Last Minute Draft Notes,Thoughts, and Predictions

The draft will start at 7:00 PM tonight on the MLB Network. With the Yankees playing a late West Coast game, I highly recommend you give it a shot, and at least try to catch the second half, as the Yankees will have picks 26, 32, and 33. Each team has 4 1/2 minutes to make their pick, but in years past they've been rather lenient with time limits. More than likely, the Yankees will be picking sometime after 9 PM, though I seem to remember them picking closer to 10 PM last year, and that was for pick 30 overall. IIATMS will also have a draft chat tonight at 7:00 PM, so join us as we discuss the draft. Anyway, on to some news and links.

  • Two top pitchers have tested positive for Adderall. Jonathon Gray (BA's 1st overall prospect and former Yankee pick) and Aaron Blair (BA's 41st overall prospect) were cited by an MLB memorandum sent to Baseball America. Adderall, a stimulant often used for patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is only allowed by Major League Baseball if prescribed for therapeutic use. Both players won't likely see their stock fall too far, and it may even influence Gray, who may now command a smaller bonus, to be drafted 1st overall to the Astros, who were looking to split their bonus slot money between their 1st and 2nd round picks. While Blair may not fall much further than 41, this positive test probably eliminates the possibility of the Yankees picking him with one of their three first round picks, as the organization values makeup very highly.
  • In Keith Law's third mock draft, which was published before the positive tests, he has 3B Colin Moran going first overall to the Astros, with Mark Appel, Kris Bryant, and Jonathan Gray following. The Yankees draft OF Billy McKinney (26th overall), 3B Eric Jagielo (32nd overall), and RHP Kyle Serrano (33rd overall). Law also notes that the Yankees have been in on almost everyone, which is necessary if someone falls to them. He notes that they've been connected to LHP Cody Reed, LHP Hunter Green, RHP Phil Bickford, OF Austin Wilson, and SS Dustin Peterson. McKinney and Serrano have shown up on other mock drafts as well, but I am not confident on his Jagielo pick. As I've mentioned before, the Yankees haven't picked a first round position player out of college since 2001, and there should be a number of solid pitchers left for them at 32 and 33.
  • I've already posted some of the work by Baseball Prospectus and Perfect Game USA, but today they posted an easy to understand recap of all their work this year. Most of it requires a paid subscription to BP.
  • Jim Callis posted his fourth and final (obviously) mock draft this morning. He's got Gray going 1st to the Astros, Appel 2nd, and Bryant 3rd. No surprises there, but you actually won't find Sean Manaea anywhere in this draft because Callis has learned that the southpaw has a labrum tear in his hip, the same injury that Alex Rodriguez is rehabbing from, and a similar one to that of 2012 first round pick Ty Hensley. The Yankees take 3B Eric Jagielo at 26,  LHP Rob Kaminsky at 32, and OF Billy McKinney at 33.
  • Baseball America also posted a comprehensive Draft Map today, which lists all the top prospects state-by-state. No subscription required here, so give it a look.
  • In case you missed it, I posted a consensus draft rankings yesterday, taking five of the most popular top 100 draft rankings and averaging them out. If you take a look, you'll get a pretty good idea of who should be available around the Yankees' picks.

And finally, my predictions. I've read a ton of mock drafts, and I've seen a ton of players connected to the Yankees, a few of which I don't think they'll target. 3B Eric Jagielo, SS Tim Anderson, OF Austin Wilson, and OF Aaron Judge have all been linked to the Bombers, but it would be a rare sight to see Brian Cashman and Damon Oppenheimer picking a first round position player out of college.

Obviously the team will try and pick the best available players, but I don't know if the organization would be comfortable using all three picks on pitchers. The end of the first round is loaded with pitching talent, so for that reason, I don't think the Yankees will select Rob Kaminsky, the overall favorite to land with the Yankees, at pick 26. Instead, I think the Yankees will go with a position player out of high school here. I think there's a good chance they go for a C Jon Denney, OF Billy McKinney, and/or OF Ryan Boldt at pick 26, rather than taking a risk waiting and being stuck with three first round pitchers.

At pick 32 and 33, I see the Yankees then taking high school and/or college pitchers, as I assume most of the high school position players will have evaporated.  RHP Hunter Harvey, RHP Phil Bickford, LHP Rob Kaminsky, RHP Chris Anderson, RHP Jonathon Crawford, LHP Ian Clarkin, RHP Ryan Eades, RHP Kyle Serrano, and RHP Andrew Thurman could all be on the board still, and the Yankees should have no problem picking up a pitcher at this point.

Finally, this could all change if someone falls dramatically. The Yankees are truly the only team with a substantial chunk of change to spend in the later half of the draft, though I suppose the Cardinals and Diamondbacks could be somewhat of a threat. If someone falls, particularly a position player, I expect the Yankees to be all over them. As I've said before C Reese McGuire has hinted lately that he might be a hard sign. In my consensus rankings yesterday, McGuire was listed as the 10th best prospect, and if he clears the Diamondbacks' pick at 15 overall, which might be possible if Domonic Smith is taken early by the Rockies, I think there's a slim shot that he falls to the Yankees at 26. As for a guy like LHP Sean Manaea, who ranked 11th on the consensus rankings, the Yankees are probably not too eager to try and sign another injury-prone first round pick. This may have been a different story four or five years ago, but the Oppenheimer seems a little ticked off with all the injuries they've seen from their first rounders, so I don't expect them to take a chance on Manaea.

So here are my draft predictions.

26: C Jon Denney

32: LHP Rob Kaminsky

33: RHP Jonathan Crawford

If I get just one of these guys right, I'll be ecstatic, which should give you an idea of just how much all these predictions are worth.