BBDP 2016 Breakout candidate: Thairo Estrada

Thairo_Estrada_f614s7qb_at04cmbjBack in 2013, I was shocked to see a 17-year-old shortstop on the GCL roster I had never heard of. I was even more taken back when that same shortstop ended up being the opening day starter. He went on to have a surprisingly productive season, hitting .278/.350/.432/.782 with two homeruns, 11 doubles and five triples. By the end of that season, most everyone at least knew who Thairo Estrada was.

His second season was cut short by injuries, but he was still relatively productive in his first taste of Staten Island. It was a small sample size in just 23 games total, and he hit a respectable .272/.337/.309/.646.

The then 19-year-old spent the 2015 season back in Staten Island, where he again performed well. He was .267/.338/.360/.698 with two homeruns and 17 doubles in 60 games. He struck out just 30 times in 63 games. He played a lot of second base because Kyle Holder was manning shortstop. In doing so he showed that he can not only play an above average shortstop, he can also do the same at second base.

The basics:

Position: Shorstop/Second base

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 170-pounds

Bats: Right-handed

Throws: Right-handed

Age: 20 (Born February 22, 1996 in Venezuela)

Signed: 2013 for an unknown amount of money

Best tool: Contact

The tools:

Defensively, the only plus tool Estrada has is his arm. He is one of those guys, however, who is pretty good at everything else. He projects to be a better than average shortstop long term. Where his value comes in the Yankees’ system is that he can also play multiple positions. He plays above average defense at three or four positions around the diamond. That in and of itself has value, but that’s not all Thairo can do.

Estrada, for his size, actually has some impressive pop. On top of that, he has good patience and an excellent contact tool. So far, that has translated into some solid seasons offensively for a middle infielder. The Yankees are still waiting for that true breakout season though. Thairo is hoping it’s next year. He employs a whole field approach to hitting, taking balls the other way as much as possible. Every now and then if he leans into one he can leave the yard.


Thairo’s most realistic projection right now is as a utility infielder. He can already play any position on the diamond well. If he hits his ceiling he’ll be a starting shortstop who is above average on both sides of the ball. The floor is a guy who never sees the diamond in the MLB. He will likely start the season in Charleston in 2016, and from there he could be a one or two level a year guy. It all depends on how he performs. If he makes it to the majors, his ETA will be 2018.

Estrada is yet another high ceiling shortstop in the system. It’s great to have guys like him, and as far as I’m concerned the more the merrier. There is a definite roster crunch amongst middle infielders at the lower level, but I expect Thairo to find a way to get playing time one way or the other due to his versatility. This may be a real breakout year for him, as he will attempt to elevate his prospect status now that he is in the long season leagues.

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12 Responses to BBDP 2016 Breakout candidate: Thairo Estrada

  1. Terry says:

    It seems he'll need that break out season,to stay in the mix.We have some pretty good young middle infielders ahead of him.I like rooting for the young guys but he'll need to really improve to make the majors

    • gcorcoran says:

      You might be surprised at where he's at skill wise in comparison to these other guys. His overall skillset is pretty comparable to all of these guys. A couple of them are going to emerge, it's just a matter of who. He's just as likely as most of the others to end up being that gut.

  2. hotdog says:

    Greg, i was just wondering what you thought of the Chapman trade…

    • gcorcoran says:

      I don't know what to think about the trade. If you look at it strictly from a value perspective, I think the Yankees got a great deal. On the other hand, they already have a sick bullpen and really didn't particularly need Chapman. There's also the off the field issues, impending suspension, and the fact that you lose Rookie Davis and Jagielo in the deal. Those guys were both top 10 prospects in the system. Also losing Rookie Davis was definitely a hit to the SP depth. So they took an area of strength and made it stronger, and the only thing that really suffered was the starting pitcher depth ( Jagielo probably doesn't stick at third). Overall I'd say they got a good deal.

      • tom says:

        Right now, Jagielo is only a prospect that we would miss. Jagielo could be there to replace Bird this year. Aside Talent, Davis is out and Cessa in.

        • gcorcoran says:

          That's true. Jagielo would have been useful at first this year. That said I don't know if he would have been ready. They probably still would have gone out and got Ike Davis. I don't think Cessa matches up to Davis, so I wouldn't exactly call that a wash. I think the Yankees definitely downgraded there. I'm not gonna miss Jagielo that much though because I don't think he hits well enough to stick at first base.

      • hotdog says:

        i thought Rookie Davis was an interesting prospect…i was sorry to see him leave but the deal seemed too good to turn down…

  3. tom says:

    If you make one more breakout article on SS, you will be suspended from this site for one year. LOL.

    So far, you made 3 SS articles. I noticed Garcia is your number one hitter as I don't expect Mateo and Wade can get ahead of him. Is there any hiccup in Estrada and Park's hitting style?

    Just curious, how would you align those SS prospects if Mateo, Garcia, Estrada and Park were on the same 25 man roster?

  4. buckeye balls says:

    If the Yanks are in the race in late July and need to make a trade, Mateo will be the best chip they have. If Didi and Castro play well there is no room for him for a couple of years anyway. So the more of these teen middle infield prospects the better, they have plenty of time

    • gcorcoran says:

      They already tried to trade him once, although I cannot figure out why. I'd be surprised if they didn't try again this year. Trades are hard to make though so it's not a given.

      • hotdog says:

        it would be a shame to trade Mateo for a rental but the Yankees have a goal of winning the world series each year…my concern would be that by the Yankees avoiding free agent signings this winter it may force them to trade talented prospects to fill some gaps mid-season…i'm not a fan of that strategy…if they're not going to spend on free agents, they shouldn't be so quick to trade talented ballplayers to better the team mid-season…it's how you deplete a farm system…i was also surprised that Cashman was willing to trade Mateo for Kimbrel…now Mateo was promoted to Tampa and hit .321 in 21 games which made the deal seem even more shortsighted from this vantage point…it's a risky strategy, to trade our best prospect for a 2 month rental which really only works out if the team wins the world series…when the Yankees had better teams it made more sense…

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