As fast as the MLB Draft came, it has since passed. Three days and 40 rounds later, the Yankees have plenty of new players to stock their farm system. Granted not all of them will sign, but the hope is a good majority of them will, and those that do will succeed.
Unlike last year when the Yankees “stole” Blake Rutherford, the team didn’t make a splash in the first round. They selected right-handed pitcher Clarke Schmidt from the University of South Carolina. What’s interesting about Schmidt is that he recently underwent Tommy John surgery, so he was projected for the second-round. That didn’t stop the Yankees from scooping him up, though. They’ll likely be able to sign him under-slot value and save money for later rounds.
Where last year the Yankees went over-slot in the first and under in the following rounds, their strategy seems to be the opposite this year. Matt Sauer, a right-handed pitcher, was considered one of the better prep arms in the draft, but there were signability concerns since he was committed to the University of Arizona.
By saving money in the first round, however, they’ll be able to go over-slot for Sauer and hopefully sign him. Sauer has already announced his intention to sign with the team and forego his commitment to Arizona. So he seems pretty confident that a deal will get done, which makes it seems like a good strategy so far.
If the first two picks didn’t tell the full story, the rest of the draft did. The Yankees drafted 40 players. Of those 40, only 12 were position players. Of the 28 pitchers, only five were left-handed. They really valued their right-handed pitching this year and the draft showed it. The Yankees started a right-handed revolution as Matt Provenzano called it. Damon Oppenheimer, the Yankees' Vice President and Director of Amateur Scouting, says they “feel real good” about their haul:
"I think we have a good crop of pitching. We've done a lot of research on where big leaguers come from; once you get past the first few picks, you're generally more successful when you put pitching into your system."
They were apparently following the old “throw enough mud at the wall, some of it will stick” philosophy for this draft class. Teams can never have too much pitching. If they do, it’s a “good problem” to have.
While TJ Knapp wrote starting pitching was one of the farm system’s strengths, and Jake Devin said that pitching overall was hard to identify as a need, the fact remains, it’s always good to have pitching. If any of these guys turn out to be something, they can either help the Yankees themselves or become trade bait as pitching is always in demand.
As always, the MLB draft is a hard one to judge from the get go. It’ll take at least a few years before it can really be assessed as a success or failure. Unlike the NBA or NFL draft where players are essentially ready to play on day one, even the closest prospects usually need at least a year or two in the minors before making their debut.
My usual strategy of grading by players’ names leads me to be largely underwhelmed by this draft class. The strongest names in this class are probably Janson Junk (22nd round) and Shawn Semple (11th round). Though first-round pick Schmidt does give me ample New Girl puns and gifs to work with, so at least there’s that.
For a full list of all the 2017 draftees go here, and for all of Pinstripe Alley’s draft-related coverage and write-ups go here. Caitlin Rogers will have the annual draft tracker up tomorrow where you can monitor all the draftees and their signing statuses.
Even if it’s hard to truly judge the draft class immediately, it’s not too difficult to judge the draft itself. So the question is still out there: are you happy with the Yankees’ 2017 draft?
How do you feel about the Yankees’ draft?
This poll is closed
Good Schmidt! I loved it.
I’m on the fence.
Eat Schmidt! I hated it.
I don’t give a Schmidt.