After making 3 picks in the first 57 on opening night, the Yankees continued their 2015 MLB draft plan execution over the last 2 days. They made 8 picks on Tuesday and another 30 yesterday to complete the 40 rounds of action, and it'd be wrong to not at least mention a few of the highlights from these last 2 days.
Day 2- The Yankees went college-heavy on day 1 and they kept that theme going on day 2 as they worked to get the most out of their draft bonus pool. They took 6 college players and 2 high schoolers with their 8 picks, giving them 9 college players in all out of their first 11 selections.
- While the preppies were limited, they were well-represented by the 3rd round pick, right-handed pitcher Drew Finley. He's out of California, features a solid fastball-curveball-changeup mix, good command, and is the son of a baseball scout, so there's that "grew up around the game" thing going for him. The Yankees were connected to him in the weeks leading up to the draft and reportedly had interest in taking him on day 1, so to get him on day 2 with the 92nd pick is pretty good value.
- 6th round pick Brandon Wagner is an interesting potential prospect. He played second base at Howard College and hit 22 home runs in 58 games this past season. Scouts don't think much of his defense long-term, but a lefty bat with power to all finds and a solid approach at age 19? That's not a bad profile to work with if he signs.
- Florida Southern senior outfielder Jhalan Jackson has good size (6'3"/220) and power from the right side (20 HR in 2015), and he'll come cheap as a 7th round pick. If his approach and natural hitting skills are good enough, that power could play at the pro level.
- The biggest pick of day 2 might have been the one the Yankees didn't make. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that they would draft Mariano Rivera III after taking him in the 29th round last year. He had a really good year at Iona and had turned himself into a legit prospect. The Nationals swept in and got him in the 4th round though, 134th overall, after the Yanks elected to take college outfielder Jeff Hendrix with the 123rd pick. Big time head scratcher there, but oh well.
Day 3- This is where projectability and most people's honest knowledge of who players are goes out the window, but there were a few intriguing selections in these last 30.
- 11th round pick Joshua Rogers is probably the most intriguing. He's a 6'3" lefty who absolutely dominated in Indiana HS ball and has pitched pretty well in his first 2 seasons at Louisville. He's only a sophomore though, so he's a risk to return to college next year and improve his stock. Hopefully the Yanks can sweeten the deal with some extra bonus money.
- Isiah Gilliam from Chipola Junior College in Florida is another pick that stands out to my amateur eyes. Taken in the 20th round, Gilliam is an 18-year-old switch-hitting first baseman who has good size (6'3''/220) and has put up tremendous numbers the past few years. He's worth a look.
- Not sure he'll be able to replace the lost value of the Major League version, but the Yankees did draft another Andrew Miller to make up for the one they put on the DL yesterday. 34th round, left-handed HS pitcher (of course) out of New Jersey who is highly decorated in his region. He's committed to Maryland, so we'll probably never see him in a Yankee uniform. Still a fun little story.
The drafting is now over, and we'll move to the signing portion of the proceedings over the next week. I believe the deadline is next Wednesday the 17th. The Yankees were clearly focusing on college players with their early picks, but they still grabbed some nice upside in Kaprielian and Finely, and if they believe they can do something with Kyle Holder's bat, he could turn out to be a surprisingly shrewd pick. Let's see who signs and who doesn't over the next week and then get excited about when we can start to see these guys play.
** In case you missed it, here's Tamar's recap of the day 1 picks. **