Josh Breaux's Swing Changes Lead To More Power
When the Yankees drafted catcher Josh Breaux, his raw tools were eye-opening. He coupled huge power with top-level arm strength.
“He’s so much more polished,” Yankees hitting coordinator Dillon Lawson said.
The Yankees have created a stable of impressive backstops who could take over for Gary Sanchez in the not-so-distant future. Atop the minds of many is 2020 first-rounder Austin Wells. Then there’s 2018 first-rounder Anthony Seigler and the budding Venezuelan talent Antonio Gomez.
But at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, Breaux’s ceiling appears just as high.
Breaux, 23, was selected in the second round in 2018 and signed for $1.5 million out of McLennan (Texas) JC.
Since then, organizational hitting instructors have worked with Breaux to harness that strength and turn his swing into one that produces contact with more regularity. He worked closely, in particular, with coach Joe Migliaccio through the 2020 minor league shutdown.
“What they were able to accomplish is so impressive,” Lawson said. “He just looks like such a professional hitter.”
The Yankees invited Breaux to his first big league spring training this year, and he went 1-for-5 with three walks and two strikeouts.
“He has the raw package,” Lawson said. “We didn’t have to do anything from a power enhancement standpoint. What we’ve been able to do is just help him use that power more effectively and in a more competitive environment.”
Breaux hit .271/.324/.518 with 13 home runs in 51 games at Low-A Charleston in 2019, dealing with elbow issues that sidelined him for half the season. Behind the plate, he’s a work in progress who has improved his receiving.
“The dude loves to compete every day in the cage,” Lawson said. “It’s an awesome time in the cage with him. He’ll challenge you to challenge him. He’ll ask you to throw live batting practice to him every day and then crank the pitching machines and put tough pitches in front of him.
"He really loves that stuff. You couldn’t ask for more as a coach.”
— At the alternate training site, top pitching prospect Deivi Garcia was working on “his attack plan to righties . . . a better understanding of when he gets to two strikes and what options he has,” and refining the shape of his slider, according to pitching coach Matt Blake.
— First baseman Chris Gittens hit three batting practice home runs at the alternate site that exhibited the kind of power usually associated with Giancarlo Stanton. Gittens crushed bombs at 113 mph and then 116 mph before putting one over a gigantic wall in left field at a whopping 118 mph.