The first two rounds (plus the sandwich round) were very interesting to follow, as this was thought to be a very difficult draft to predict, due to the multitude of players demanding overslot bonuses. As Aaron Crow, Grant Green, Kyle Gibson, and Matt Purke all went off the board before the Yankees were going to pick, I was hoping that the Yankees would take Tanner Scheppers, who has been throwing gas in Indy Ball. While this did not happen, the Yankees did take the #2 player remaining on my board, Texas HS outfielder Slade Heathcott, a 5-tool athletic talent with a high ceiling at a premium position (and the player I predicted the Yankees would pick last night). Despite Heathcott’s LSU commitment, signability does not appear to be an issue with this pick.
After seeing the Yankees pass on Scheppers for Heathcott, I hoped to see Scheppers fall to the Yankees’ 2nd pick, at #76 overall. Alas, Scheppers did not make it through the sandwich round, taken at #44 by the Rangers, who were also able to nab Purke in the first round, and have the potential for an impressive (albeit expensive) pair of power pitching prospects.
With Scheppers out of the picture, I turned my attention to David Renfroe, the athletic high school shortstop who the Yankees had been scouting heavily, despite his 3 million dollar bonus demands. Other high school prospects like Luke Bailey and Max Stassi were also not taken, and I saw them as possibilities for #76. Instead, the Yankees took John Murphy, a catcher from Pendleton High School in Florida, a Miami commit. While not as sexy a name as Stassi or Bailey, Murphy is an intriguing prospect in his own right, with great plate discipline and hitting ability combined with good athleticism that has allowed him to convert to catching without much trouble. He is also likely signable. With Murphy taken, I hoped to see Renfroe last until tomorrow, but he was taken by Boston at the end of the 3rd round, as a pitcher.
Overall, I am happy but not blown away with the first day picks. I am very pleased with Heathcott, as guys who have the combination of tools and baseball skills that he possesses are usually not available that late in the first round. He is certainly a risky pick, but he’s signable, and has star potential. Murphy was a less exciting pick with Renfroe, Stassi, and Bailey still on the board, but the more I read about his hitting ability and plate discipline, the happier I am with the pick. The fact that the Yankees drafted 2 guys early who should sign close to slot will allow them to spend on overslot picks today and Thursday.
There are 27 rounds today, beginning at 11:30 with the 4th round, and the Yankees will have 27 chances to quiet the raging reactionary masses from nyyfans who demand that the Yankees draft and sign every overslot player. There is still a lot of talent out there, including 2 college pitchers I mentioned as potential second-round picks (Kendal Volz and Chris Dwyer) as well as more highly regarded high school catchers (Stassi, Bailey, Austin Maddox). Some other guys to keep an eye out for are Westfield HS pitcher Christopher Jenkins, Arizona reliever Jason Stoffel, and other high school arms such as Madison Younginer, Keyvius Sampson, Daniel Tuttle, and Scott Griggs. Of these guys, Jenkins followed by Volz are the 2 that I like best. Historically, rounds 4-10 are the rounds where the Yankees do the most damage in regard to drafting players overslot (especially round 8), so we could see some fireworks in the early going. Stay tuned. I’m busy all day today, but I’ll try to get some writeups of the more interesting picks up tonight.
It is far too early to be judging the Yankee draft, and it will continue to be premature to do so for several years. Nonetheless, I hope to see the Yanks get a little more aggressive tomorrow, and pick up some overslot talents.
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