Last week we took an early look at who the various mock drafts have the Yankees selecting in the draft next month. In that round-up, there were two pitchers mocked to the Yankees on and third basemen. We’re going to do the same exercise today with some updated mock drafts, and the first thing you are going to notice is that all outlets have the Yankees selecting a third basemen. Let’s get to the mock picks:
Over at FanGraphs, Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel provide some of the best draft and minors content around. Last week, they published their second mock draft, and they have the Yankees selecting Tyler Callihan, 3B Providence HS. In their write-up they say:
The Yankees are tied to Misner and Lugo, and figure to look for prospects with tools big enough to play a role for them in the big leagues. Some think Callihan could be a 60 hit/power third baseman and New York cares less about age for prep hitters than other clubs (Callihan is 19.0 on draft day, the same as Blake Rutherford in 2016).
When you draft a high school player, you look for big tools, and Callihan certainly fits the bill. Projecting 60 grade hit and power is huge. A third basemen who can fulfill that potential has the makings of an All-Star. MLB Pipeline projects Callihan for 55 hit and 50 Power, which is less optimistic. They also have some concerns over whether Callihan will stay at third long-term or need to move to 1B/DH. There is certainly some risk with this type of pick, but that is a bat you can dream on.
Last week, Jonathan Mayo had the mock draft, and this week, Jim Callis offered his take. In his mock, he has the Yankees taking Kody Hoese, 3B Tulane. That name might sound familiar to you because we wrote about him last week. Mike Axisa had him penciled to go to the Yankees in his mock last week. Here is what Callis had to say about Hoese and the Yankees general strategy:
New York has scouted Baty heavily and while he won’t last until No. 30, a power-hitting third baseman still could be the choice. Hoese is tied with Bleday for the NCAA Division I lead with 23 homers, while prepster Tyler Callihan (Providence HS, Jacksonville, Fla.) has some similarities to Baty.
The striking thing in there to me is that Callis only mentions third base prospects, and he mentions three different ones. In looking over these mocks, there are several third basemen being selected towards the end of the first round. It seems like the talent in the range the Yankees are picking happens to be third basemen. Remember, unlike the NBA or NFL drafts, you do not draft for need in the MLB draft because prospects are so far away from contributing at the big league level. I wouldn’t read much into the Yankees focus on third basemen other than that seems like the best available talent at that spot.
Over at CBS, Mike Axisa updated his mock draft. Like the FanGraphs guys, Axisa has the Yankees selected Tyler Callihan. Here is his write-up:
The Yankees love big tools and they’re not afraid to take older high schoolers (2016 first rounder Blake Rutherford and 2018 first rounder Anthony Seigler were old for their draft class). Callihan turns 19 three weeks after the draft and he has great bat-to-ball skills and power potential. His defense should allow him to remain at the hot corner as well. It should be noted the Yankees also hold the No. 38 (acquired from the Reds in the Sonny Gray trade) and have a big bonus pool. If I had to put money on a team taking New Jersey righty Jack Leiter in the first round, I’d put it on New York. They can make it work financially.
Interestingly, Axisa thinks Callihan has enough defensive chops to remain at third long-term whereas MLB Pipeline had more concerns. If the Yankees are also confident in the defensive skills, there is a lot to like here. It is also worth pointing out Jack Leiter is named here again. Rumor has it he wants $4 million to sign, and the Yankees are one of the few teams that can make it work if they want.
It is noteworthy to see a few different third base prospects mocked to the Yankees. And both Hoese and Callihan were mentioned as players the Yankees are interested in for all three mocks here. With the draft in just two weeks, we may be starting to see some consensus with teams honing in on guys they are interested in. Again, the interest in third basemen is likely a function of talent availability and not anything to do with positional need. No, the Yankees are not looking to draft a third basemen because Miguel Andujar underwent labrum surgery.
As someone who is more interested in pitching than hitting, I always tend to focus more on the pitchers. Last week I wrote about George Kirby, who Keith Law mocked to the Yankees. In all three mocks looked at this week, Kirby is likely to go far earlier than the Yankees pick which is upsetting. Based on my preliminary research, he seemed like a great prospect, which is why he will be drafted earlier than the Yankees pick.
The real wild card in this draft is Jack Leiter. There are various rumors about how much he wants to sign or which teams he is willing to sign with, but nothing seems confirmed at this point. The Yankees have a great relationship with Al Leiter – remember, he worked for the YES Network for a few years – and if any team has insight into their chances of signing his son, it should be the Yankees. If Leiter is available when the Yankees pick and they choose not to take him, it is probably because the price tag is too high or he is committed on going to college.