The Yankees are getting strong early results from unique infielder

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers
Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

When the Yankees acquired Jorbit Vivas, I was already excited about the prospect of adding left-handed infield depth to the organization. He’s one of the 15 best prospects in the organization universally, and this is a farm system that has a universal top-10 grade among evaluators.

Spring Training results do not matter, and that rings true even when we get encouraging results, such as two home runs in two games. What excites me in Spring Training is seeing a player whom I have high hopes for have competitive at-bats and show comfort at the plate, as that can serve as a confidence booster

Last season, we saw that Spring Training affected the Yankees’ decision in the shortstop battle, going with Anthony Volpe over Oswald Peraza. While I don’t believe this is a situation where Vivas is going to steal a starting job from someone, I do believe that he’s validating the faith that the Yankees have in the young infielder.

What the Yankees Love About Jorbit Vivas

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers
Feb 24, 2024; Lakeland, Florida, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Jorbit Vivas (90) at bat during the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Using a photo where Jorbit Vivas is swinging out of his shoes and whiffing on a pitch feels like the wrong kind of message to send, but it’s exactly what I want to showcase. This is a hitter who swings with full intensity, looking to pummel the baseball and do serious damage to the ball in the air, the kind of guy you’d expect to run a high strikeout rate. That couldn’t be further from the truth when you look at his stat line, as he struck out just 11.6% of the time last season between Double-A and Triple-A.

Yesterday, you could see the same thing: violent swings that result in his helmet falling off or spinning on his head, but he still has the poise and feel of the plate to avoid strikeouts and drive the baseball out of the ballpark. His bat angle is remarkably steep for someone with such a low strikeout rate, which creates the kind of hitter that you dream of for a ballpark like Yankee Stadium. He may not have the raw power to club 25-30 home runs in a season, but he’ll probably sit around 15 throughout a full season playing with that short porch in right field.

The Yankees are very excited about Jorbit Vivas, and they believe he could have a big season this year with the organization. He wasn’t acquired to be a throw-in, and his second home run is the best example of how his swing could play in the Bronx.

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Looking at the long-term future of the infield, there will be spots available for players in the organization to try to grab a starting job over the next year, and Vivas is right in the middle of that conversation. Defensively, Jorbit Vivas is an underrated second baseman who can provide positive value with his glove, which as we saw with Anthony Volpe last season, can help a young player contribute even when they’re going through offensive struggles. If some of the core hitters on this team can click, they could live with a growing Vivas in their infield at some point in 2025.

The thought could be, however, that with his experience at third base, the Yankees could potentially call him up this season if something were to happen to DJ LeMahieu or if they had to move LeMahieu to first base because something happened to Anthony Rizzo. Injuries create opportunity, but Vivas will have to improve upon his poor numbers in his first cup of coffee at Triple-A last season to enter that conversation.

Syndication: The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City’s Jorbit Vivas (2) scores in the second inning during the PCL Championship Series baseball game between the Oklahoma City Dodgers and the Round Rock Express at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. Credit: SARAH PHIPPS/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK

Jorbit Vivas can bring a young and athletic profile to a team that’s starting to see a lot of their aging players slow down, and there’s a natural inclination to want the exciting prospect to get a shot, but expectations need to be realistic. It’s not unreasonable to want him to get an extended look at Triple-A before deciding on whether he’s an option or not at the Major League level, and he has a lot to play for this season. Vivas has just one MiLB option remaining, meaning that after this season, he has to either stick on the 26-man roster or be placed on waivers.

If he can prove himself with the bat, you’re getting a strong glove who had sprint speeds last year of 28.5 feet per second, which would have ranked in the 80th Percentile for MLB runners. The skills outside of his bat are enticing, it’s just a matter of him being a good enough hitter to be an everyday player in your lineup. Aaron Judge and Juan Soto could be a long-term duo for the Yankees that anchor their lineup, and the team could still have a top-five offense if the guys around them are solid at best.

Fans should be cautiously optimistic about Jorbit Vivas, as he’s far from a sure thing, but the home runs and the profile are certainly very exciting for the Yankees.

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