Keith Law, Baseball America, and the community at John Sickels’ Minor League Ball have all checked in recently with mock drafts. The Sickels mock does not take signability into account, so the results are a bit different than you would expect:
29) Matt Hobgood, RHP, California HS
76) Jake Barrett, RHP, Arizona HS
COMMENT: The Yankees director didn’t show up, so I handled this one. I couldn’t believe Hobgood was still on the board at 29, so he was an easy pick to make. In the second round, I went with another lively high school arm with Barrett, a personal favorite. I hope Yankees fans appreciate this draft on their behalf.
Odds are that Hobgood is not around when the Yankees pick, as he is likely to be picked earlier by a team with budgetary concerns. This is ESPN’s scouting report on him:
Hobgood is a big strong kid with a live arm and a sharp breaking ball as well as a baseball-rat mentality that has made him a favorite among area scouts. Hobgood will sit in the low 90s and touch 94 with good downhill plane that should make the heavy pitch hard for hitters to elevate. His curveball is already above-average, one of the best in the country this year, with a very hard, late, downward break like a knuckle-curve. He’ll flash a changeup but doesn’t have feel for the pitch yet. He lands stiffly on his front leg with heavy recoil, but he generates good leverage after a big stride and his arm works well. He’s committed to Cal State Fullerton but should go in the first 50 or 60 picks and isn’t likely to suit up for the Titans.
If Hobgood does happen to fall to the Yankees, there is a pretty good chance that they would snap him up. Signing him is not expected to be a problem, make him a safe pick in a year where the Yankees cannot afford to waste their first rounder.
Law and BA both have the Yankees taking Slade Heathcott. Here is Law’s take:
Heathcott is one of the best tools players in this draft, but his uncertain family life (his father is in jail on drug charges and his mother is out of the picture for similar reasons) and expected price tag had him looking like a second- or third-rounder. Arizona, the Phillies and the Yankees have all scouted him heavily the last three weeks. The Yanks, meanwhile, have shown a lot of interest in Arnett, but I doubt he gets here.
And from BA:
There’s no elite talent with an outlandish price tag for the Yankees to take here, and though they’re linked to a possible big-money deal with Mississippi prep two-way star David Renfroe, I believe they can wait a round or two for that. Another two-way star, Texas high school outfielder Slade Heathcott, has been on fire in the state playoffs and drawing lots of high-level scouts. He was very impressive in front of top Yankees officials and they’re looking at a lot of outfielders, so Heathcott makes sense.
With most recent mocks having the Yankees taking Heathcott or Brett Jackson, it seems that the club is focused on a hitter in the first round. However, if someone like Hobgood, Eric Arnett, or (fingers crossed) Kyle Gibson fell to the Yankees, you night see them grab the player and focus on offense in later rounds. Being that the Yankees need to sign their pick this season or lose it (you cannot get compensation for the same pick twice), someone with huge contract demands like Matt Purke may actually scare the Yankees off.
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