It’s draft day! One of the nerdiest but also most exciting days of the baseball season. Today is the day when downtrodden franchises get to have some hope for the future and when the juggernauts like the Yankees get to add more depth to their system. The Yankees have done a nice job in the draft the past few years, most notably selecting Aaron Judge in the first round of 2013. They also drafted current Yankees like Greg Bird, Brett Gardner, Jordan Montgomery, and Austin Romine. Just as important, the Yankees have used players they drafted in recent trades. 2016 first round pick Blake Rutherford and 2013 first round pick Ian Clarkin were part of the package that brought back Tommy Kahnle, David Robertson, and Todd Frazier last year. 2015 first rounder James Kaprielian and 2013 18th rounder Dustin Fowler were sent to Oakland for Sonny Gray. Tonight could be one of the more important nights of the 2018 Yankee season.
When and Where to Watch
Coverage begins at 6 p.m. EDT tonight on MLB Network and MLB.com. The actual picks begin at 7 p.m. and can be seen on MLB Network or on the livestream at MLB.com. For those who are unable to watch, you can find a draft tracker at mlb.com as well. The Yankees have the 23rd overall pick in the first round and the 61st overall pick in the second round. Rounds 3-10 are tomorrow and rounds 11-40 take place on Wednesday. You can find more information about the draft logistics here.
There is A TON of information available to help you prepare for tonight’s draft and give you details about who the Yankees may select. Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis at MLB put together a top 200 board that has free scouting reports on all the players. Their scouting reports are an amazing resource, free to all. If 200 players isn’t enough for you, Baseball America has a list of their top 500 prospects with lots of scouting reports as well. Their coverage is behind a paywall. Over at ESPN, Keith Law continuously updates his top 100 draft prospects which Insiders can find here. Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel have you covered at Fangraphs and you can find their big board, free, here. You will find scouting reports, video, and detailed scouting grades for their top 130 draft prospects.
There are also several mock drafts that have been updated either today or in the past few days. Mayo and Callis have their respective mocks up at MLB. Baseball America and Keith Law both updated their mocks this morning (both behind paywall). Fangraphs updated their mock last week and should put up a final mock draft later this afternoon.
We have been light on draft coverage, but our friends at other Yankee blogs have done a thorough job with their draft coverage focusing on the Yankees. Check out the work from Pinstripe Alley and River Ave Blues.
Honestly, no idea. The Yankees do have a few types of strategies that they use in the draft which may be instructive.
1. Southern California prep stars: Scouting Director Damon Oppenheimer is from SoCal and has shown an affinity for high schoolers from the area. In the past, the Yankees have selected players such as Matt Sauer (2017, 2nd round), Blake Rutherford (2016, 1st round), Kyle Holder (2015 1st round), Ian Clarkin (2013, 1st round), and Gerrit Cole (2008, 1st round) that fit this criteria. This year’s draft is light on SoCal talent compared to other years, but here are a few names that fit the bill: Cole Winn RHP and Brice Turang SS.
2. Below slot players: With the current draft system, it can make sense to take a player who you know will sign for below slot and use the savings in later rounds. The Yankees used this strategy last year when they selected Clarke Schmidt in the first round even though he needed Tommy John surgery. They used the savings to sign Matt Sauer, a high-upside high school pitcher, in the second round. This year they could take a player like Grant Lavigne, 1B from New Hampshire, or Adam Hackenberg, C from Virginia.
3. Toolsy Projects: This would be the high-risk high-reward play. Someone along the lines of Andrew Brackman or Aaron Judge. In this draft, that could mean a player like Jordyn Adams who is also a football star or Kumar Rocker who is a big righty high school pitcher from Georgia.
Who will the Yankees take?
Mock drafts are all over the place. Here is a breakdown of where experts think the Yankees may go with their first pick tonight (You can find scouting reports at MLB or Fangraphs):
J. T. Ginn, RHP, Brandon (Mississippi) HS
Ryan Rolison, LHP, Mississippi
Grant Lavigne, 1B, Bedford (N.H.) HS
Noah Naylor, C, St. Joan of Arc Catholic (Mississauga, Ontario) HS
Anthony Seigler, C, Cartersville (GA) HS
They have also been linked to the following additional players lately:
Brice Turang, SS, Santiago (CA) HS
Triston Casas, 1B, American Heritage (FL) HS
Jordyn Adams, CF, Green Hope (NC) HS
Xavier Edwards, 2B/SS, North Broward Prep (FL) HS
Who Should the Yankees take?
My personal favorite player connected to the Yankees is Anthony Seigler. He is an athletic switch-hitting catcher who should be able to stay behind the plate. You never draft for need because of how long it takes prospects to develop, but it is nice that he is a catcher since the Yankees have very little catching depth in the minors. Other than Seigler, I would be thrilled with Brice Turang or Ryan Rolison. Turang was projected way higher coming into the year and is a very high talent player. Rolison is a draft-eligible sophomore who features 4 pitches with further projection.