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Yankees Top 30 Prospects for 2021: Josh Breaux (C, #19)

The Yankees catcher Josh Breaux has spent more time playing DH in his professional career than he has behind the plate. With a game that plays similarly to Gary Sanchez, Breaux needs to address his defensive miscues and fix an approach at the plate if he wants to excel at the MLB level. His potential for 35+ HR pop is very intriguing though!

 

JOSH BREAUX, C (#19):

Age/Date of Birth: 23 Years Old (10/07/1997)

Most Recent Team(s) (Level and Year): Charleston RiverDogs (Class A, 2019)

Most Recent Yearly Statistics (2019): .271/.324/.518 (.842 OPS), 13 HR, 49 RBIs, 15 Walks, 59 Strikeouts (51 Games, 199 At-Bats)

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Height/Weight: 6’1”/220 Pounds

Acquired: Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2018 MLB First Year Player Draft by the New York Yankees with the 61st overall pick.

MLB ETA: 2023

 

JOSH BREAUX SCOUTING GRADES (20-80 SCALE):

Hit/Power: 40/55

Run: 20

Field/Arm: 45/60

Overall: 45

 

What to Know:

Coming undrafted out of high school, Josh Breaux attended the JUCO program McLennan Community College (Waco, TX) where he became known as one of the top junior college prospects. This earned him a 36th round selection in 2017 by the Houston Astros after his freshman season, though Breaux instead decided to test himself and it worked out. Staying at McLennan for another year, Breaux may have been the best JUCO prospect in the draft. He obviously drafted again in 2018, and this time it was in the 2nd round by the New York Yankees with nearly a $1.5 million signing bonus.

In JUCO ball, Breaux worked as both a catcher and a reliever and was able to showcase great power and velocity. As a hitter, Breaux hit 37 home runs over 2 seasons and as a pitcher he did clock in with a 100 MPH fastball. Though, the Yankees announced Breaux as a catcher and have been developing him that way.

In his post-draft professional season in 2018, the Yankees quickly moved Breaux on from a first assignment to the Yankees East (Gulf Coast League, Rookie) after just 3 games. He would then play his next 27 games and finish out the season with the Staten Island Yankees (New-York/Penn, Short Season) where he would hit well with a .280/295/.370 but show a lack of power (9 doubles, 0 HR’s).

For 2019, the Yankees challenged Breaux, with a move up to the Charleston RiverDogs (South Atlantic, Class A) where he improved on offense with a .271/.324/.518 triple-slash alongside 13 Home Runs (though 10 doubles) over 51 games in the first half of the season. However, he would miss the second half of the season with elbow problems that stemmed back to his JUCO days.

Breaux is one of few minor league players with 2020 stats as he played 5 games in the independent Constellation Energy League, hitting to a .250/.333/.438 triple-slash with 1 HR. This league was developed to help Texas-based minor leaguers the ability to play some ball during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a hitter, Breaux very much holds a similar profile to Gary Sanchez. He has an aggressive approach that takes advantage of his above-average bat speed and strength, but has some notable flaws. While he can provide Home Run pop of 35+ a year, he also swings and misses a lot (80 K’s over 81 professional games) and he relies on perfect contact.

As a fielder, Breaux also very much holds a similar profile to Gary Sanchez. While he has a great arm, his slower pop time and transfer, combined with inconsistent accuracy have lead him to playing more DH than catcher during his professional career. With no speed to speak of, it’s catcher, first base, or bust for Breaux.

What Will the Future Hold?

With an assignment to the Tampa Tarpons (Class Low-A) already on the books for 2021, Breaux needs to find his way to playing behind the plate if he wants to have a shot at the MLB. His offensive profile only plays up because he is a catcher, but as the Yankees have seen with Gary Sanchez it isn’t necessarily what will draw the admiration of fans. A full season at Tampa should be expected to get Breaux reps as a catcher, work on his approach at the plate, and improve his defense. How he is ranked at #19 is odd to me because he has less value than many of the Yankees other catchers in their system.

With an MLB ETA of 2023, I would say it’s aggressive but not unreasonable. If Breaux is able to improve on his offensive abilities and stick behind the plate, he does become a token that a team could use. A future with the Yankees may not be coming, but to me, Breaux seems to be a token Rule-5 draft selection.

#Top30Prospects

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