Yankees’ Caleb Durbin lights up Arizona Fall League with .347 batting average

New York Yankees prospect Caleb Durbin is raking in the Arizona Fall League, building on a strong 2023 season in Double-A Somerset

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In the Arizona Fall League this year, the New York Yankees may not have dispatched their most highly-touted prospects, but an unranked gem has emerged as a shining star. Second baseman Caleb Durbin is the player in question, and he is making waves with a batting average of .347 and an outstanding 1.104 OPS, all achieved over a three-week span while representing the Mesa Solar Socks.

Who is Caleb Durbin?

New York Yankees prospect Caleb Durbin is raking in the Arizona Fall League, building on a strong 2023 season in Double-A Somerse

Durbin, who is just 23 years old, came into the Yankees organization through a trade with the Braves last winter. Standing at a mere 5-foot-6, he may not be the tallest player on the field, but his performance speaks volumes. This young infielder has lived up to the reputation he earned during his time at Washington University in St. Louis, where he was known for one thing: hitting.

In the 2023 season, Durbin, a 14th-round pick in 2021, posted impressive statistics, slashing .304/.395/.427 in a combined 69 games between High-A Hudson Valley and Double-A Somerset. Even a two-month hiatus during the summer didn’t deter him from finishing his first season in the Yankees’ system on a high note, concluding with a .338 batting average and a .900 OPS over the final 18 games with the Somerset Patriots following his return from the injured list.

Speaking about his current state, Durbin expressed, “I feel great. I think the biggest thing is I feel really healthy right now. I had some bumps throughout the season that I had to battle through, but overall I feel [like] I got my rhythm down, and I’m just glad to be here.”

Although the Yankees boast a plethora of highly-regarded infield prospects throughout their farm system and at the big-league level, Durbin’s unique skill set in making consistent contact, maintaining a remarkably low strikeout rate (just 4.6 percent with Double-A Somerset in 2023), and displaying speed make him a name to watch for as a long-term solution, especially in a franchise that has leaned heavily on home runs, lacking balance in their lineup for years.

Durbin appears to be on the path to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre next season, and while he hasn’t secured a spot on the 40-man roster yet, he’s Rule 5 eligible in the upcoming winter. If the Yankees envision him as a valuable asset at the big-league level, his promotions are likely just around the corner.

In terms of his development, Durbin acknowledges the need to work on elevating the baseball more consistently. Improved performance in this aspect of his game could elevate his status as a prospect within the upper echelons of the Yankees’ farm system. He states, “I was hitting the ball well this year, just not getting it in the air enough. That was the biggest thing for me. I’ve had weeks during the season where I was getting air under it and getting those extra-base hits quite a bit. It’s going well now; I’m in that rhythm of getting the ball in the air pretty consistently. That’s the key for me. Doing it not a couple times a week, but doing it two, three, four times a game.”

Durbin is one of seven players from the Yankees participating in the Arizona Fall League, offering a glimmer of hope for a club that has struggled with a 6-13 record. Benjamin Cowles, another 23-year-old infielder from the Yankees’ system, is also making waves in Arizona, boasting a .333 batting average and a .987 OPS in 12 games. Although Cowles spent three games in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at the end of the 2023 season, the bulk of his campaign was in High-A, where he posted a .254 batting average and a .749 OPS in Hudson Valley.

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