- Full name Thairo Jose Estrada
- Born 02/22/1996 in Bejuma, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 5'10" / Wt.: 185 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 04/21/2019
Organization Prospect Rankings
Track Record: Things looked rosy for Estrada after a breakout year at Double-A Trenton in 2017 followed by a strong stint in the Arizona Fall League. That progress came to a tragic halt when he was shot in the right hip during an attempted robbery in his native Venezuela during the offseason. The first surgery to remove the bullet in Venezuela was botched, and the bullet remained in his body the entire season until finally being removed in the U.S. in November.
Scouting Report: Before his injuries, Estrada showed a potential average bat with a glove and arm that each projected as plus. His bat was geared for gap-to-gap line drives with a flat path that produced a lot of contact, although it limited his already-scant power potential. Estrada showed quick hands, a strong arm and steady instincts in the field. He’s an above-average runner but needs to sharpen his baserunning.
The Future: Even with a full six-week stint in the Arizona Fall League, 2018 was a lost season. He’ll try to regain his health and prospect shine back at Triple-A in 2019.
Overshadowed by Yankees prospects in his signing class like shortstop Jorge Mateo (now with the Athletics) and catcher Luis Torrens (Padres), Estrada has quietly risen to the ranks of the system's best prospects. He continued to show a knack for contact as he advanced to Double-A Trenton in 2017, when he took over at shortstop when Gleyber Torres was promoted to Triple-A. He was Trenton's most consistent player during its run to the Eastern League finals. None of Estrada's tools jump off the page, but he just keeps performing. As one of the Eastern League's youngest players in 2017, he finished among the top 10 in average (.301) and ranked second in the league with 149 hits. His quick hands and flat bat path allow him to make plenty of contact and spray line drives from gap to gap. Estrada proved that he could play shortstop with above-average range and a plus arm. He's got below-average power, and his smallish frame doesn't make it seem likely to change. He's an average runner on the bases. After a turn in the Arizona Fall League, Estrada will head to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he could split time again with Torres.
Estrada was signed for just $49,000 in 2012 as part of a larger international class that also included shortstop Jorge Mateo and catcher Luis Torrens. Estrada has moved relatively quickly, reaching A-ball as a 20-year-old for the first time in 2016 and spending the bulk of his season at high Class A Tampa. He played mostly second and third base with Tampa in deference to shortstops Jorge Mateo and Gleyber Torres. The Yankees see Estrada as a second baseman in the long-term because he lacks the range for shortstop. He has a plus arm, however, and saw time at third base as well. He is a plus runner who can get from home to first base in 4.2 seconds, but needs to refine his base-stealing techniques. He is more of a contact hitter than a power threat, but he has improved his body as he's grown and shed fat from his teenage years. As that process continues, the Yankees believe Estrada could develop into a double-digit home run threat. He's likely to begin 2017 in Double-A Trenton with Torres, Mateo and Miguel Andujar.
Estrada signed for just less than $50,000 in 2012 and has moved slowly through the system. A pulled groin meant he played just 21 games in 2014, so he returned to short-season Staten Island in 2015. He's a solid, gifted defender at shortstop, but a lack of range and the presence of so many other young, talented shortstops within the system means that Estrada probably will slide over to second base for the long haul. He has put on good weight since signing and makes solid contact with the ball. He's also got an excellent knowledge of the strike zone--as shown by his 30 strikeouts against 23 walks in 247 at-bats in 2015--but he might need to add a little bit more discipline to his game. Estrada has gifted hands, and the Yankees worked with him in 2015 to utilize his lower half more to help get the most of out of his swing. After earning an all-star berth with Staten Island, Estrada appears destined to land at low Class A Charleston to start 2016.
Inked for a bonus of just less than $50,000, Estrada has proven to be a worthy investment so far for the Yankees. Though he was limited to just 21 games in 2014 with a groin injury, he still showed signs of being a player worth watching at short-season Staten Island. Despite being just 18 years old, Estrada is a heady player who reads swings well and knows how to anticipate at shortstop, which only accentuates his above-average arm and range in the field. Opposing scouts who saw him in 2014 saw a plus fielder with a bat that projects to be average in the long run. The Yankees believe he'll make contact but will also grow into below-average power in the 10-12 home run range as he grows and adds muscle to his frame. He spent time in instructional league to make up for some of the time lost to injury, and he could wind up in the New York-Penn League again in 2015 after extended spring training ends.
The Yankees fielded two Rookie-level Gulf Coast League teams in 2013 for the first time, often shifting players back and forth between the two rosters. Estrada was the regular shortstop on GCL Yankees 2, sliding to second base when Abiatal Avelino joined the team for 15 games. Signed in July 2012 for a bonus just shy of $50,000, Estrada impresses with skills and tools. His swing is short and flat with a good feel for the barrel and the ability to go to the opposite field. He's a plus runner with a plus arm who has shown the ability to play at both second base and shortstop. He uses his quick hands and quick feet to make the play on every ball he gets to. The system's lower levels are crowded with middle-infield options, so Estrada could be headed back to the GCL in 2014. He may profile best as a utility infielder in the long term.
Minor League Top Prospects
When the Yankees saw Estrada in Venezuela last August, they had nearly tapped their $2.9 million international bonus pool. The shortstop flew well under the radar, however, and New York was able to lock him up quickly for $49,000. Estrada showed up to the team?s Dominican instructional league and was performing so well that the Yankees pushed him to make his pro debut as a 17-year-old in the GCL, where he continued his ascent as a prospect. Estrada is smaller than Abiatal Avelino, who mostly played for Yankees-1 while Estrada played for Yankees-2. When Avelino switched Yankees rosters, Estrada slid to second base for the most part. He?s capable at both spots, with fast hands, quick feet and good actions around the bag at second. He also has a solid-average arm that should be enough at shortstop because he has the ability to make accurate throws from different angles. Estrada adds excellent instincts and is an advanced hitter for his age. He has good bat control, makes plenty of contact and has a good hitting approach. He uses the whole field with a slashing, line-drive stroke and has some surprising pop for his size, though his game will be more about getting on base than power. He?s a plus runner who needs to polish his basestealing technique.