In my last post, I discussed 4 high-rated talents, Matt Purke, Donovan Tate, Jacob Turner, and Luke Bailey, that could fall to #29 due to signability or health issues. While Bailey (#96 on the BA board) has not been rated as highly on draft boards as the other 3 guys, Purke (#10), Tate (#3), and Turner (#5) would all be long gone before the Yankees’ pick if signability were not a factor. Here are some guys who based on their position on draft boards (not taking signability into account) could be available at #29, and I wouldn’t mind seeing the Yankees go after if a top talent does not fall to #29. 5 possible guys, after the jump
Tony Sanchez, C, Boston College: Sanchez, who comes in at 32 on the BA list, put up a solid .355 average with 14 homers for BC this season. He has no exceptional tool, but he a good defensive catcher who should stay at the position, with hittability and some power potential. He was the Yankees’ projected first rounder by Andy Seiler in his most recent mock draft
. Sanchez won’t be a very high ceiling pick, but he is a high-floor guy at a premium position, and you can’t have enough catchers in a system. He is the type of guy who could be overdrafted by another team. 2 other interesting things about Sanchez: he caught all 25 innings in the epic Texas-BC regionals game, and he is the nephew of SJ44, one of the few intelligent commenters on Lohud. While the Yankees have plenty of young catchers in Cervelli, Romine, and Montero, Sanchez would probably be the best all-around catching prospect of the 4. Not a sexy pick, but definitely a signable one that could allow the Yanks to spend big in later rounds.
Tyler Skaggs, lhp, Santa Monica HS: Skaggs, #26 on the BA list, is a projectable high school lefty who draws Barry Zito comparisons because of his low-90′s fastball (touches 92) and plus curveball. While he doesn’t have the velocity of the other 1st-round high school pitchers, his curveball is probably the best in the high school class. His change is a work in progress, which is often the case for high school pitchers. At 6’5″ 180, he has a chance to add some velocity as he puts on muscle. I’m not sure he falls to 29, but I would happily add him to the Yankees’ system.
Matt Davidson, 3b, Yucaipa HS: Davidson, 42 on the BA list, is probably the 2nd best high school power bat behind Bobby Borchering (who has no chance of falling that low). Davidson has plus power potential and good hitting ability, but may not stay at 3rd base, which is causing his stock to drop. He was a definite first-round guy as of a few months ago. His value lies mostly in his bat, so he might be an overdraft at #29, but I wouldn’t mind taking a shot on a guy with plus power who can hit, especially if he could play in the corner outfield, since 1st and 3rd are occupied for the next million years.
Andrew Oliver, lhp, Oklahoma State: Raven Hawk trailer Oliver, 21 on the BA list, has dropped somewhat due to inconsistent performance this season (5-6 with a 5.30 ERA). He was great in 2008, going 7-2 with a 2.20 ERA. While Oliver is most famous for winning a lawsuit against the NCAA, he also has great stuff, including a fastball that touches 97 with very good movement, and a plus changeup. While he doesn’t have a breaking pitch that is even average at this point, two plus pitches are hard to ignore, especially from a lefty. The Yankees have been good at teaching curveballs to their prospects, so maybe they can work with Oliver on his. A lefty with his velocity could be drafted early, though his perfomance hasn’t warranted a high draft pick. He could be suffering from Ian Kennedy-esque draftitis, leading to a subpar junior season.
Slade Heathcott, OF/lhp, Texas HS: Heathcott, 72 on the BA list, might seem like an overdraft based on his ranking. However, looking at his scouting report on mlb.com, it’s hard not to be impressed. As an outfielder (where most scouts project him best), he projects to have 5 potentially plus tools, a scouting profile matched perhaps only by Donavan Tate. He has also reached 95 from the mound. So why is Heathcott ranked #77? Heathcott tore his ACL playing football this season, and while he was able to play this spring in a knee brace, there are questions of whether this could hurt his speed (which was still above-average in the brace) in the long-term. Also, there are unspecified character questions about Heathcott which some teams are shying away from. His parents have had their issues, but I have not heard what particular problems Slade has had. Keith Law recently projected Heathcott as the Yankees’ pick at #29, and there are several other teams who may have a 1st-round grade on him as well, despite all his problems. Heathcott is the type of premium athlete with baseball skills that rarely falls to the Yankees, and I would love to see them take a shot at him.
James Paxton, lhp, Kentucky: Paxton, 37 on the BA list, is very similar to Oliver, a college lefty with big-time stuff who has had a subpar junior year. He was 4-2 with a 2.92 ERA last season, but his ERA is over 5 this year. Paxton has a plus fastball that has touched 98 in the past with good movement, and a good slider. His control is inconsistent and his changeup needs work, leading some to project him as a bullpen arm in the future. He is a Scott Boras client, which combined with his mediocre performance this season could cause him to drop past where his level of talent would place him. It’s possible that he could fall into the 2nd round or later if his bonus demands are high, but he has a first-round arm.
My ranking of these guys would be Heathcott, Skaggs, Sanchez, Oliver, Paxton. Thoughts? I will have several other posts about intriguing draft prospects from now until the draft, so stay tuned. I would also be very interested in Tanner Scheppers should he fall to 29, as EJ mentions in his most recent post.
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