Tag: Draft Preview

2020 Yankees Draft Preview: What you need to know

There’s no baseball to be played (at least not yet), but there is still the league’s amateur draft tomorrow. It’s quite a bit different than prior years, though. Bobby gave a good explanation of this year’s nuances.

I’m no draft expert nor will I pretend to be. Thankfully, we have a number of fine publications that do have a sense of what to expect. I’ve done my best to summarize below below.

The Picks

  • First round: 28th selection
  • Third round: 99th selection
  • Fourth round: 129th selection

The Yankees forfeited their second and fifth round picks for signing Gerrit Cole in the offseason. Remember that? Good times. Anyway, the Yanks have a $3,520,000 pool to spend on these picks. $2,493,000 is allocated for the 28th selection. This year’s draftees won’t receive all of that money up front, though. Each pick will receive $100,000 right away, but the remainder of their bonus will be deferred for two years.

Even though the Yankees have only three picks, don’t expect them to stop there. Undrafted players are capped to $20,000, whereas players taken in the tenth round or later (or undrafted) could receive up to $125,000 without it counting against the draft pool. Bobby noted a bunch of late round successes currently on the Yankees right now, so expect a number of other new players in the system in the coming weeks.

Mock Drafts

I’ll continue updating this list for new mock drafts as they’re released. Spoiler: lots of college pitchers incoming.

Prospect Capsules

Bobby Miller, RHP, LouisvilleVideo

Three of the latest mocks have Miller going to the Yanks, so let’s debrief on him first. He’s a big right hander (six-foot-five, 220 pounds) and sits in the upper nineties with plenty of downward action. Miller also features a slider and changeup, with the former having plus potential while the other looks fringey per most publications.

There is some concern about Miller’s delivery. Longenhagen calls his arm action “long” and “atypical” whereas Law noted his high effort delivery and stiff landing. You can definitely see some of that in the video linked above. Nonetheless, Miller holds his velocity deep into starts with his nontraditional mechanics.

Jared Shuster, LHP, Wake ForestVideo

The first thing every site mentions about Shuster is his velocity uptick this year. Shuster had a pretty rough start to his collegiate career and posted a 6.79 ERA in his first two seasons with Wake Forest. But the southpaw blossomed last summer in the Cape Cod League and returned this spring with a low-to-mid nineties heater that touched 97. He also offers a plus changeup and above-average breaking ball per Kiley McDaniel.

The combination of Shuster’s ascension and a shortened collegiate season resulted in his big board ranking all over the map. Keith Law has him as the draft’s 26th best prospect, whereas MLB Pipeline has him all the way down at 77th. Lastly, Schuster was on an earlier version of BA’s mock draft to the Yankees.

Carson Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe HS (AZ) – Video

Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen writes that Tucker is motivated to sign immediately, even if it means he’ll receive an under slot bonus. Sounds like he’s not going to honor his commitment to the Texas Longhorns. Tucker’s ranked as the Fangraphs’ 56th-best draft prospect and is described as a “Twitchy shortstop with explosive hitting hands who needs a swing overhaul in his lower half”. The 18 year-old Carson is the young brother of Pittsburgh’s Cole Tucker, also a first-rounder from the same high school back in 2014.

Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor University – Video

The Yankees haven’t drafted a collegiate position player in the first round since 2013 (Eric Jagielo), so Loftin would break the mold. Though none of his tools jump off the page, there is one thing he does particularly well: make contact. In three seasons at Baylor (with this year truncated, of course), the right-handed hitter only struck out 7.1 percent of the time.

MLB Pipeline called Loftin “more of a competent than flashy defender” at shortstop. He’s versatile too, having played all around the diamond and in both corner outfield spots. The site pegged him as the draft’s 36th-best prospect.

Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami – Video

Cecconi was included an an earlier Baseball America mock draft, hence the capsule here. Standing six-foot-four and 212 pounds, Cecconi possesses a coveted frame for a starting pitcher. He’s a draft-eligible sophomore who Baseball America says could have gone higher had the season not been cut short due to COVID-19, though that can be said about others. Here’s what BA had to say about its 32nd-best draft prospect:

“At his best he runs his fastball up into the upper 90s with impressive life and has a slider, cutter and changeup that all flash plus. On top of the quality of Cecconi’s pitches, scouts like his frame and strike-throwing ability but believe he gets too much of the plate at times.”

J.T. Ginn, RHP, Mississippi State – Video

Ginn had Tommy John surgery this spring, but as we know with Clarke Schmidt, that hasn’t scared the Yankees away before. The righty was formerly the Dodgers’ first rounder in 2018 out of high school but did not sign.

Despite surgery, Ginn has enticing stuff. He offers a high velocity plus fastball, a wipeout slider, and a developing changeup. That changeup has even flashed plus at times according to MLB Pipeline and Keith Law.

Austin Wells, C, Arizona – Video

The Yankees draft Wells just two years ago out of high school, so there’s clearly some affinity here. He’s a lefty-swinging catcher with lots of power, though there is some uncertainty about his ability to remain behind the plate long-term. Nonetheless, it seems like his power will be able to play at another position should he prove unable to last as a catcher.

There’s quite a bit of skepticism about Wells’ receiving, though one can’t help but wonder if that’s something Tanner Swanson and the organization can fix. On the other hand, arm strength seems to be a problem. Baseball America notes that he has a record of elbow issues dating back to high school while Eric Longenhagen’s brief report states that Wells had shoulder surgery in the past.

Tanner Burns, RHP, Auburn – Video

Unlike other college arms included here, Burns is not a big guy on the mound. He stands six feet and 215 pounds and doesn’t have overwhelming stuff, but has a pretty high baseline per Baseball America. Wells can dial it up to 97, though Baseball America says he sits in the 92-94 range. He’s got above-average secondaries and good command as well. One drawback: shoulder soreness during his sophomore campaign. That, in combination with his small size, has raised durability concerns.

MLB Pipeline notes that some scouts have likened him to ex-Yankee Sonny Gray based on frame. One other Yankees connection: the team picked him with its 37th round selection in 2017.

Recent Draft History

If the above mock drafts tell us anything, it’s that the Yankees’ recent draft history isn’t particularly indicative of what’s to come on Wednesday. The team has taken prep bats in each of the last two years with its first round pick: prep shortstop Anthony Volpe last summer and backstop Anthony Seigler a year prior.

Instead of a high schooler, a college arm seems all but certain to join the system. The Yankees have taken a couple of collegiate arms recently in Schmidt (2017) and James Kaprielian (2015). Before that, the Yankees hadn’t taken a college pitcher since the they went on a run of Ian Kennedy (2006), Joba Chamberlain (2006), Andrew Brackman (2007), and Jeremy Bleich (2008). Joba and Bleich were supplemental first rounders for what it’s worth.

Jack Leiter and the tantalizing arm of the 2019 draft

When the Yankees are on the clock at No. 30 tonight, there will likely be a familiar name on the board: Jack Leiter.

Jack is, as you may have guessed, the son of Al Leiter, the former Yankees pitcher and broadcaster. Al literally stepped away from the YES booth this year in order to watch all of Jack’s games.

But Jack is more than just a famous baseball prodigy; He’s a prospect in his own right. Though on the older side (19) for his graduating class, he’s one of the top prep pitchers going, putting up dominant numbers at nearby Delbarton (N.J.).

Leiter, a right-hander unlike his southpaw father, has a mid-90s fastball and potential plus offspeed offerings. MLB.com has him as the No. 33 prospect in this draft while Baseball America ranked him No. 21 (subs req). His 6-foot-0 frame is one of the few drawbacks to drafting Jack.

The main hangup, though, is signability. Leiter is committed to Vanderbilt, the university that has produced such pitching talents like David Price, Walker Buehler, Mike Minor, Sonny Gray and Kyle Wright. His commitment to Vandy seems more set in stone than most prospects’ college choices: Teams seem genuinely unsure if he would sign.

And that’s a dilemma for the Yankees. The Bombers don’t have a huge pool for the draft at $7,455,300, though it’s higher than usual thanks to the No. 38 selection acquired in the deal for Gray. That helps if you want to take a risk on a larger-bonus player, but the Yankees can’t put their comparatively unlimited checkbook to use in leverage against other teams. Derek had a good rundown of New York’s draft setup this morning.

That’s not to say this might not be worth it for New York. Leiter is a local product and could be more amenable to signing with one of his dad’s former employers. In his mock draft, Keith Law wrote that rumors have it that Leiter would only sign with the Yankees or Mets.

Still, there’s a reason that despite his lofty position on draft boards, he’s not slated to go in most 1st-round mock drafts, with some having Delbarton teammate Anthony Volpe going to the Bombers instead. Fangraphs called him unsignable in their 2019 draft board. Only 2080 Baseball has Leiter going to the Yankees while MLB Pipeline has him going to the D-backs at No. 34.

The Yankees have been burned in the past in the first round by trying to woo an unsignable prep pitcher, namely with Mark Prior and Gerrit Cole. Both stood firm in their commitments and ended up going at the top of the draft three years later. That was also a time when the Bombers could flex their checkbook in a more unchecked manner, yet it still didn’t make the difference.

Of course, the Yankees would receive a compensation pick if they failed to sign someone at No. 30 overall. Yet, with a constrained bonus pool, a team needs to have a strategy going into the draft with a good idea of signability. If you shape your draft around using much of your bonus pool for one player and that player doesn’t sign, you’ve missed out on multiple players, not just one.

The younger Leiter will likely go unselected in the first round of the draft with the Yankees choosing a polished and signable bat. In three years, if all goes as planned, he’ll be well outside of the Bombers’ range. That’s just the way it goes.

2019 Yankees Draft Preview: What you need to know

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A new wave of prospects will take the first step to become a part of the Yankees farm system tonight. MLB’s amateur draft gets underway tonight at 7pm on MLB Network. The draft’s first two rounds will be completed tonight before the remainder is wrapped up on Tuesday and Wednesday. Haven’t a clue who the Bombers will draft? Me neither. That’s why I put together a nuts and bolts Yankees draft preview based on what the most respected publications opine.

Below, you’ll find what selections the Yankees have, a number of mock drafts (that I will update this morning as the final ones come in), one paragraph prospect summaries, and the organization’s recent draft history. Without further ado:

The Picks

  • First Round: 30th Selection
  • Competitive Balance Round A: 38th Selection (via Sonny Gray trade with Cincinnati)
  • Second Round: 67th Selection
  • Third Round: 105th Selection
  • Fourth Round: 135th Selection
  • Fifth through 40th Rounds: every 30th selection thereafter

The Yankees have a bonus pool of $7,455,300 to spend on picks within the first ten rounds. Each pick in the first ten rounds is assigned a specific value, but teams can (and do) go over and under slot based on leverage and signability.

Teams can spend up to five percent more than their pool, but there is a tax in that instance. Go above five percent, and the team forfeits next year’s first round pick.

Mock Drafts

  • CBS Sports (Mike Axisa!)
    • 30th: Tyler Callihan, 3B, Providence HS (FL)
  • Fangraphs (Mock 3.0)
    • 30th: Kameron Misner, RF, Missouri
    • 38th: Drey Jameson, RHP, Ball State
    • 67th: Rece Hinds, IF/OF, IMG Academy HS (FL)
  • Fangraphs (Mock 4.0)
    • 30th: Anthony Volpe, SS, Delbarton HS (NJ)
  • MLB Pipeline
    • 30th: Tyler Callihan, 3B, Providence HS (FL)
  • Baseball America (sub. required)
    • 30th: Anthony Volpe, SS, Delbarton HS (NJ)
  • Keith Law (sub. required)
    • 30th: Kody Hoese, 3B, Tulane
  • 2080 Baseball
    • 30th: Jack Leiter, RHP, Delbarton HS (NJ)
    • 38th: John Doxakis, LHP, Texas A&M

Prospect Capsules

Tyler Callihan, 3B, Providence HS (FL) – Video

Callihan will be 19 soon, so he’s older than most prep bats. But, at 6-1 and 200 lbs, he’s built more than most high schoolers. He’s got the raw power that teams covet, and as a left-handed hitter, he could prove to be a great fit in Yankee Stadium. Defensively, it sounds like he should be able to stick at the hot corner. He’s spent a little bit of time as a catcher too, though it remains to be seen if that’s viable long-term. Money talks, but Callihan is committed to the University of South Carolina.

Kameron Misner, RF, Missouri – Video

At 6-4, Misner is an imposing presence in the batter’s box. He’s another lefty swinger linked to the Yankees, and understandably so. He has big raw power, among a number of other impressive tools, including plus speed. He missed a bunch of 2018 with a foot injury and didn’t quite perform up to his raw tools in his junior year, so he could be available for the Yankees.

Drey Jameson, RHP, Ball State Video

Jameson is a skinny 6-0, 165 lbs, but don’t let that frame fool you — he can reach back and hit 98. His slider and changeup have plus potential as well. All that makes for an an exciting combination if he can harness is command. The draft eligible sophomore had a 4.17 BB/9 in his two years at Ball State.

Rece Hinds, IF/OF, IMG Academy (FL) Video

Big raw power is the name of the game for Hinds, though whether or not he can unlock that in game action is another story. His propensity to swing-and-miss could be a problem in the long run. Additionally, while it looks like he profiles best at third base, there’s a chance the 6-4, 215 lb. Hinds will wind up at first base instead. If he hits enough and can develop game power, either corner infield spot should be fine.

Michael Toglia, 1B, UCLA Video

Toglia doesn’t turn 21 until August, making him young for a player who just finished his junior season. He’s a switch-hitter who’s primarily played first base in college, though outfield could be a long-term option. Toglia’s been a good performer over the years at UCLA; he hit 32 dingers in 732 collegiate plate appearances and reached base at a sturdy .410 clip. The downside could be his propensity to strike out. He fanned just over 23 percent of the time this season, a couple ticks up from his sophomore season.

Quick note: Toglia was the Yankees’ pick in the previous version of Baseball America’s mock draft. The latest BA mock has the Yankees taking our next capsule:

Anthony Volpe, SS, Delbarton HS (NJ) – Video

At 5-11 and 180 lbs, Volpe isn’t a big guy that the Yankees seemingly prefer. He’s committed to Vanderbilt, so some persuasion would be necessary in order to get him to forego college. The shortstop has already built a good reputation as a defender, but whether or not he hits enough to be a regular vs. a utility guy remains a question.

Kody Hoese, 3B, Tulane – Video

After the Royals drafted Hoese in the 35th round as a draft-eligible sophomore, the third baseman chose to return to Tulane for one more season. It sure looks like he made the right choice. The right-handed hitter mashed: in 277 plate appearances, he hit .392/.487/.789 with 23 homers and a low 10.8 percent strikeout rate. Even though Tulane isn’t in a major conference, it’s hard to ignore that type of performance.

Jack Leiter, RHP, Delbarton HS (NJ)Video

Al’s son has more than just big name value, though he could prove to be very difficult to sign. Obviously, his family doesn’t need the money and he’s a strong commit to Vanderbilt, where he will be a draft-eligible sophomore in a couple of years. He currently sits in the low 90s, though can reach back for 96, and has a big curveball. Perhap’s his father’s past with the Yankees and the chance to remain near home in the long run could be enough to sway him to pass on Vandy. I suppose big money wouldn’t hurt either, even if the Leiters are already well off.

John Doxakis, LHP, Texas A&M – Video

Doxakis sounds a bit like current Yankee pitcher. A tall 6-4 southpaw who profiles as an innings eater without overwhelming stuff sounds a bit like Jordan Montgomery, right? Although he doesn’t creep past 90 on the radar gun very often, he’s got “pitchability”.

Recent Draft History

The Yankees used to be pretty predictable in the first round. From 2013 through 2016, the Yankees made six picks in the first round. All but one (Eric Jagielo) were out of California. The organization has behaved differently over the past two years, so a kid from the Golden State isn’t a slam dunk at 30. Neither Clarke Schmidt nor Anthony Seigler, the 2017 and 2018 first round picks respectively, were from California.

At one time, the team seemingly avoided prep players in the first round too. Intentional or not, the Yankees skipped out on high schoolers in the first round from 2012 through 2015. Perhaps the Cito Culver and Dante Bichette Jr. picks left a sour taste. Now, the tides have changed. The Yankees have taken high school hitters with their top pick in two of the last three drafts: Blake Rutherford (2016) and the aforementioned Seigler (2018).

So it doesn’t seem like the Yankees have a type we should key in on today. And given the lack of consensus among the various mock drafts, the pick seems fairly up in the air. Intrigue!

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