The 2018 MLB Draft has come and gone. The Yankees made 40 selections over the three-day event. While it’s premature to make any substantive evaluations, a few early patterns emerged. Namely, the team used the talent pool to improve an organizational shortcoming and reinforce its biggest strength.
Prior to the draft, the Yankees had an impressive system with one major weakness. The organization badly lacked catching prospects. That figures to change, however, as the team used its first two selections to draft catchers. Anthony Seigler came with the 23rd overall pick. The prep catcher is a switch-hitter and switch-thrower. He drew rave reviews from talent evaluators who remarked on the polished nature of his game.
The other impact catcher followed in the second round, when the Yankees chose Josh Breaux. The backstop from McLennan Community College has plus-plus raw power. Should he sign, the Yankees will inject two quality catching prospects into the pipeline.
It sounds like the club will have no trouble signing at least one of their top two picks:
“There’s no doubt in my mind I’m definitely going to sign with the #Yankees. This is a no-brainer for me.” - first round pick Anthony Seigler— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) June 5, 2018
They weren’t done though. The Yankees chose four catchers over the course of the remaining two days. Alex Guerrero, Patrick Winkel, and Austin Wells represent the high school backstops. The other college catcher was Jack Thoreson. It’s tough to predict if all will sign, but even a handful would go a long way to jumpstart the catching pipeline.
In addition to catchers, the Yankees targeted right-handed pitching in the draft. Out of 40 total picks, 20 of them were righty arms. They all fit the typical model for a Yankees pitcher: They throw hard and miss bats. Nearly all of the picks, even those in the later rounds, came with high K/9 rates. Even Reid Anderson, the final choice of the draft, struck out far more batters than those he walked.
Again, not all of these picks will end up in the organization. If a fraction of them sign, however, Yankees fans should feel good. The player development team has a knack for taking anyone with a right arm and getting them to pump gas. It’s just a remarkable skill the organization wields.
The Yankees broadened their horizons when it came to explosive tools. In the third round, the team selected outfielder Ryder Green, who possesses incredible raw power. His batting practice sessions become laser shows. Whereas the first two picks went to solve organizational needs, the team drafted Green just for his talent and tools.
The fifth round saw the team draft another outfielder, Brandon Lockridge out of Troy University. Whereas Green has the monster power, Lockridge offers electric speed. His tools make him an interesting choice. It also makes him stand out from the rest of the class. Power dominated the choices on both sides of the ball. Lockridge instead runs wild. It was a cool pick if you ask me!
Will the 2018 MLB Draft be a success for the Yankees? It’s way too early to tell. We do know, however, that the team had a plan. It’s evident in their selections. They wanted to add catching depth and arms that generate swings-and-misses. A few toolsy outfielders never hurt either. They were the outliers though. The rest fit into a neat pattern, and for the baseball draft, that’s not a bad thing.