Prospect Profile: Alex Yarbrough


Alex Yarbrough is currently ranked the Angels’ 9th overall prospect per The Ole Miss product plays second base and played the entire 2014 season with the Double-A Arkansas Travelers. Although he used to be blocked in terms of organizational depth by former Angels’ prospect Taylor Lindsey, the path to the majors has cleared since Lindsey was sent to the San Diego Padres in the Huston Street deal. Yarbrough’s upcoming season in the minors will be vital for the Angels as he represents the best prospect option at second base behind Howie Kendrick, who as we know will be a free agent at the conclusion of the 2015 season.

As far as production goes, Yarbrough had a solid, but unspectacular campaign in Arkansas this past season. He batted .285/.321/.397 in 592 plate appearances for the Travelers, which equates to a 103 OPS+. At first glance, those numbers seem mediocre but when you look at Yarbrough’s splits, there is hope that he will improve. Dickey-Stephens Park, which is home to the Arkansas Travelers, is known to be one of the most difficult minor league stadiums to hit in and Yarbrough would testify to that notion. At home, he posted a .636 OPS compared to a .788 OPS on the road. The latter figure seems to be most telling of Yarbrough’s production as he led the Texas League in doubles and hits. On the defensive side, the second baseman finished the year with a respectable .982 fielding percentage. Scouts’ consensus on Yarbrough is that his hit tool represents his greatest strength and in order for him to become a major league regular, his bat needs to carry him.

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At the plate, Yarbrough struggles with plate discipline as he walks just 5.5% of the time he steps up to bat. Unfortunately, he’s not an Erick Aybar type player who puts the bat on the ball a ton and rarely strikes out, as Yarbrough struck out in over 20% of his plate appearances. On the bases, the 22-year old went 6 for 12 in stolen base attempts, so he’s not the fleetest of foot either. It should be noted that Alex was two years younger than his competition and it’s not alarming that he struggled in certain aspects at such a young age.

Next year, you will likely see Yarbrough with the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees as he prepares himself for a chance to crack the major league roster in 2016. Due to the nature of the Pacific Coast League and how balls sail out of the park regularly, I expect him to excel at the plate and rack up the counting stats. His strikeout rate will be under scrutiny as that aspect of his game needs to improve and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares against tougher pitching. Alex Yarbrough is definitely a name to remember and look out for at this year’s Spring Training. As much as we love Howie, it’s a strong possibility that Yarbrough will usurp Kendrick at second base in 2016 as Kendrick will be looking to test the free agent market in the next offseason.