- Full name Brandon J. Laird
- Born 09/11/1987 in Cypress CC, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Cypress CC
- Debut 07/22/2011
- Drafted in the 27th round (844th overall) by the New York Yankees in 2007 (signed for $120,000).
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Double-A Eastern League MVP in 2010, Laird came back to earth a bit last season, though the younger brother of veteran catcher Gerald Laird did make his major league debut in July with a pinch-hit single against the Athletics. He returned to New York as a September callup. However, Laird was exposed by Triple-A pitchers in a way that hadn't happened before. He always has been an aggressive hitter, and more advanced pitchers took advantage. He almost hit more homers than he had walks, and he struggled with quality breaking balls from righthanders, who limited him to a .672 OPS in Triple-A. He has the strength to hit for power to all fields and still mashes lefthanders, against whom he had an .810 OPS. Laird has helped himself by adding some defensive value as his career has progressed. Managers rated him the International League's best defensive third baseman in 2011. He isn't flashy but he's dependable and makes the routine plays, and he's also more than capable at first base. He saw some time in left field last year, though his below-average speed limits him there. Laird's best role with the Yankees would be as a righthanded-hitting corner reserve, though he could be a second-division regular if traded elsewhere. He'll fight for that bench role in New York this year.
The younger brother of big league catcher Gerald Laird, Brandon signed for $120,000 as a 27th-round pick out of Cypress (Calif.) JC in 2007. He broke into pro ball as a third baseman, played primarily at first base in 2008, then returned to the hot corner the last two years. He won Eastern League MVP honors in 2010 despite spending August in Triple-A. Laird has a track record of hitting in the minors. He has good pitch recognition and feel for the barrel, which should enable him to produce for average as well as power. He has strong hands, solid bat speed and nice leverage in his swing. His aggressiveness got the best of him at Triple-A, and he needs to prove he can adjust against better pitching. Scouts used to question his glove and athletic ability, but Laird keeps answering their doubts. He has become an average defender at third, with subpar range but good hands and a strong arm. He's a below-average runner. The Yankees worked Laird on the outfield corners in the Arizona Fall League, and increased versatility would help his chances of eventually sticking in New York. He profiles as a third baseman in the Kevin Kouzmanoff mode, and with Alex Rodriguez ahead of him, Laird could become trade fodder. Added to the 40-man roster, he'll return to Scranton in 2011.
Minor League Top Prospects
Laird has a big league pedigree--he's the younger brother of Tigers catcher Gerald--and a solid minor league track record. Still, few expected him to be both one of the best hitters in the EL and a competent defender at third base. He was an easy choice for league MVP, finishing fourth in homers (23) and fifth in RBIs (90) despite being promoted to Triple-A in early August. With strength in his hands and forearms and leverage in his swing, Laird generates good power. He's aggressive and jumps on pitches he can drive. He has a quiet confidence in the batter's box and a knack for putting the barrel of the bat on the ball. "I saw him hit pretty good pitching, and he hit mistakes," an AL scout. "He recognized them and hit them hard, and showed me off-field power." Laird doesn't do anything pretty, particularly on defense. He's adequate at third, with enough arm and solid hands but below-average range and speed. He should hit enough to be a regular there, and potentially enough if he's forced to first base.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive 3B in the International League in 2011
- Rated Best Power Prospect in the Eastern League in 2010