MLB Draft 2014: Yankees select center fielder Mark Payton 212th overall

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

With their seventh round pick of the 2014 MLB Draft, the Yankees took left-handed hitting center fielder Mark Payton from the University of Texas, making him the first position player they have taken this year. Baseball America has him ranked 270th overall and 22nd in the state of Texas, while Minor League Ball has him at 266.

The biggest thing that MLB Network talked about was that he does a lot of things well, but there's question about where he can fit on the field. He doesn't have the power of a corner outfielder and doesn't have the speed of a center fielder. He can't be placed as an infielder either because he throws left-handed, so the outfield has to be where he goes.

Looking at Baseball America's scouting report, they don't seem very optimistic about his future as an impact player:

The Longhorns’ best players were Indiana native Dillon Peters and Illinois native Payton, who had a very productive senior season. Just 5-foot-8, Payton takes advantage of his small strike zone, ranking in the top 10 in the country in walks. On a good day, he resembles White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton, though he’s just an average runner and thrower. A solid situational hitter, Payton has little home run power and focuses on a line-drive approach. If he improves his routes a bit in center field, he can reach the majors as a fourth outfielder.

Matt Garrioch of Minor League Ball agrees with the assessment, saying that he is "a contact approach and solid all around tools scream future 4th OF. He doesn't have any tools that are elite but he can run and throw. He won't hit for much if any power." Sure, a fourth outfielder isn't terrible, but here's another situation of a low-ceiling, high-floor (maybe even a low-floor), meaning that he's a bit of a risk for someone who might not offer much upside. With the Yankees outfield seemingly set with Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury for a few more years, Payton could be a useful role player if he moves quickly through the system. His ability to work the count and take a walk reminds me somewhat of Ramon Flores.

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