Back in early April, I wrote a piece looking at who Mike Tauchman was. The timing was unfortunate – he had gone 0-for-3 with three strikeouts the day before the post was published. But look where we are now! So I thought I would do the same for Mike Ford.
Having grown up in Belle Mead, N.J., Mike Ford is a local kid. Perhaps he’s not a kid anymore, as he is 27 years old (his birthday is July 4). He’s also a smart guy – he went to Princeton. Heck, both his parents are doctors: his mother is a specialist in internal medicine (could have a place with the team, truth be told) and his father is a diagnostic radiologist.
In college, in addition to playing first base, he also pitched. In fact, he was named both the Ivy League Player of the Year and the Pitcher of the Year in 2013, becoming the first person in the league’s history to accomplish the feat. However, his college accolades did not do him well in the MLB draft. He went undrafted but was signed by the Yankees in July 2013. Ford was actually selected by the Mariners in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft, but he wasn’t added to their 25-man roster and thus returned to his rightful home.
Ford is an imposing person: he stands six feet tall and weighs 225 pounds. One might even say he’s built tough… With that frame, he surely generates a ton of power. He has socked 23 homers in 79 AAA games this season (294 AB).
Ford also brings with him a great eye. For context, an average walk rate in the majors is around 8.0 percent. While it is a small sample size, he has walked nine times in 48 plate appearances in the majors – an 18.8 percent walk rate. The qualified league leader this year is Mike Trout at 17.9 percent. In the minors, Ford was consistently well above 12 percent. He has chased this year at a 15.6 percent clip, almost half the league average of 28.2 percent. His strikeout rate in the majors is around average at 20.8 percent, but in the minors, it was mainly in the mid-teens.
The man has even averaged a wRC+ in the minors of 140.67! Granted, that is the minors but still not too shabby. Furthermore, Ford is not a pull-only hitter. As seen by the chart below, he goes up the middle a decent amount.
In terms of a scouting report, Ford has been said to have above-average power with a good approach at the plate. He tracks the ball well out of pitchers’ hands and his swing is said to have natural loft. As a lefty, this would play well at Yankee Stadium. He is a rather big guy and will not rely on his speed. As far as fielding, he is about average. However, he was once below-average but has made strides as he has gone through the minors.
With Luke Voit and Edwin Encarnacion likely sidelined for the next month, Ford has an golden opportunity to showcase himself at the major-league level. We already have one Mike who is going off right now. Who knows – maybe Ford can join him and give another Mike out in California a run for the best Mike in the league.