Scouting Report: Chris Breen

Breen was moved to the outfield for his bat

The Yankees selected catcher Chris Breen in the 12th round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of Winter Springs High School in Florida. He had a solid debut season with the Gulf Coast League Yankees last year and, despite showing some solid skills behind the plate, was moved to the outfield during Instructs to make better use of his future impact bat.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Chris Breen
Position: Outfield
DOB: March 26, 1994
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 215
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

He hit a solid .274 with seven extra-base hits in 25 games with the Gulf Coast League Yankees in his debut season last year.

"I feel like overall I had a pretty good start to my professional career," he said. "I definitely learned a lot in the sense how to carry myself, how to prepare myself, and really more about being a professional than actually learning new stuff.

"There was a lot of all-around learning but a lot more about learning to be a professional; learning how to carry yourself, learning how to keep your body in the best shape possible, staying rested, and whatnot."

Growing up in Florida and having already faced some of the best amateur competition around allowed Breen to seamlessly transition into the professional ranks and not get over-matched right out of the gate.

"I felt pretty good about [hitting] the pitching," he said. "I was lucky enough to play against some real good competition in high school and throughout the summers with travel ball.

"It was definitely an adjustment getting used to seeing as many quality pitchers as you did. Every team had -- their whole staff was good. It was less of an adjustment on that because I was fortunate enough to play against so many good players in high school."

Having no qualms whatsoever at the plate and really in any of the physical aspects of the game itself, Breen says the biggest adjustment has come on how to prepare one's self mentally for playing every day.

"More or less it was the mental aspect, remembering that you do this everyday and it doesn't matter how tired you are or anything like that, just knowing that there's going to be tomorrow and tomorrow is a new day so you have to be prepared no matter how well or how bad you do," he admitted.

If there was a physical adjustment to be made it was on the catching side of things, mostly how much extra work there was going on behind the scenes helping out in bullpen sessions, getting extra reps learning how to set up properly, block balls, and things of that nature.

Built like he is and having some intriguing offensive potential, the Yankees have already begun mulling over the idea of saving Breen's bat by moving him to the outfield, almost akin to what the Washington Nationals did with Bryce Harper when he was first drafted.

"As far as I know I'm a full-time outfielder now," he said. "[Farm director Pat Roessler] talked to me at the end of the GCL season and let me know that they were going to move me to the outfield during Instructs.

"I'm really fine with that, it just gives me the chance to swing the bat more and have some legs under me when I get up there to hit. I'm actually all for it.

"He explained to me that they drafted me really for my bat so they want to get the most out of that. He said 'we want to move you to the outfield' and I said 'whatever you need me to do'. I like the challenge of making an adjustment."

It remains to be seen if Breen's outfield shift is a permanent one or not. Internally the Yankees still haven't decided one way or the other. Breen himself is fine with whichever decision is made but in the mean time he's all about preparing himself better for the long haul as primarily an offensive player.

"I'm really going to work on just getting into the best possible shape that I can, continue to add some weight and get into the best physical shape I can coming into [Spring Training] camp," he said. "I'll work on my footwork, some speed, general stuff in the outfield, and continue to hit and get better as a hitter."

He looked demonstratively better offensively during Instructs and more of an impact hitter when he wasn't catching, and he really likes how his game is starting to come along already.

"I feel like I've done pretty well so far. I still have a lot to learn and I have a lot of room for improvement, but I feel like I had a solid first year and I just look to build upon that, get better every single year whatever level I'm at," he concluded.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2012 GCL Yankees .274 84 6 0 7 12 0 3 17 .308 .369


Batting and Power. Breen is strongly built and has great power potential to all fields, especially to the pull side where it has the chance to be quite special. He has shown a willingness to use the entire field when he hits and while he didn't draw too many walks in his debut season last year he does show a propensity for sitting on his pitch. If that patience will ever develop into a designed plan to draw more walks remains a wait and see aspect of his game for now, but with good strike zone discipline already he appears to have the chance to be a high average hitter with above average to plus power potential if things break right.

Base Running and Speed. Breen is a slugger, not a runner. While he has some decent wheels for a guy his size, one who shouldn't hurt his teams on the base paths, he won't steal too many bases and his running impact projects to be minimal.

Defense. Breen certainly did not look overwhelmed in his 23 games at catcher last year. He showed a solid receiving base, a strong arm, and some real leadership abilities behind the plate, especially for a teenager, making his quick move to the outfield a little baffling. How he transitions to the outfield defensively remains to be seen. He surely has the arm strength to play right field but his range is probably quite limited long-term as he continues to fill out.

Projection. Wherever Breen lands defensively he's going to be an offensive-minded something; either at catcher, a corner outfield spot, or potentially even first base down the road. The good news is the offensive potential is there to play at any position. The long-term plus power is evident and the hitting could be real good too, but in order for the latter to fully develop he's going to have to learn to take a few more pitches and make taking walks more of a priority. His ceiling is that of a heart of the order type big league hitter regardless of position.

ETA. N/A. Breen's ETA can't be remotely calculated until his position is defined at least in the short-term, and that also affects where he could start the 2013 season. The smart money says he begins the year in the short-season leagues, most likely back in the Gulf Coast League if he's still catching and perhaps Staten Island if he's not.

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