Monday, June 7, 2010

Yankee Prospect Laird Named EL Player of the Month

Trenton Thunder third baseman Brandon Laird was recently named Eastern League Player of the Month. The 22-year old had a great month of May, hitting .339 with 6 home runs, 33 RBI, 25 runs scored, and a .591 slugging percentage. For the month he had 12 multi-hit games, and had 7 RBI in 1 game against Binghamton. He also hit for the cycle in a game against Erie which he ended with a walk off home run. He is also the latest EL player of the week and has led his team to a 19-10 record for the month.

Currently hitting .302, Laird has had a very good season so far. He's in the EL top 10 in almost every hitting category. He leads the league in RBIs (52), 2nd in hits (67), 3rd in runs (40) and 4th in home runs (11).

With Trenton, he has formed the league's best 3-4 batting combo with Austin Romine. More recently that part of the lineup has been expanded to include Jorge Vazquez, the slugging first baseman from Mexico, giving the Thunder one of the most feared 3-4-5 hitters in the League. Add David Adams to the order when he comes back off the DL and we could see a lot of runs scored in Trenton.

The right handed third base prospect is 6-1 and 215 lb. and was born in Cypress, California. The brother of the Detroit Tigers, Gerald Laird, he was first drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 27th round of the 2005 draft but didn't sign. He was signed by the Yankees after being picked in the 27th round of the 2007 draft out of Cypress College.

In his first couple of years in professional ball he has been known as a slow starter, except for this year. He started off hitting .272 which is far better than past starts and rolled that into an outstanding May. Known mostly as a power hitter and run producer he had 23 homers and 86 RBI in Charleston (Low A) in 2008; and had 13 home runs and 74 RBI in High A Tampa last year. He was also sent to the AFL last year and his play earned him All-Prospect Team honors.

On the downside, Laird did make some noise this winter when he was arrested with his brother at a Suns game in January for disorderly conduct. He has been quiet since, so hopefully this was just a one-time incident. In addition, his defense is average at best. Mainly a third baseman this year he has played some first base in the past. Though he is working hard on his defense, if he eventually makes it to the "bigs" it will more likely be because of his bat.

Laird is not on many top prospect lists, but if he keeps hitting like he did in May, he could be moving up that list very fast.

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