Day one of the 2015 MLB Draft is finished and the Yankees came away with some promising talent in UCLA right-hander James Kaprielian, San Diego shortstop Kyle Holder, and Indiana State left-hander Jeff Degano. So far the Yankees have only taken college-level talent, which seems to be their new focus after taking mostly college arms in 2014. They took two advanced pitchers in Kaprielian and Degano, who some believe to be more low-ceiling/high-floor safer picks like last year. Holder, though, seems to be a more daring pick, but will also likely save the team money when it comes time to hand out the signing bonuses.
The reaction to James Kaprielian was pretty divided as he seemed to be a pretty lukewarm and safe pick for the Yankees at no. 16. Whatever your reaction was to the pick, it shouldn't have been a surprise as he fits perfectly into New York's pitching mold:
Kaprelian fits the Yankee mold to a T. Big, powerful righthanded college pitcher.— Daniel Barbarisi (@DanBarbarisi) June 9, 2015
At 6-foot-four and 200 pounds, Kaprielian seems to be exactly what the Yankees like to see in their pitchers. He also throws the pitches they always seem to like, including a solid 55-grade slider and a 60-grade changeup, which the organization seems to be into more and more these days.
While many people didn't love the pick, they easily found a way to support it after considering the alternatives that were out there and the past picks the Yankees have made over the years.
Don't hate it, don't love it. Just thank God it wasn't a Cito/DBJ reach.— j (@j_nyy) June 9, 2015
I can get behind Kaprielian as the Yanks' pick. #3 caliber starters are still valuable and this ain't a great draft class— Andrew Mearns (@MearnsPSA) June 9, 2015
Maybe the Yankees could have done a lot better at 16th overall, but they could have done far, far worse, like they showed us they were capable of doing when they took Cito Culver and Dante Bichette in the past. Kaprielian seems far superior to either of them, though.
Of course the biggest obstacle facing the new Yankee right-hander is the fact that no one will ever be able to spell Kaprielian correctly:
Congratulations to James Kaprielian on being the subject of 50,000 incorrectly spelled message board trade rumors in the next five years.— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) June 9, 2015
In the end, though, he might have Alex Rodriguez to thank for all this:
Yankees draft pitcher from UCLA. A-Rod worked out at UCLA during his suspension. A-Rod = Yankees draft advisor?— Anthony Rieber (@therealarieber) June 9, 2015
Kyle Holder, on the other hand, received a lot of negative reactions from fans given his profile as an all-glove, no-bat middle infielder. They compared him to some pretty bad picks in the past:
It's basically a polished Cito. Shit.— j (@j_nyy) June 9, 2015
Though, to be fair, Holder's bat is much more advanced than Cito's and his defense is believed to be far superior.
When the pick was still just a rumor, some hoped that it wouldn't be true on account of how bad his bat was in college:
Glove-first infielders have their value, but if he can't hit there must have been better picks available to them for the 30th overall pick. After all, this was the pick the Yankees received for allowing David Robertson to sign elsewhere.
Would have rather kept D-Rob.— j (@j_nyy) June 9, 2015
It's hard to disagree with that argument since he's gotten off to such a good start this year, but that implies that the pick was the only reason they made the decision. It was clear that the Yankees weren't going to invest that much money into a reliever and on top of that they got a draft pick out of it as well. It's not the strongest case there could be, but it's a case nonetheless and Holder could have some use down the line.
For those that are on the fence about the team's draft so far, Hudson Belinsky of Baseball America has plenty of reasons to get excited over their first two picks:
Also a fan of what the #Yankees did at 16 & 30. Two low-floor options with upside. Holder's defense is top notch, Kapriellian is polished.— Hudson Belinsky (@hudsonbelinsky) June 9, 2015
Holder could be a 7 defender! Hasn't played a lot of baseball and has shown some feel with the stick. #mlbdraft— Hudson Belinsky (@hudsonbelinsky) June 9, 2015
While neither are the most incredible players out there, both have upside and could put something together in the minors. An advanced pitcher has value and a top-ranked defender at shortstop doesn't grow on trees.
What most people had to say about Jeff Degano consisted of "who the heck is he?" and "he sounds like a reliever." Yes, he was a little bit of an overdraft and his lack of a third pitch, straight fastball, and injury history could lead him to a life in the bullpen, but he was an ace in 2015 and he'll get the chance to start for now:
Jeff Degano was a fave of mine...dominant year. VG FB and bball.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 9, 2015
That sounds like a a recipe for an impressive, no matter where he ends up pitching in the end.
What do you think about the Yankees' first three picks? Did they pick well or did you want something else? What do they need to do tomorrow?