Last name is pronounced “he-GAH-shi-Oh-kah.” ...Graduated from Edison (Calif.) High School in 2008, where he batted .382 with seven HR and 31 RBI as a senior and earned All-County honors… was selected as the starting catcher for the 2008 Orange County All-Star South team… was the 2006 All-Sunset League “Rookie of the Year.”
Last name is pronounced “he-GAH-shi-Oh-kah.”...Was named the Yankees’ nominee for the 2021 Roberto Clemente Award, his first career nomination…the Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a Major League player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field…an avid supporter of the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, California — which he is a proud alumni of — Higashioka has dedicated a good deal of his free time ensuring that future Major Leaguers in inner-city neighborhoods have an equal opportunity to thrive as those that grew up in less urban environments…in addition to his work with inner-city youth, he is also a devoted supporter of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the families of fallen and severely wounded special operations warriors and children of all medal of honor recipients...Following the 2021 season, was tabbed by the New York Chapter of the BBWAA as the winner of the Ben Epstein/Dan Castellano “Good Guy” Award...In 2021, raffled off his game-used commemorative Memorial Day gear to raise funds for Special Operations Warrior Foundation…the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) provides support to the surviving children of Special Operations personnel who lose their lives in the line-of-duty and provides grants to severely combat-wounded and hospitalized Special Operations personnel and their families…the raffle featured Higashioka’s game-worn custom Memorial Day spikes, full catchers gear and mask, and other specialty game-worn items from the Memorial Day weekend series.
Hit .250 (12-for-48) with 7R, 1 double, 4HR and 10RBI in 16 games with the Yankees…spent the entire season at the Major League level for the first time in his career…all of his 10RBI came in his final eight games...Posted a 1.00 catcher’s ERA in four starts with RHP Gerrit Cole on the mound during the regular season (27.0IP, 7R/3ER), with Cole striking out 34-of-100 batters faced…those four starts were Cole’s final appearances of the season, all coming during September…was the lowest catcher’s ERA behind any pitcher in the Majors this season (min. 25.0IP caught with that pitcher)...Missed 22 games on the 10-day injured list with a right oblique strain from 8/8 (retroactive to 8/6)-9/1...Hit a two-run HR in the second inning to give the Yankees a 5-0 lead in Game 1 on 9/11 vs. Baltimore…was his first HR since a 2HR game on 8/7/19 at Baltimore...From 9/16 through the end of the season (including the playoffs), hit .324 (11-for-34) with 6R, 1 double, 4HR and 10RBI in 10 games... On 9/16 vs. Toronto, hit a two-run HR to CF in the third inning, a solo HR to LF in the sixth and a two-run HR to RF in the seventh…was the first Yankee with a 3HR game since DH Gary Sánchez on 4/7/19 at Baltimore…was the third Yankee in franchise history to hit 3HR in a game as a catcher, joining Bill Dickey on 7/26/39 vs. St. Louis-AL and Mike Stanley on 8/10/95 vs. Cleveland (Game 1)…overall, is the 23rd player in franchise history to hit at least 3HR in a regular season game (32nd time)…is the first Yankee to hit 3HR in a game as the No. 9 hitter and just the sixth to do so in Major League history (first since Minnesota’s Eddie Rosario on 6/13/17 vs. Seattle)…was his second career multi-HR game (also 2HR on 8/7/19 at Baltimore)…all of his 4HR in 2020 came over a four-game span from 9/11 (Game 1) - 9/16…set a career high with 3H and tied his career high with 5RBI (also 8/7/19 at Baltimore)…had seven career home runs entering the game, the fewest by a Yankee going into a 3HR contest in franchise history (previous: Tony Lazzeri had 21 going into his 3HR game on 6/8/27 vs. Chicago-AL)...Started five of the Yankees’ seven postseason games at C, hitting .278 (5-for-18) with 2R, 1HR, 2RBI and 1BB in his first career postseason games…made his postseason debut in AL Wild Card Series Game 1 at Cleveland on 9/29, starting at C and going 1-for-5...Hit a game-tying solo HR in the fifth inning of ALDS Game 1 at Tampa Bay at Petco Park, his first career postseason HR (2-for-4, 2R, 1HR, 1RBI, 1BB)…with his HR from the No. 9 spot and Clint Frazier homering from the No. 8 spot in the lineup, became the first Yankees duo to homer in the No. 8 and 9 spots in the lineup in the same postseason game.
Hit .214 (12-for-56) with 8R, 5 doubles, 3HR and 11RBI in 18 games over three stints with the Yankees (4/12-23, 7/24-8/9, 9/8-29)..made 14 starts at C...Hit doubles in the second and third innings on 8/4 vs. Boston, his first career game with 2XBH..had 4 doubles in 46 career games coming into the day...Collected his first career multi-HR game and set a career high with 5RBI on 8/7 at Baltimore..had never had more than 2RBI in a game entering the night...In 70 games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, hit .278/.348/.581 (67-for-241) with 42R, 13 doubles, 20HR and 56RBI..ranked fifth among Yankees minor leaguers in home runs..hit .350 (14-for-40) with 4HR and 8RBI in 13 games in July...Hit 2HR-including a grand slam-and had 7RBI on 5/5 at Syracuse, going 3-for-4 with 3R..was his second career minor league game with 2HR and 7RBI (also 6/26/16 at Akron w/ Trenton).
Hit .167 (12-for-72) with 6R, 2 doubles, 3HR and 6RBI in 29 games (20 starts at C) over two stints with the Yankees (6/25-7/19 and 7/24-9/30)...Hit solo HR off Price-the first hit and HR of his Major League career-and was 1-for-4 in 7/1 win vs. Boston…snapped an 0-for-22 stretch to begin his career, the longest drought by a Yankee to start his career since RHP Hal Reniff (0-for-25 from 1961-64)…was the first Yankee to homer for his first MLB hit since Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge hit back-to-back HRs in their first PAs on 8/13/16 vs. Tampa Bay…was the first Yankee to homer against Boston for his first MLB hit since Andy Phillips on 9/26/04 at Fenway Park...With solo HRs on 7/1, 7/3 and 7/4, became the second Yankee in franchise history to have his first three Major League hits go for HRs, joining Alfonso Soriano (first 3H were HRs from 9/24/99-4/9/00)…is the first Major Leaguer whose first three Major League hits were HRs since Colorado's Trevor Story in April 2016 (first 4H were HRs)...Threw out a runner trying to steal second in the bottom of the 12th inning to end 8/21 win at Miami...Was on the Yankees' AL Wild Card Game roster, but did not play...In 53 games with the RailRiders, hit .202 (38-for-188) with 16R, 10 doubles, 5HR and 22RBI.
In nine games (5GS at C) over two stints with the Yankees (4/9-5/5, 6/16-18), did not record a hit in 18AB (2R, 2BB)... Made his Major League debut as ninth-inning defensive replacement at C in 4/10 home-opening win vs. Tampa Bay (did not bat)…became the ﬁrst Yankee to make his Major League debut at catcher since Austin Romine on 9/11/11 at Los Angeles-AL... Made his ﬁrst Major League start at C in 4/12 win vs. Tampa Bay, going 0-for-4 with 1R…was behind the plate for LHP Jordan Montgomery's Major League debut that day, making the duo the ﬁrst Yankees battery to each make their ﬁrst Major League starts in the same game since RHP Jorge De Paula and C Michel Hernandez on 9/26/03 vs. Baltimore (Game 2)... In 14 games with Scranton/WB, hit .264 (14-for-53) with 5R, 4 doubles, 2HR and 11RBI…in six postseason games, hit .100 (2-for-20) with 2R, 1 double and 1RBI…missed nearly half the season over three stints on the minor league disabled list…appeared with short-season Single-A Staten Island and Rookie-level Pulaski as part of rehab assignments, combining to hit 7HR with 12RBI in seven games (.524, 11-for-21, 10R, 3 doubles)... Following the season, was tabbed by Baseball America as the Yankees' "Best Defensive Catcher."
Combined with Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to bat .276 (102-for-370) with 55R, 24 doubles, 21HR and 81RBI in 102 games…set career highs in runs, hits, doubles, home runs and RBI and walks (38)…entered the season with just 30HR in 411 career minor league games and his previous single-season career high was 8HR in 2011…caught 30.2% of potential basestealers (29-of-96). Among Yankees farmhands, tied Chris Gittens for the lead in home runs (21) and ranked third in RBI (81). Batted .366 (41-for-112) with 10 doubles, 9HR, 26RBI and a .696 slugging pct. off left-handed pitching…hit .236 (61-for-258) with 14 doubles, 12HR, 55RBI and a .430 slugging pct. off right-handers. Began the season with Trenton, batting .293 (65-for-222) with 31R, 15 doubles, 11HR and 51RBI in 63 games…was named an EL Mid-Season All-Star…was named the Eastern League "Player of the Week" for the period from 6/20-26, hitting .467 (7-for-15) with 6R, 1 double, 4HR and 12RBI in four games…went 3-for-5 with 3R, 1 double, 2HR and 7RBI on 6/26 at Akron. Also played for Scranton/WB, hitting .250 (37-for-148) with 24R, 9 doubles, 10HR and 30RBI in 39 games…was named the International League "Player of the Week" for the period from 6/6-12, batting .545 (12-for-22) with 7R, 4 doubles, 3HR and 13RBI in five games over the span…included was a multi-HR game with 5RBI on 6/10 at Columbus. Combined between Trenton and Scranton/WB to bat .420 (29-for-69) with 21R, 8 doubles, 9HR and 32RBI in 18 games in June. Appeared in seven playoff games for the Governors' Cup-champion RailRiders, batting .250 (6-for-24) with 1R, 2 doubles and 7RBI. Was added to the 40-man roster on 11/4/16.
Combined at Single-A Tampa and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to hit .250 (81-for-324) with 27R, 19 doubles, 2 triples, 5HR and 37RBI in 93 games…threw out 40-for-136 potential base stealers (29.4%). Began the season with Tampa, batting .254 (78-for-307) with 25R, 18 doubles, 2 triples, 5HR and 36RBI in 88 games and was named a FSL Mid-Season All-Star. Was promoted to Scranton/WB on 9/1, batting .176 (3-for-17) with 2R, 1 double and 1RBI in five games. After becoming a free agent in November, re-signed with the Yankees to a minor league contract on 11/18/15.
Split time with the GCL Yankees 1 and Single-A Tampa to bat .224 (11-for-49) with 8R, 4 doubles, 1HR, 3RBI and 7BB in 17 games…caught 6-of-24 (25.0%) potential base stealers. Started the season with the GCL Yankees 1 and hit .217 (5-for-23) with 3R, 1 double, 1RBI and 3BB in eight games. Was transferred to Tampa on 8/5 and batted .231 (6-for-26) with 5R, 3 doubles, 1HR, 2RBI and 4BB in nine games. Following the season, batted .409 (9-for-22) with 4R, 3 doubles, 1HR and 2RBI in six games with the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League.
Appeared in seven games with Double-A Trenton and batted .320 (8-for-25) with 1R, 3 doubles, 1HR and 5RBI…threw out 4-of-16 (25.0%) of potential base stealers.
Combined at Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton to bat .170 (25-for-147) with 14R, 5 doubles, 6HR and 23RBI in 44 games…appeared in 29 games as a catcher and threw out 15-of-34 (44.1%) potential base stealers.
Spent the first half of the season (4/7-6/21) with Single-A Tampa, batting .238 (39-for-164) with 10 doubles, 4HR and 16RBI...appeared in all but two games as catcher (two as DH), throwing out 21-of-60 (35.0%) potential base stealers...was transferred to Single-A Charleston on 6/23 for the remainder of the season, batting .223 (29-for-130) with 6 doubles, 4HR and 13RBI in 36 games.
Played the entire season with Single-A Charleston and batted .225 (72-for-320) with 18 doubles, 6HR and 24RBI in 90 games...hit .192 (41-for-213) prior to the All-Star break, compared to .290 (31-for-107) in the second half...committed just six errors in 479 total chances, catching 27-of-83 potential base stealers (32.5%).
Batted .253 with 11 doubles, 2HR and 32RBI in 60 games with short-season Single-A Staten Island...led all league catchers in games (57), chances (497) and putouts (451) and ranked fifth in caught stealing percentage (25.3, 19-for-75).
Made his professional debut, appearing in 18 games with the GCL Yankees and making 14 starts behind the plate...hit .261 with 1 double, 1HR and 3RBI.