Back in June, the Yankees selected 42 players in the MLB Draft, and 31 of them came to terms with the organization on contracts. It has now been a little over a month since the latest possible signing deadline, and many of these players will soon see their shortened regular seasons come to a close. While it's disappointing that first round picks Aaron Judge (tweaked right quad) and Ian Clarkin (sprained ankle) have not yet played due to injury, there have still been several interesting new prospects to watch.
|1||21||Eric Jagielo, 3B||SS-A||36||153||11||0||3||0||0||36||0.271||0.379||0.426||148|
|1||21||Aaron Judge, CF||N/A||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.000||0.000||0.000||0|
|2||18||Gosuke Katoh, 2B||Rk||40||173||7||5||5||3||2||33||0.315||0.413||0.534||176|
|3||21||Michael O'Neill, CF||SS-A||50||218||14||1||0||9||6||72||0.236||0.298||0.317||89|
|4||18||Tyler Wade, SS||Rk||38||164||8||0||0||7||1||35||0.316||0.438||0.376||151|
|6||22||John Murphy, SS||SS-A||33||126||3||0||1||2||2||14||0.179||0.230||0.231||41|
|8||22||Brandon Thomas, OF||SS-A||50||214||6||2||5||7||4||69||0.210||0.332||0.348||112|
|11||18||Kendall Coleman, SS||Rk||5||16||0||0||0||0||0||4||0.133||0.188||0.133||?*|
|15||19||Jordan Barnes, OF||Rk||41||145||1||0||0||5||5||25||0.180||0.266||0.188||46|
|18||18||Dustin Fowler, OF||Rk||20||76||6||2||0||1||1||16||0.247||0.276||0.384||92|
|20||18||Drew Bridges, 1B/3B||Rk||18||70||1||1||1||1||0||18||0.183||0.286||0.283||?*|
|22||21||Derek Toadvine, 2B||SS-A||46||200||5||1||0||6||6||42||0.235||0.313||0.274||84|
|28||23||Trent Garrison, C||SS-A||17||62||5||0||1||0||0||9||0.213||0.222||0.344||67|
|31||20||Kevin Cornelius, 3B||Rk||22||85||7||0||0||1||0||14||0.289||0.345||0.382||116|
|32||22||Kale Sumner, 3B/1B||SS-A||36||157||5||0||2||0||0||37||0.244||0.357||0.328||114|
|34||21||Hector Crespo, 2B/3B/SS||AAA||4||9||0||0||0||0||0||2||0.111||0.111||0.111||-54|
|39||21||Ty Afenir, 2B/3B/SS||Low-A||18||48||1||1||0||1||1||12||0.191||0.296||0.255||68|
*=Not available on FanGraphs
It took Eric Jagielo a little while to play because he was recovering from a strained hamstring incurred during extended spring training, but he has hit quite well in Staten Island since joining them. The batting average isn't quite there yet, but a 148 wRC+ in his first go-around of professional ball is encouraging. His .805 OPS would rank him 11th in the New York-Penn League if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. He's been heating up over the past couple days too, with a pair of homers that included a walk-off blast yesterday. Jagielo was consistent with his homers, hitting to nearly identical parts of the park in right-center field.
When Gosuke Katoh was drafted, people were somewhat perplexed by the pick since it seemed to be a reach for a high school kid whose reputation came from his second base defense alone. The consensus on his bat was that he had a chance to be a "contact hitter with some power." Katoh has completely defied all offensive expectations in the Gulf Coast League by posting some very gaudy numbers, including a surprising five triples and five homers. His .947 OPS is the second-best mark in the league. While currently-uninspiring prospects like Dante Bichette Jr. also demolished the GCL (172 wRC+ in 52 games in 2011), it's still encouraging to see some pop from Katoh's bat since that was never expected in the first place. He will be building his prospect status largely on his sterling defense anyway, so if he can turn himself even into an average hitter, it would be a boon for the organization.
Shortstop Tyler Wade has also impressed with the bat in his time in Rookie Ball. Despite showing minimal power, his .814 OPS is 11th in the league thanks to his stellar patience at the plate (17.1% BB%). He's lived up to his solid defensive reputation, and while he's unlikely to live up to his high hitting numbers right now due to a .429 BABIP, the patience is a transferable skill that is more likely to follow him up the ladder, as is the high stolen base percentage. Wade certainly has offered more hope for the future than fellow shortstop draft pick John Murphy, who has looked overmatched at the plate in the New York-Penn League. Wade could very well join that league soon and struggle like Wade since it's tougher than Rookie League, but he's also four years younger than the Sacred Heart grad.
Third-round pick Michael O'Neill has also been frustrating at Staten Island since he probably just struck out three times in the past five minutes. O'Neill needs to work on his plate discipline, as he has a minuscule 4.6% BB% and a 33.0% K%. Interestingly, he's been hit by a pitch almost as many times as he's walked. When a player's best skill is the Craig Biggio/Coach effect, he has some significant off-season training in the works. Switch-hitting outfield teammate Brandon Thomas has been a little better than O'Neill, but he is also striking out like a bandit (32.2% K%). However, the walk percentage is better and he's hit for some power as well.
The rest of the position player draft class has ranged from surprisingly decent (bureaucrats Kevin Cornelius and Chaunsey Kale Sumner) to horrid (Jordan Barnes and Trent Garrison). Hector Crespo became the first Yankee prospect from the 2013 draft to make it to Triple-A, but that was due to a roster crunch wherein Scranton desperately needed infielders; he was demoted to Staten Island shortly thereafter and hasn't looked good. It's not exactly clear why their lowest pick, Ty Afenir, is in Charleston and not a lower level, but it's innocuous and could just be for his infield versatility.
*=LHP **=Not available on FanGraphs
Clarkin's absence due to injury has made the pitching class somewhat drab since he was a lefty prep school star and the obvious headliner. A few names have stood out though, most notably righty reliever Nick Rumbelow and lefty starter Caleb Smith. Both have maintained WHIPs under one in Staten Island while striking out over eight batters per nine innings. Smith's stock fell before the draft since he went from Sam Houston State ace to mere back-of-the-rotation starter, but it appears that he's recaptured that SHS ace form in Staten Island. His 2.21 ERA would rank in the league's top ten with some more innings, and he's tied for 10th in strikeouts anyway despite throwing fewer innings than all but one player ahead of him. Smith's walk rate had jumped from 3.6 BB/9 sophomore year to an ugly 6.1 BB/9 in the season before he was drafted, but he has regained command as well with a 2.2 BB/9 with Staten Island. It will be worth watching him over the next year to see if the Yankees challenge his hot streak with a promotion and how he reacts to the tougher level.
Some of Smith and Rumbelow's teammates, like Conner Kendrick, Andy Beresford, and Dillon McNamara have shown promise, though each has noticeable flaws in their game. Kendrick and McNamara have walk rates of at least 4.0 BB/9, and while Beresford keeps the walks down, he gives up plenty more hits instead. Perhaps it's a bit harsh to criticize Kendrick and McNamara's control when their teammates David Palladino and Philip Walby have control that would make Andrew Brackman blush. Fifth-round pick Palladino has the same problems that Brackman had in that his imposing size (6'9", 230 pounds) can sometimes mess with his mechanics. It will be a Dellin Betances -like project working on Palladino's command, and the Yankees can only hope that it doesn't take the former JuCo star a long time.
Tenth-round pick Tyler Webb is the only member of the draft class in Charleston, and the lefty reliever has done a nice job against all batters, regardless of their preferred sides of the plate. He was described as a "finesse lefty" who could also get his strikeouts, and he's lived up to that reputation during his stints in Staten Island and Charleston. The Yankees will just have to be careful about his health since he's already a Tommy John surgery survivor.
The 2013 draft class will obviously become more exciting whenever big names Judge and Clarkin get into game action, but they are definitely not devoid of talent otherwise. Jagielo, Katoh, Wade, Smith, Rumbelow, and Webb have all been superb for the organization thus far. Hopefully they finish their first seasons of professional baseball in a similarly impressive manner.