If you know anything about me at this point, it’s that I’m a complete sucker for the weekly “Prospect Hot Sheet” column over at Baseball America. Once again, a Yankee farmhand makes their top-13 for the week.
Brandon Laird, 3B
Team: Double-A Trenton (Eastern)
Why He’s Here: .520/.600/.920 (13-for-25), 7 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 5 BB, 4 SO
The Scoop: Laird may not have a true plus tool, but he’s upped his status as a prospect this year by showing he has a whole lot of 50s on his scouting report. Laird has recently lost his grip on the minors’ RBI lead (he trails Dan Johnson by three), but his three home runs this week moved him back into the top 10 in the minors with 23. This season, he has shown the ability to drive the ball and a better hit tool than he had shown in the past. Plus, he’s improved defensively at third base. But what stands out the most about Laird is his consistency this season—he’s gone on power binges, but he’s yet to really have a long-term slump.
Going into 2010, Brandon Laird was viewed as a C-grade prospect, usually falling in the 20-30 range among the team’s prospect rankings. Thanks to his monster 2010 campaign — he leads the Eastern League in HR (23) and RBI (89) and is hitting .291/.354/.526 (399 AB) in a notorious pitcher’s park — Laird is putting himself on the prospect map. If one considers the 2010 season to be an extension of his impressive work in last year’s Arizona Fall League (.333/.406/.633, 6 HR, 24 RBI in 90 AB) then it’s not a stretch to say that Laird has been the single-most improved Yankee positional player over the past calendar year.
It’s hard to say exactly where Laird will rank on the prospect lists that come out each offseason but it’s not hard to predict that he’ll get plenty of positive attention this winter. My advice? Trade him now, while his name has heat. He’s blocked at 1B, 3B and DH and he’s probably worth more to the Yanks as a trade chip than as a converted corner outfielder.