While perusing the Yankees’ early-season minor league stats, I came across Mike Ford, who’s hit .347/.421/.510 so far for the class-A Charleston, good for a 177 wRC+. With just 57 plate appearances, the sample size is obviously microscopic, but numbers like that are pretty hard to ignore. Although Ford’s performance is partially driven by his .405 BABIP, his strikeout and walk numbers have been impressive both this season and last. So who the heck is this guy?
Ford’s a 21-year-old first baseman out of Princeton who went undrafted after each of his three years in college. Following a dominant performance in the Cape Cod League last summer, the Yankees signed Ford as an undrafted free agent. Ford promptly reported to class-A Staten Island, where he hit just .235/.346/.374 over 136 PA’s. He did show strong plate discipline, walking nearly as much as he struck out, which was apparently enough to earn him a starting gig with the RiverDogs in 2014.
As with any undrafted free agent who’s years away from the majors, his odds of ever making it are very slim, and as a first baseman, he’s going to have to keep on hitting to even sniff the big leagues. Still, he’s someone to keep an eye on and could turn into a fringe prospect if he continues to punish low-minors pitchers.