After missing 80-plus games last season with a wrist injury that ultimately required surgery, Ford started this year at Double-A Trenton as if shot out of a cannon, slashing .326/.396/.605 with hits in his first eleven games, before cooling off significantly since then (currently mired in a 2-for-21 slump) and settling at a .250/.351/.453 slash line through April 26. But setting his current slump aside – Ford has shown the ability to make adjustments in prior years – the profile is still encouraging.
Thick-bodied, with a linebacker’s build, Ford has a very strong lower half and core. He generates solid backspin carry to the gaps, stemming from a quiet set up and load, excellent balance throughout the stroke. The swing plane is level with average bat speed, and he keeps the barrel in the zone, while still creating some lift. He shows gap-to-gap doubles pop in BP, and he is showing an increased ability to work the ball to all fields with hard contact, though his in-game over-the-fence pop is mostly to the pull side. He is great at working deep in counts and shows above-average plate discipline (189:183 SO/BB rate as a pro).
At first base, the athleticism is apparent and the soft hands are more than capable of giving you average overall defense, with the range to make the routine plays and to bail out his infielders on occasion. On the base paths he’s a bit of a plodder with well-below-average speed; not threat to steal a bag, but with solid reads and baserunning instincts to avoid being a baseclogger.
He is a fairly polished prospect at this point, with 800-plus plate appearances at the High A and Double-A levels. He’s proven his approach works against advanced pitching (roughly .279 average and .372 on-base percentage across High A/Double-A from 2015-present). If the production at the plate returns, and he remains healthy, the Yankees will be hard-pressed not to push him up to Triple-A Scranton and see what they have. He’s got a moderate-risk floor of a Role 35, up/down first baseman, with the on-base numbers giving him value as a lefty bat off the bench despite not having the true power numbers that you like to see from a corner guy. His ceiling is that of a Role 45 second-division first baseman, good for .270 average and .360-to-.370 on-base percentage, 10 home runs, and his share of doubles while moving between first base and DH.