Yankees Top 30 Prospects for 2021: Ryder Green (OF, #25)
Our first returner from last years Top-30 prospect list, the 20 year-old (21 in May) outfielder Ryder Green, seems to have an uphill battle in the Yankees organization going forward. He has good to great tools across the board, but the vast outfield depth at the low levels and the removal of many outfield spots in the minor leagues from 2019 to 2021 could prove costly to his value. I’m stuck on how to truly feel about Green.
RYDER GREEN, OF (#25):
Age/Date of Birth: 20 Years Old (05/05/2000)
Most Recent Team(s) (Level and Year): Pulaski Yankees (Rookie League, 2019)
Most Recent Yearly Statistics (2019): .262/.343/.444 (.787 OPS), 8 HR, 28 RBIs, 25 Walks, 67 Strikeouts (61 Games, 225 At-Bats)
Height/Weight: 6’0”/200 Pounds
Acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2018 MLB First Year Player Draft by the New York Yankees with the 97th overall pick.
MLB ETA: 2023
RYDER GREEN SCOUTING GRADES (20-80 SCALE):
What to Know:
Drafted out of Karns High Schools (Knoxville, TN) with 3rd round pick, the New York Yankees sent Ryder Green nearly double his slot value with a $997,500 signing bonus that kept the budding outfielder from a commitment to Vanderbilt. Previously on some national youth USA Baseball teams (U15), Green was a known commodity coming into the 2018 draft and was expected to fall into the 3rd round.
Coming off his senior high school season, Green was assigned to professional ball with the Yankees East (Gulf Coast League, Rookie) to finish the year. Over the 26 games he played, some of his tools stood out but Green did not immediately show impact with his statistics (not that this should’ve been expected). While his baseball IQ, raw power, bat speed, and running speed all played favorably, Green had a little too overzealous bat and swing which led to a 37% strikeout rate. This did drop the #16 post-draft prospect to #22 at the seasons end.
His second season (2019) was much improved as the Yankees promoted him up to the Pulaski Yankees (Appalachian League, Rookie) where he spent the whole season. He saw improvements to his strikeout rate, going down to 26.8% over his 61 game season which also brought improvements across the board. This was said to be helped from a new fly-ball based approach at the plate which helped to showcase his raw power without needing to sell-out with each swing. Large improvements were being made, then the 2020 season was missed.
As a hitter, Ryder Green has above average tools and the IQ to take advantage of them and adjust his game to fix them. While he does tend to struggle occasionally with making consistent contact, the stand-out tool for him is his raw power potential that was getting tapped into in 2019. His high bat-speed is another hard to teach attribute, though the hope is that more contact comes with continued patience at the plate.
In the field, Ryder Green also has a very promising game with good speed and a plus arm. The Yankees moved him to a corner outfield role in 2019, which is where many believe his game plays best as he flashes an arm that can reach throwing speeds of 93 MPH. As he continues to move up the ranks, right field seems more and more likely as his position to hold.
What Will the Future Hold?
After a 2019 season in Rookie ball, and the elimination of his previous highest minor league team, Ryder Green is likely looking between the Tampa Tarpons (Southeast League, Low A) and the GCL Yankees (Gulf Coast League, Rookie). While I tend to be more favorable to testing prospects after the 2020 “training” season, with Green I’d prefer him to start the year with the GCL Yankees. The Yankees have a lot of prospect outfielders who spent 2019 with the Tampa Tarpons (Class A-Advanced) and/or now gone Charleston RiverDogs (Class A), Staten Island Yankees (Short Season Class A), and Pulaski Yankees (Rookie) and now have just 2 teams to place these guys. Thus, with Green not going above rookie ball in the past, I think that’d be his best fit to start 2021.
As a player, I agree with the scouts that Ryder Green’s most likely future is as a corner outfielder, but one who is likely to lose favor with the organization for no fault of his own. The Yankees have extreme OF prospect depth at the low levels (and they bring in more each year), which means Green will need to prove his worth with some notable adjustments and/or advancements this year to justify his spot for his long-term future with this franchise. Still just 20 years old (21 in May), he projects to be a fine OF who could crack into the MLB, but I’d bet against an MLB ETA in 2023.