It seems like Chris Breen has been in the Yankees’ system for years, but in reality it has only been 2.5 seasons. He hasn’t quite made the jump yet from marginal prospect to legit prospect, but I think he’s about to do just that. One of the cool things about Breen is his positional versatility. With his power, his bat has the potential to play up at just about any position. His athleticism is not his biggest strength, but he is able to play corner outfield or first base. Overall he is a guy with burgeoning power that could surprise and hit a bunch of homeruns in 2015. He is tops on my list of positional players who might break out next season.
Position: RF, 1B
Draft: 12th round of the 2012 draft from Winter Springs HS in Florida.
Chris Breen joined the Yankees in 2012 and came out of the gait pretty strong for an 18 year old in the GCL. He hit .274/.308/.369/.677, but the power was not yet present. The Yankees had high hopes for him though because of his size and the way he handled his bat.
Then in 2013 he repeated the GCL, and the power increased. The only problem was that although the power came around, the average was not up to par. He hit .214/.292/.368/.660 but did have 5 homeruns. He also hit 10 doubles and three triples in just 53 games. Overall it was a disappointing season, but the increase in power was enough that the Yankees gave him a shot at Staten Island in 2014.
In 2014, Breen was one year younger than the average age of the league in the NYPL, and he had a fantastic season statistically. He hit .281/.376/.504/.881 with eight homeruns, five triples, and 16 doubles in 63 games. The one catch is that he struck out 71 times. That’s a pretty big red flag, but if you project his states over a 160 game schedule you have a guy who will hit 20 homeruns and hit 40+ doubles. He walked at a decent clip this year too, which is a good sign for his future going forward. Overall he needs to work on improving his contact rate, but he still has a couple of years to figure that out.
The scouting report on Chris Breen is actually quite well represented by his stats. He’s a guy with good size, impressive power, and surprising athleticism. His swing obviously has a few holes in it, but when he connects with a ball it really flies of the bat. The question with him long term will be if he can patch up those holes enough. If so, we have already seen what he can do when that bat meets the ball.
Breen doesn’t have much in the way of speed, but he makes up for it in the field with good instincts and an above average arm from right field. He is looking like a guy who can be an average defender in the outfield, which could allow his power bat to play up. If he moves to first, he will have to hit for even more power and production to be taken seriously as a prospect.
In right field or at first base he is going to have to hit the ball all the way up, especially as a guy who is never going to be a plus defender (except maybe at first base). We’ve seen a million times, however, how major league teams will make room or find a position for a guy with a top bat. Chris Breen is not there yet but next year he’ll have a shot to prove himself in Charleston.
Ceiling wise, Breen would be a Pat Burrell type. He could be a guy who hits for a ton of power, gets on base and even potentially hits for a decent average. He will never be an ace in the field. If he continues to get stronger he could be a 30 homerun hitter. The floor is obviously pretty low. He could be a guy who flops as soon as next year. On the other hand, he appears poised for a breakout season in 2015.
Breen’s ETA is probably 2017-2018, which would make him 23-24 years old. He wouldn’t be the youngest prospect to break in, but he could make an impact if all goes well. I’m betting on Breen in 2015 to have a big season, and you should definitely keep an eye on his development because he is a guy with some real power potential going forward.