Yankees’ 2023 first-round pick is starting to catch fire in Single-A

Baseball: Perfect Game All-American Classic
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George Lombard Jr. was selected by the New York Yankees in the first-round of the 2023 MLB Draft as a high schooler, meaning it would be a long road for him to become a big leaguer. Opening the season in Single-A at just 18 years old, the teenage shortstop got off to cold start, struggling to hit for much power while having massive whiff issues that created concerns about his projectability. Still, he was supposed to struggle in his first full season as a professional, and we’re now finally starting to see him turn it on as the weather has gotten warmer.

In the middle of a tear that’s seen him connect for some impressive home runs, George Lombard Jr. is flashing the promise that the Yankees saw when they selected him last summer.

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George Lombard Jr. does a ton of damage on contact compared to other Single-A hitters, ranking in the 71st Percentile in Damage Rate and in the 62nd Percentile in 90th Percenile Exit Velocity. He does such a great job of hitting the ball hard, so it was confusing to see him have a zero in the home run column, which finally changed in June as he’s hit three home runs in June with a .486 SLG% over that stretch. Lombard does need to work on pulling the ball in the air more consistently, but when we look at that 20-game stretch there are some seriously encouraging signs.

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The in-zone whiff rates are still underwhelming, posting a 22.6% Whiff Rate on pitches in-zone while the Single-A average is 18.9%, so the Yankees will have to work with Lombard to get those down. What’s important to emphasize is just how much potential there is for growth here thanks to him turning 19 just a month ago, making him one of the youngest full-season players in all of Minor League Baseball.

It wouldn’t be crazy to see George Lombard Jr. in High-A by season’s end if he continues this kind of tear, especially given how the Yankees like to test their top prospects. Defensively we’ll need to see some improvements as well but that feels like a given for a teenage shortstop, but the baserunning skills are already extremely impressive. He’s swiped 24 bases in 27 attempts, and as he continues to slug more having a power-speed combination will make him an extremely enticing player to project moving forward.

Right now I wouldn’t consider him to be a top-100 prospect but he certainly has the skillset and trajectory of someone who climbs into the list in the near future. A toolsy infielder with excellent athletiscm and incredible makeup is always attractive in the prospect world, and the Yankees could be looking at their future top prospect in the 19-year-old. If he can stay on this pace of doing damage on contact while making excellent swing decisions, perhaps the next step for him is conquering the upper levels of Minor League Baseball.

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