New York Yankees Analysis: Could Thairo Estrada be an option at second base?

New York Yankees, Thairo Estrada

The New York Yankees now have a position to fill, that of second base.  With DJ LeMahieu last year’s MVP second-baseman testing positive for the coronavirus.  According to the health protocol, he must now quarantine for two weeks, then test negative twice, two days apart before he can rejoin the team.  Many that have recovered from the virus remain weak for some time, making it unlikely that he will be up to the stress of the regular season, at least at the start.

The Yankees do have options, with each one creating a new position to fill. Could the Yankees instead choose to place up and coming to prospect Thairo Estrada at second base?

Thairo Jose Estrada Villegas is a 24-year-old New York Yankee prospect infielder from Bejuma Venezuela.  Estrada has been with the Yankees since the age of 17 when he was signed as an international free agent. In his years with the Yankees, he has spent time with the Gulf Coast Yankees, Staten Island, Tampa, and the Charleston River Dogs.

In 2017 he was with the Trenton Thunder where he was an Eastern League All-Star.  He hit .301 with six home runs and 48 RBIs in 122 games. In 2018 while he and his wife were dining in a cafe back in his home Venezuela, he was shot in the hip in a robbery attempt.  The bullet could not be removed but he was cleared by doctors to play baseball. He played in only eighteen games that season.

The Yankees promoted Estrada to the major leagues on April 4, 2019, but sent him down to Scranton Wilkes/Barre two days later. On April 21, he made his major league debut that day. He laid down a sacrifice bunt that set up a walk-off single by New York Yankee catcher Austin Romine. He ended the season playing in 35 games with 16 hits, 3 doubles, and 3 home runs. He played a total of 164 innings, 105 of them errorless at 2nd base. 105 innings errorless is very impressive.

In spring training 1.0 in 2020, he played in 11 games for a total of 33 innings and racked up 5 RBIs.  So far in summer camp, he leads the team with 3 homers in just 4 scrimmages. Along with his excellent defense at second base, although not a super-utility player he has experience as a shortstop and playing in the outfield giving manager Aaron Boone even more options.

With the likelihood that DJ LeMahieu will not be available for opening day and possibly beyond, the New York Yankees have decisions to make.  They could put Tyler Wade at second.  They also could move Gleyber Torres to 2nd, putting either Tyler Wade or Gio Urshela who also has experience at short as the shortstop. If they make the Gio choice that would put Miguel Andujar back at his natural 3rd base.

The Yankees could avoid all those changes and put the emerging bat and excellent defense of Estrada at second base for the start of the season.  Only time will tell what decision Boone makes, but with just a little over a week left in summer camp, that decision should be forthcoming.



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