The MLB Draft will start this Wednesday. Over the next few days, we will profile several players the Yankees have been connected to who they could select with their first pick. You can find mock draft results and brief profiles herehere and here. This profile and others this week will be more detailed. Hopefully the Yankees actually select one of these players! Up today: Slade Cecconi.
Cecconi is a RHP out of Miami. He was drafted out of high school by the Orioles in the 38th round, but stayed firm in his commitment to attend college. Now, he is a draft-eligible sophomore. There are questions over whether Cecconi can be signed this year because he can return to school and have a (hopefully) full season to show teams what he can do, and anytime that drafts him will make sure he is signable before doing so. Cecconi has an ideal pitchers’ build at 6’4” and 220 lbs with a strong fastball-slider combination.
In limited time this season, Cecconi pitched to a 3.80 ERA with 30 K and 7 BB in 21 innings. Cecconi is a clear example of a “stuff over performance” guy, and whoever drafts him will hope they can develop him further since is still only 20 and has tantalizing potential.
MLB Pipeline ranked Cecconi as the 31st best prospect in the draft class and Baseball America has him at 32nd. Meanwhile, Keith Law of The Athletic is lower on Cecconi and has him 49th overall. BA notes “in terms of pure stuff, Cecconi…stacks up with the better starters in the 2020 class.” He has four pitches that all could be plus pitches, but he struggles to consistently put them together. He has good control, but needs to improve his command to reduce hittability. He has some reliever risk if his secondary pitches do not develop. Recent mock drafts have Cecconi going anywhere from 22nd to out of the first round. In their latest mock, BA has Cecconi going to the Yankees, and Kiley McDaniel of ESPN reports the Yankees have been connected to Cecconi recently. Here is video:
Cecconi is a pure upside pick with a lot of risk. He has great stuff which gives him a floor as a solid reliever, but he might very well end up not being able to make it as a starter. Although he has better pure stuff than someone like Bryce Jarvis, the reliever risk makes him less exciting for me. If you’re going to draft a pitcher in the first round, the most important quality for me is ability to stick as a starter because you can find effective relievers anywhere. If the Yankees believe Cecconi can make it in the rotation, he could be a great pick. Plus, he has a great name that we’ll all enjoy saying.