Estrada play every day this season has given me a unique perspective into the facets of his game. Estrada has proven he can make adjustments, as evidenced by his strikeout percentage dropping roughly 4% from last season. As a result, his BABIP has skyrocketed to .344, and he has a slash line of .320/.375/.418. I attribute his lower slugging percentage as well as his low home-run total of 4 to the dimensions of the ballpark in Trenton. Not only is it 330 feet down each line, but the ballpark sits on the banks of the Delaware River, which as a result creates high winds that knock down potential home runs. If Estrada played in Yankee Stadium every day, he has the potential to hit 20 home runs, as evidenced by Brett Gardner, who in his two years in Trenton (2006-2007) hit as many home runs as I did (0).
Estrada also has a knack for base-running. This may come as a surprise to some given that he has only stolen three bases and been caught stealing nine times. However, on balls hit into the gap or down the line, Estrada has the ability to take the extra base, which has resulted in his wRC+ being 121 this season. Additionally, his spray chart shows that he has the ability to hit the ball to all fields, which makes it tougher for defenses to scout him, and gives him more opportunities for hits. There may not be many stats on Estrada’s defense, but after struggling somewhat at shortstop, he has become far more comfortable at second base, and has not made an error in 19 games.
If Estrada can continue this performance, we might see him in the majors soon, and he could potentially create a great middle-infield combo with Jorge Mateo if Torres’ recover from Tommy John surgery doesn’t go according to plan. So far through 14 games in Trenton, Mateo has a slash line of .396/.508/.755 and a BABIP of .486. The high OBP is a result of Mateo walking in 15.2% of his plate appearances. If Estrada does not play for the Yankees, then the Yankees should be smart enough to utilize his value and include him in a trade package for a big-name player (Sonny Gray, anyone?).
Die-hard baseball fan looking to make a niche in the online baseball blog community. Enjoy writing about the Yankees, Mets, and sabermetrics but can also discuss a variety of baseball related topics.