New York Yankees Prospects: Isiah Gilliam

Daniel Cunningham
New York Yankees, Aaron Boone
Mar 22, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone (17) prior to the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

For our next prospect, we go to the New York Yankees 20th round pick from the 2015 draft. That prospect would be the powerful outfielder, Isiah Gilliam. Gilliam is the type of guy who is really going to make some noise in batting practice and the type of guy who is going to make loud contact during a game. Gilliam is a switch-hitting outfielder who possesses plus power at the plate. While Gilliam can smoke the ball from both sides of the plate, he seems to be more comfortable hitting from the right side. Gilliam has really good bat speed and a very level swing that generates a good amount of loft. Gilliam hits the ball to all fields, but sometimes his pop goes to his head and he gets a little swing happy at the plate. Gilliam spent time at Tampa and in Trenton during his 2019 season, and really impressed folks when it came to his power.

Powerful 2019

Last year Gilliam appeared in 117 games between Advanced-A Ball and AA. In those 117 games, Gilliam hit 17 home runs and drove in 51 runs. Gilliam held an average of .234 and an OBP of .312. Gilliam did strike out 154 times in 410 plate appearances which are not something you’d really like to see. Gilliam has incredible pop, but he’s still practicing his discipline when it comes to laying off bad pitches. Gilliam showed okay skills in the outfield last year, but I’m not sure the outfield is where he should live long term. Gilliam is a pretty good size ballplayer standing 6’3 and weighing 220 pounds. He doesn’t have great speed and doesn’t have an incredible feel for the outfield when watching him on tape. I think he could slide up to play first base which is probably more where he is suited given his skillset. I think the position change would give Gilliam a fresh look in the field and would limit his weaker areas.

Where to Improve

Isiah Gilliam can flat out swing the bat with some pop, but there are several areas of his game that need to be improved if he wants to make it to the big leagues. His power and bat speed are already at an MLB level, but his patience at the plate needs a ton of work. He needs to be better at pitch recognition and he needs to show more discipline with breaking balls. If he can cut down on the strikeouts and add more walks, he is going to get a healthier dose of pitches that he can smack over the fence. As I alluded to above, I don’t know if Gilliam is an outfielder long term. He just doesn’t have the speed or the feel for the outfield as of now. I think a change of scenery would reinvigorate his development. I think moving him up to first would allow him to focus more on the aspects of his game that could already impact the major leagues. Gilliam is a fun prospect to watch because of his bat, and he’s one that I believe can definitely crack the major leagues eventually. Some fine-tuning and polishing is needed, but he has raw tools that can play now and that is always a plus.