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Yankees Top 30 Prospects for 2020: Brandon Lockridge (OF, #26)

Today we continue our Yankees Top-30 Prospects Countdown for the 2020 season with OF Brandon Lockridge.

Starting as an unranked draft prospect to season-ending surgery in his first professional year and then making the jump to Class A, Lockridge is a Center Fielding prospect for the Yankees with tremendous speed. There is room for improvements with the outfielder, but even as early as going pro he has shown good aptitude towards using adjustments to better develop his game. Expected to stay in center field for the long-run, he could develop 20-20 potential, but does have a noticeable flaw in his poor/fringy arm which works but isn’t favorable.

 


(Screenshot From Prospects Live Video, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5JlNATPkw0)
(Screenshot From Prospects Live Video, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5JlNATPkw0)


(Screenshot From Prospects Live Video, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5JlNATPkw0)


Brandon Lockridge, OF (#26):

Age/Date of Birth: 23 Years Old (03/14/1997)

2019 Team(s): Charleston RiverDogs (Class A)

2019 Statistics: .251/.319/.410 (0.729 OPS), 12 HR, 56 RBIs, 45 Walks, 140 Strikeouts (121 Games, 498 At-Bats)

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Height/Weight: 6’1”/185 Pounds

Acquired: Drafted by the New York Yankees in the 5th Round (157th Pick) of the 2018 MLB Draft

MLB ETA: 2022

 

Brandon Lockridge Scouting Grades (20-80 Scale):

Power/Hit: 45/45

Run: 75

Field/Arm: 60/45

Overall: 40

 

What to Know:

Coming into each year of the MLB Draft, especially after the first three rounds, it often looks like teams start to “reach” for players using picks in the middle-100s to draft talent who didn’t scrape a pre-draft 200 list. However, this is because many top talents each year are coming out of High School with strong ties to college programs and would require large above-slot bonuses to sign. This makes the Yankees 5th Round, 157th Overall pick of Brandon Lockridge- then a 4th Year Junior out of Troy University- more sensical. Originally a second baseman, Lockridge moved to Center Field in his junior year to utilize his top tool: speed. Signing at $297,500, a little under slot value of $320,700, Lockridge was a Yankee and got sent to the Gulf Coast League just 5 days later.

It was expected that Lockridge, just coming out of college ball, was going to do well in the Gulf Coast League given the much younger talent and more developmental focus for players. After spending just 10 games with the Gulf Coast Yankees (West) while hitting to an OPS of 1.026, Lockridge quickly skipped over Pulaski and was sent to the Staten Island Yankees, where he only spent another 16 games…although for much different reasons. After trying to play through injury, it was revealed that Lockridge suffered a torn UCL in his left thumb, which sent him to the 60-Day DL to end his season. This wasn’t an unsuccessful season for Lockridge though, as Jeff Deardorff helped to correct a previous flaw in his college-hitting approach when he used to drop his hands.

After having a successful surgery and recovery period, going into 2019, Lockridge was promoted to the Charleston RiverDogs to be their primary Center Fielder. Playing in the second most games (121) on the team behind only Canaan Smith (124), Lockridge led the RiverDogs in SB% (73.3%) and led the South Atlantic League in extra-base hits with 55. This season also brought about more consistent scouting reports of Lockridge, as his sub-4 second home-to-first speed was really showcased, along with the fix to his swing which unlocked his more natural power and bat speed from the right side. At mid-season he also earned himself a spot on the Yankees Top-30 prospects list after previously being unranked.

Overall, Brandon Lockridge is seen as a viable center fielder in the long-term and has tools that could all be developed into average or above-average with time. His biggest lacking asset for future gains is his arm, which is still serviceable for center field but not favorable. Luckily, his speed with helping to increase his range could help compensate.

What Will the Future Hold?

Given how the jump from Class A to Double A is seen as the biggest adjustment in the minor leagues, I would expect for Lockridge to start the season again with the Charleston RiverDogs and if playing well may see a late-season promotion to the Trenton Thunder. Now that he has a full season of ball under his belt, his true potential is showing more, as are his flaws. Evaluators say that with an all-fields approach and more plate discipline, along with a bit better baserunning ability, Lockridge could unlock 20-20 season potential. Given the uncertainty in the position at the major league level, it’ll be interesting to see how Lockridge continues to develop.

I don’t expect a big jump up the prospect ranks for Lockridge through the 2020 season as he is looking to potentially face his biggest in-game challenges and adjustments this season.

#BrandonLockridge #Top30Prospects

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