FanPost

Looking at potential Yankees picks for 2013 MLB Draft

These possible first-rounders will try to be as good as this guy, the best first-round pick in Yankee history. - USA TODAY Sports

On June 6, 2013, the first day of the MLB Amateur draft begins. The Yankees have three first round draft picks this year, the first time they've had that many since 2001, when they selected John-Ford Griffin, Bronson Sardinha, and Jon Skaggs. Skaggs never made it past AA, and finished his professional baseball career in 2006. Griffin and Sardinha combined for 39 PA and 0.3 rWAR. Needless to say, this was not a very successful use of a bounty of first round picks. As a Yankees fan, I hope they do much better this time around.

Let's look at the recent drafting history of the Yankees to see what type of player the team will focus on, and try to identify some draft prospects they should target. Below is a list of players the Yankees have drafted over the last five years in the first three rounds:

Year Round Name Position School level
2012 1 Ty Hensley RHP HS
2012 2 Austin Aune SS HS
2012 2 Peter O'Brien C College
2012 3 Nathan Mikolas LF HS
2011 1 Dante Bichette 3B HS
2011 2 Sam Stafford LHP College
2011 3 Jordan Cote RHP HS
2010 1 Cito Culver SS HS
2010 2 Angelo Gumbs SS HS
2010 3 Rob Segedin 3B College
2009 1 Slade Heathcott CF HS
2009 2 J.R. Murphy C HS
2008 1 Gerrit Cole RHP HS
2008 1 Jeremy Bleich LHP College
2008 2 Scott Bittle LHP College
2008 3 David Adams 2B College

As you can see, they focus heavily on high school players. They have only selected 6 college players out of 16 total players, and half of those were selected in 2008. I think that this means there was a shift in philosophy between 2008 and 2009. So let's focus on 2009-2012 picks.

In the last 4 years, they've only used 3 of their 12 picks (25%) on college players, and none of their first round picks have been college players. 40% of their second rounders have been college picks, and 33% of their third rounders have been college players. However, they have selected at least one college player within the first three rounds each year, so we can assume they will use either a second or third round pick on a college player.

What type of players do they focus on? In the first round, they have picked a prep arm 25% of the time since 2009. The other 75% of the time, they have picked a prep bat. In the second round, they have gone with a prep bat 60% of the time, a college bat 20% of the time, and a college arm 20% of the time. In the third round, they've gone with a prep bat, a prep arm, and a college bat 33% of the time each.

Overall, they've gone with a prep bat 7 out of 12 picks since 2009, or 58% of the time. They've picked both a prep arm and a college bat twice, or 17% of the time. And they've picked a college arm once, or 8% of the time. They've picked a RHP 17% of the time, and a LHP 8% of the time. They've picked a SS 25% of the time, a catcher and a third baseman 17% of the time, and a CF and a left fielder 8% of the time.

Given their draft history, what type of draft could we expect from the Yankees this year? Given their three first round picks, it seems reasonable to expect them to pick a college player in the first round, if for no reason other than to free up some cap space for two prep players. Looking at their tendencies over the last four years, I would expect the first three picks to be a prep bat, probably a SS, a prep arm, probably a RHP, and a college bat. In the second and third round, I would expect a college arm, and another prep bat, probably a C.

Looking at my personal draft rankings, who would be available that fits these descriptions. For their first pick, pick 26, let's look at the 10 players surrounding 26 (my ranked #21-31):

First name Last name POS State High School College
Ryan Boldt OF Minnesota Red Wing
Aaron Judge OF California
Fresno State
Stephen Gonsalves LHP California Cathedral Catholic
Philip Ervin OF Alabama
Samford
Drew Ward 3B Oklahoma Leedey Florida
Ryan Eades RHP Louisiana
Louisiana State
Marco Gonzales LHP Washington
Gonzaga
Brett Morales RHP Florida King
Clinton Hollon RHP Kentucky Woodford County
Michael Lorenzen OF California
Cal State Fullerton
Jordan Sheffield RHP Tennesee Tullahoma

Out of the three targets for the first round, the one that is most represented here is prep arm. Personally, I like Gonslaves the best out of these draft prospects, but the Yankees haven't taken a left-handed prep arm in the first round since Brien Taylor in 1991. Out of the RHP prep players listed, I have them ranked Morales, Hollon, and Sheffield. Sheffield would probably be first, but the recent news of arm issues, and a possible need for Tommy John surgery makes me a bit hesitant here. He has a big-time arm, but he is not so much better than Morales or Hollon as to justify the extra risk.

So for pick 26, the Yankees select Brett Morales, RHP from King HS in Florida. Morales has a 92-94 MPH fastball, an already above average circle change, and a curveball with some potential. He has a good build (6'2", 190), but not a lot of projection with the body. I love his aggressive mechanics. He already threw a perfect game this spring, and could end up off the board by this pick. If so, Hollon should be available, and he is a very nice arm as well. But for now, Morales is our first pick.

Brett Morales Prospect Video, King High School (via Steve Fiorindo)

The Yankees next pick is pick 32, followed by pick 33. These are compensation picks for the loss of Nick Swisher to the Indians and Rafael Soriano to the Nationals. Here are five player on each side of these two picks, based on my rankings at this time:

First name Last name POS State High School College
Marco Gonzales LHP Washington
Gonzaga
Brett Morales RHP Florida King
Clinton Hollon RHP Kentucky Woodford County
Michael Lorenzen OF California
Cal State Fullerton
Jordan Sheffield RHP Tennesee Tullahoma
Jacoby Jones OF Louisiana
Louisiana State
D.J. Peterson 1B New Mexico
New Mexico
Trevor Williams RHP Arizona
Arizona State
Jeremy Martinez C California Mater Dei
Dustin Driver RHP Washington Wenatchee
Kevin Ziomek LHP Tennesee
Vanderbilt
Chris Okey C Florida Eustis

Some of these players are the same. If we look at prep bats, we have two catchers, which could be a good fit, given their previous drafting outcomes. However, college picks look much more appealing here, especially the bats. Michael Lorenzen is the highest-ranked college bat here. Lorenzen was picked in the 7th round in 2010 by theTampa Bay Rays, but instead chose to go to Cal State Fullerton. He's put up a .337/.411/.565 slash line so far in 2013, with a mediocre 20/6 K/BB ratio. He has above average power, below average discipline, and is decent defensively, although he will probably shift from CF to a corner in professional ball. However, he does play a position that the Yankees are strong in currently in the minors, and will in the same age range as Heathcott, Austin, and Williams. So perhaps he isn't the right way to go.

If not, D.J. Peterson could be the way to go. Peterson is a 1B/3B at New Mexico, who has put up a .392/.496/.876 slash line, with a great 12/17 K/BB ratio. His bat is perhaps second only to Kris Bryant out of the college ranks. He gets docked because it is assumed he will be a first baseman. If the Yankees did pick him, they should give him every chance at third base to push A-Rod to DH. When Teixeira's contract is up, he can then move to first base. So I am going to pick D.J. Peterson with pick 32.

2012 Lobo Baseball | DJ Peterson Golden Spikes Watch List Feature (via LoboTVnewmexicolobos)

For Pick 33, we want to go with a prep bat. If we stick with our preference for a SS, we can hope one of JP Crawford or Oscar Mercado falls to us. That seems unlikely at this point. The next highest-ranked SS on my personal draft board is Chris Rivera at 63. Our second round pick is not until pick 66, so the Yankees could take the risk and hope he is available then, or pick him at pick 33. The Yankees have not been shy with perceived overdrafts in the past, so this is a definite possibility. The choice to me is between the two catchers listed above, Jeremy Martinez and Chris Okey, and Chris Rivera. Personally, I would probably go with Martinez, but looking at how the Yankees pick, I am going with Chris Rivera, SS, out of El Dorado HS in California. Rivera is solid defensively, and should be able to stick at SS. His bat has pop, and potential to produce above average power for a middle infielder. He is also a Yankee, and a Jeter, fan, which will make him a favorite with Yankees prospect watchers.

Chris Rivera Prospect Video, El Dorado High School (via Steve Fiorindo)

What about our round 2 and 3 picks. For round 2, pick 66, looking at available college arms, my favorite would be Teddy Stankiewicz, a RHP from Seminole State CC in Oklahoma. He was picked in the second round in 2012 by theMets, but did not sign. He quite possibly will not be available at 66, and if he is, he may want to sign for much more than slot, requiring going cheap on later picks. He is a CC arm, however, and the Yankees have not used a high-round draft pick on a CC arm in recent memory.

Another interesting arm for 66 is Austin Kubitza, a junior RHP out of Rice. He may be a better fit for the Yankees. A big kid with a big arm, his mechanics are not pretty, and he may move to the bullpen, but has nice potential. He has a 1.41 ERA with a 56/20 K/BB ratio in 38 innings so far in 2013.

Two other college arms that could interest the Yankees at 66 are Aaron Blair, a RHP out of Marshall in WV, and Chris Anderson, a RHP out of Jacksonville in Florida. Finally, if Karsten Whitson falls down to 66, the Yankees could be tempted to take him, even with the arm injury. They've done this in the past, with Stafford, Bleich, Bittle, Brackman, and Chamberlain. Whitson, a RHP out of Florida was a consensus top ten preseason. If the team thinks he can rehab and come back from this injury, his potential is a steal at pick 66. However, I am going with Kubitza.

Rice Sophomore RHP Austin Kubitza (summer baseball) (via rkyosh007)

For the Yankees third round pick, pick, 103, let's look at grabbing another prep bat. Prep players who could be available at this point include: Kevin Franklin, a 3B from Gahr HS in Florida; Billy McKinney, a LF from Plano West HS in Texas; Ryan McMahon, a 3B from Mater Dei HS in California; Matthew McPhearson, a CF from Riverdale Baptist HS in Maryland; and Anfernee Grier, a CF from Russell County HS in Alabama. I would lean towards one of the two center fielders, McPhearson and Grier, who have commitments that will be hard to break. Kevin Franklin, who may not be available at 103, would be a good pick as well. But I am going to go with McPhearson.

2012 Under Armour All-American MATTHEW MCPHEARSON powered by Baseball Factory (via baseballfactoryTV)

Does this look like a draft that the Yankees would execute? This would definitely stretch the budget limits, and perhaps they would be better taking a college senior at 66, someone like Brandon Thomas, or a lower-tiered power arm reliever, to save some budget space. Or they could pull a Blue Jays strategy of going super cheap in rounds 5-10 to save some budget space. Let me know what you think below.

The final results:

26. Brett Morales, RHP, King HS, FL

32. D.J. Peterson, 3B, New Mexico University, NM

33. Chris Rivera, SS, El Dorado HS, CA

66. Austin Kubitza, RHP, Rice University, TX

103. Matthew McPhearson. CF, Riverdale Baptist HS, MD

***I posted this at minorleagueball.com, and put in the fanshots, but I am not sure how many folks got to see it. I wanted to share it with you. Let me know what you think***

FanPosts are user-created content and do not necessarily reflect the views of the writing staff of Pinstripe Alley or SB Nation.

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