A lightning quick left-handed bat, patient at bats, timely hits and reliable defense at first base have suddenly made former Diamond Jack Mike Ford a productive Yankees regular.
Sure, Luke Voit may return shortly from the injured list, curtailing Ford’s at bats or, worse, sending the Princeton University grad back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. But Ford has made quite a statement that he belongs, and for a much longer run, in ‘The Show.’
Ford hammered two more home runs last night and drove in three runs as the Yankees defeated Seattle, 5-4, in the first game of a three-game series that concludes New York’s last west coast trip of the season.
“I’ve always been confident,” Ford told the Associated Press. “That’s not saying this league isn’t really hard. But I’ve always been confident in my ability to hit. It’s what has gotten me to this point, so you can’t lose that edge.”
Ford hit a two-run home run in a four-run second inning and followed that with a solo shot in the fourth to give the Yanks a 5-3 lead. Ford is hitting .353 with five home runs in his last 12 games, raising his batting average from well below .200 to .227.
“He’s really taking advantage of an opportunity now like so many of our guys have throughout the year,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone.
Ford never takes an at bat off and grinds out every chance at that plate. That approach has lifted his on-base percentage to .324 and his slugging percentage to .505. That translates to a robust .828 OPS. He’s slugged 8 HRs and driven in 14 runs in 97 at bats. On top of his plate success, Ford has done an excellent job defensively at first base, committing just one error in 32 games.
Ford, 27, was not drafted but rather signed as a free agent by the Yankees in 2013 while playing in the Cape Cod League after his junior year at Princeton. His climb up the Yankees chain has been slow but steady. He experienced success at every level, notably hitting four home runs in a Single-A game.
Ford was claimed by Seattle in the Rule 5 Draft after the 2017 season, but Seattle returned him to the Yankees the next spring training. Ford, at that time, spoke with Diamond Nation.com and said he was excited for the opportunity to make the major league roster in Seattle. But Seattle never truly gave the Hun grad and Belle Mead native a chance.
“I try to keep that out of my mind,” he told the NY Post last night. “There are no hard feelings but it’s definitely nice to stick it to them.”
Ford actually went back to work and had an outstanding 2018 season with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He was called up to the big club for the first time on April 18 to replace the injured Greg Bird and backup Voit. When Voit went down twice with his own injuries, Ford got the call and stepped in admirably.
When he was sent back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, Ford forced the Yankees to keep a close eye on him. He ripped 23 home runs and amassed 60 RBI in just 79 games. Ford has, in fact, gotten the concerted attention of American League pitchers during his recent run of major league success.