Last Updated on November 13, 2023 at 8:59 am by John Allen
A young Yankees prospect made a name for himself at this year’s Arizona Fall League. Caleb Durbin attracted attention across the baseball world with an astute showcase of his speed and skills. For the first time in three decades, fans found someone really threatening the record of 24 stolen bases set by Rick Holifield in 1994.
Caleb Durbin pushed ahead with immense speed during Mesa’s 7-3 victory over Salt River at Sloan Park that saw him stealing three bases. With this, he joined a select group as the fourth player in AFL history to accumulate 20 stolen bases in a single season. He repeated this for the first time since 2008.
Two days later, the Yankees rookie smashed his third home run in the AFL and finished the league with 21 stolen bases. His 2023 season had 57 stolen bases.
Caleb Durbin’s rise at Yankees farm
Flashing speed and hitting prowess, the 23-year-old Yankees infield prospect shined in 2023 with his performance across multiple levels of the minor leagues. Splitting time between High-A Hudson Valley and Double-A Somerset this past season, Caleb Durbin posted an impressive .304 batting average and .395 on-base percentage while compiling 36 stolen bases.
His combined .427 slugging percentage and 132 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) underscore Caleb Durbin’s potential at the plate. Capable of getting on base frequently, the young infielder also showcased dynamism on the basepaths with his 36 swipes. His breakthrough campaign has positioned him as a prospect on the rise within the Yankees farm system as Caleb Durbin aims to keep climbing the organizational ladder.
Caleb Durbin, selected in the 14th round of the 2021 draft from Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.), is aiming to cap off a remarkable first year with the Yankees organization. Acquired in a trade on December 28 that involved sending left-hander Lucas Luetge to Atlanta, Durbin has wasted no time in making an impact, both literally and figuratively.
Benefiting from the disruption caused by Caleb Durbin’s base-stealing antics was another promising Yankees prospect, Benjamin Cowles. Both Caleb Durbin and Cowles had been teammates at High-A Hudson Valley for the initial part of the season. Facing Darius Vines, who had made four appearances in the big leagues with the Braves during the year, Cowles eagerly attacked a fastball and sent it sailing into the left-center field, marking his fourth home run of the season.
These two infielders have established an impressive partnership during their time with the Solar Sox, exemplified by back-to-back home runs they hit on October 16. Additionally, they rank second (Cowles) and third (Durbin) on the team in slugging percentage.
Packs more power than his his 5’6″, 185-pound frame
During his stints with Hudson Valley and Double-A Somerset, Caleb Durbin successfully swiped 36 bases across 69 games. This achievement places him among the select group of just four Yankees prospects who reached this level of stolen bases in 2023. Although a significant right ankle sprain sidelined him for two months during the summer, it provided Caleb Durbin with the ideal opportunity to gain more experience in the Fall League.
Yet, despite the recognition he’s received for his base-stealing skills, the most astonishing statistic from the 5-foot-6 Caleb Durbin’s regular season performance wasn’t related to his stolen bases. Throughout 291 plate appearances, 74.6 percent of which came against more experienced pitchers, he struck out merely 18 times, resulting in an incredibly low 6.2 percent strikeout rate.
A perceptive base stealer understands that getting on base is the essential first step, and in this regard, Caleb Durbin has been outstanding during his Arizona campaign. For the Illinois native, the past year has been a whirlwind, marked by achieving Yankees Organization All-Star recognition and now aiming to culminate 2023 with one more successful addition to his record.
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