Prospect Spotlight

2018 Draft: Day two recap

And day two of the 2018 MLB draft is in the books. You find my recap of the Yankees first and second round picks.  Yesterday covered rounds 3-10 and the Yankees took two outfielders and eight pitchers. I’ll recap each selection, give overall thoughts on day two, and then preview day three.

Round 3: Ryder Green, OF Karns High School, Tennessee. In addition to having an awesome baseball name, Green is known for his prodigious power. Along with second rounder Josh BRO, sorry, I mean Breaux, the Yankees doubled down on huge right-handed power. Fun little tidbit, Green is the first Yankee player born in the 21st century drafted by the Yankees. Green was ranked 82nd overall by MLB Pipeline who had the following to say about him:

Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 55 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45

A standout on USA Baseball’s gold medal-winning 15-and-under team in 2015, Green has played for three high schools in Knoxville, Tenn., in four years. He spent his first two seasons at Hardin Valley, transferred to Knoxville Christian in 2017, then shifted to Karns for his senior season. His plus raw power could thrust him into the top two or three rounds, though he’ll have to be signed away from a Vanderbilt commitment.

A batting-practice standout on the showcase circuit, Green has physical strength and plenty of bat speed from the right side of the plate. He has had some swing-and-miss issues in the past but is making more consistent contact this spring. That bodes well for his ability to fully tap into his power potential, which ranks among the best in the 2018 high school crop.

Green is more than just a hitter, however. He’s an average runner out of the batter’s box and quicker once he gets going. He’ll have to move from center to right field at the next level and has the arm for it, as he has been clocked up to 93 mph and flashed a hard curveball on the mound.

Here also is some video on Green:

Round 4: Frank German, RHP U North Florida. German was the first pitcher taken by the Yankees in this draft. He was ranked 191st overall by MLB Pipeline, and this is what they said about him in their scouting report:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45

North Florida has never had a pitcher taken in the top five rounds of the Draft, with only outfielders Todd Dunn and Donnie Dewees going that early. German, who began the year as the Ospreys’ Tuesday starter but worked his way to being their Friday night ace en route to being a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist, has the chance to become the first.

German has a solid three-pitch mix that points to a future as a starting pitcher at the next level. He’ll throw his fastball in the 90-94 mph range and maintains his velocity, able to reach back for that 94 late in starts when he needs it. His breaking ball is close to a 12-to-6 curve with late and sharp break to it and he throws an effective mid-80s circle change that has the bottom fall out of it. He commands all three pitches well and has thrown a lot more strikes, while missing more bats, this year compared to his sophomore season.

German has a limited ceiling, that of a No. 4 or 5 starter. But his performance in his Draft season has had more than GSA voters take notice, giving him a good chance to become the first North Florida pitcher to go in the top six rounds since the Tigers took Tyler Stohr in 2008.

Mandy Bell of MLB.com has a detailed report on German, and his coach said that German “grew into his body…The spin rate that all these guys are talking about now, he’s got that. I talk to other college coaches, and they say that players just can’t follow the baseball.”

MLB also has some video of German that you can view below:

Round 5: Brandon Lockridge, CF Troy University. Lockridge is a speedster who stole 25 out of 27 bases successfully this past season. With his speed, he profiles well in center field and the hope is that he can hit enough to move up the minor league ladder. He also played infield in college and it will be interesting to see if the Yankees try to move him around in the field.

Round 6: Rodney Hutchison, RHP UNC. Hutchison is a big dude at 6’ 5” and 225 lbs. He fits the Yankees profile both as a large pitcher and someone who performed well in the Cape Cod League. In that league last summer, he pitched to a 0.60 ERA in 30 innings. He also likes to mess with hitters’ timing by varying up his delivery which is always fun (see below)

Round 7: Daniel Bies, RHP Gonzaga University. Bies is even bigger than Hutchison, showing up at 6’ 8” 245 lbs. The Yankees really love their large baseball players – Jordan Montgomery, CC Sabathia, Dellin Betances, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton are all 6’ 6” or taller – and Bies fits right in. He had a great K/BB ratio of 124/25 this past season which shows he has control which is difficult in pitchers his size. You can see the downhill plane he generates and easy motion here:

Round 8: Connor Van Hoose, RHP Bucknell University. Van Hoose is the first player from Bucknell taken by the Yankees in the draft. At 6’ 1” and 195 lbs, I could see the Yankees asking Van Hoose to put on some muscle and get him on their velocity improvement program that has worked wonders for pitchers like Chance Adams and Jordan Montgomery.

Round 9: Mick Vorhof, RHP Grand Canyon University. The Yankees likely discovered Vorhof while scouting his college teammate, Jake Wong. Vorhof projects as a reliever who struckout 48 in 38 innings with just 3 walks this past season.

Round 10: Josh Maciejewski, LHP UNC Charlotte. Maciejewski is the first lefty pitcher taken by the Yankees this year. His numbers improved big time this past season, and he more than doubled his K/BB ratio from 1.9 to 4.2

Day Two Summary

After taking two catchers on day one, the Yankees loaded up on pitchers on day two, taking six total compared to just two position players. For more details on these players, including many quotes from coaches, I definitely recommend the Mandy Bell piece. Ryder Green is easily the best prospect of this group, and he combines huge power with good athleticism. If he can make consistent contact, he can be a special player because he has all the other tools. On the pitching side, Rodney Hutchison is very intriguing because of his size and ability to change his motion from pitch to pitch. As expected, the Yankees loaded up on college seniors in rounds 7-10 to save bonus pool money.

These players have very little leverage, so they usually sign for underslot bonuses. You can then use these savings to offer more to players selected on day three of the draft.

Day Three Preview

Day three is a lot more fun than day two because many high upside high schoolers with signability risks will be taken. According to Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs, the Yankees likely saves some bonus pool money on day one and day two of the draft, so they can use those savings to entire hard to sign high schoolers that they take on day three.

You can contact Rohan on Twitter @rohanarcot20

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