Greg Bird Looks Good Again

Last night, Greg Bird played the hero, launching a home run off Andrew Miller for the only run of the game. For a lefty, just getting on base against Miller is a success, but going deep is pretty remarkable; it was only the second home run a left-hander hit off Miller this year.

But perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised, because since coming back off the disabled list, Bird has been hitting bombs with regularity. His overall season line of .190/.288/.422 isn’t much to write home about, but his early-season numbers came when he probably shouldn’t have been playing, given his foot issues. If we combine his post-DL with his postseason performance to date, this is the line that Healthy Greg Bird has put up in 2017.

Bird, Since Coming off DL
2nd Half 98 0.253 0.316 0.575 0.365 128
Postseason 17 0.308 0.471 0.769 0.501 221
Total 115 0.261 0.339 0.604 0.385 142

The underlying numbers show significant improvement as well. In his pre-DL performance, Bird averaged 87.7 mph exit velocity on his batted balls, but since returning, that mark has jumped to 91.1 mph. For reference, only 13 hitters with at least 100 batted balls averaged 91 mph in exit velocity this year.

And in the postseason, against one of the best pitching staffs we’ve ever seen, Bird’s been crushing the ball at a level not unlike his most monstrous teammate. Here are Bird’s batted balls in this series against Cleveland so far.

Batted Balls in ALDS
Opposing Pitcher Exit Velocity Outcome
Trevor Bauer 85 Fly Out
Corey Kluber 101 Reach on Error
Corey Kluber 109 Single
Mike Clevinger 102 Home Run
Andrew Miller 72 Line Out
Andrew Miller 107 Home Run

Bird’s six batted balls in this series have averaged 94.4 mph, while facing the best left-handed reliever in baseball twice, a top-5 starter twice, and two above average right-handers.

As a pull-heavy left-hander who also strikes out and hits his share of infield flies, Bird is probably never going to be a high average hitter, but the power he’s shown since coming off the DL is a carrying tool, and Bird is showing why the Yankees line-up is scarier right now than their overall season numbers might make it appear.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

When he’s healthy, he hits. Just gotta stay healthy.

4 years ago
Reply to  seymour

I thought Bird was going to be the best offensive player between him, Judge, and Sanchez. Now it looks like they’re all going to be awesome. Good times for Yankees fans, and sad times for Yankees-haters like me.

4 years ago
Reply to  seymour

As a big believer in Bird, I thought he would develop into the second coming of John Olerud. With his injury history, he’s been more like the second coming of Nick Johnson. Hopefully his health woes are behind him.