After making the number 30 and number 38 selections of the 2019 MLB Draft, the Yankees will have a bit of a wait before picking again in the second round at number 67 overall. The Yankees’ selection could depend on how much money they choose to dish out to their first two picks, but they’re typically not frugal with their draft selections in the first few rounds.
Here are some of the prospects that could be on the Yankees’ radar for the second round.
Rece Hinds, 3B, IMG Academy (FL)
FanGraphs’ two-round Mock Draft 3.0 projects Rece Hinds, a third baseman and LSU commit, to go to the Yankees in the second round. This could be a longshot, as MLB Pipeline ranks Hinds 42nd overall and Jim Callis projected him as a first-round pick in his mock draft earlier this month.
If Hinds is available, the Yankees could be drawn to his power, which ranks as high as anyone in the draft class. At 6-foot-4 and 210 lbs, Hinds certainly looks the part of an MLB slugger, but there are questions if he will stick at third base or have too much swing-and-miss in his game to succeed as a pro. It’s not hard to see a little bit of Khris Davis in his stroke, and that’s the type of hitter the Yankees would be hoping to get if they selected Hinds.
Josh Smith, SS, LSU
While the Yankees could try to sign Hinds away from his commitment, they could also target a current LSU Tiger, shortstop Josh Smith. Thairo Estrada is the only infielder among the Yankees’ Top 30 prospects, so it won’t be surprising if they look to strengthen the system with a new influx of infield talent. Smith has been the Tigers’ best hitter this season with a .343 batting average and eight home runs. The left-handed hitter has also stolen 17 bases in 21 attempts.
Smith’s prospect status isn’t carried by any one tool, but he’s considered a high-floor type player that could be a future utility infielder with a little bit of pop. MLB Pipeline ranks Smith the number. 76 overall prospect, so he could fall in the Yankees’ range at 67. Keep an eye on Auburn shortstop Will Holland and high school shortstop Anthony Volpe in the same range as well. Volpe would need to be signed away from a college commitment to Vanderbilt, but the allure of the Yankees, and a large bonus, could do the trick if they take a chance on him.
Isaiah Campbell, RHP, and Matt Cronin, LHP, Arkansas
FanGraphs projects two Arkansas pitchers to go 68th and 69th overall, right behind the Yankees in their mock draft. Campbell, a big 6-foot-4 and 225 lbs right-hander, had bone spurs removed from his elbow two seasons ago, but his stock shot back up this year as he dominated his SEC competition. Campbell’s physique and repertoire (fastball/slider/splitter) remind me a lot of Taijuan Walker. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Yankees select a big right-hander with high-90s fastball potential with their second round pick, if given the chance.
Cronin ranks 73rd overall on the MLB Pipeline draft prospect list, which could put him right in the Yankees’ line of sight at 67th overall. Cronin is a three-year reliever at Arkansas and could be the first true relief pitcher taken in the draft. The 6-foot-2 southpaw throws a mid-90s fastball with high spin rates and a curveball that comes straight over the top. The Yankees could select Cronin and try to speed him through the system in a similar fashion to Jacob Lindgren a few years back, as he likely won’t need a ton of seasoning in the minor leagues. Everybody knows the Yankees value their bullpen as much as anybody, so it would only be fitting if they were the team to snag Cronin in the second round.
Spencer Jones, 1B/LHP, La Costa Canyon HS (CA)
Jones, ranked number 71 by MLB Pipeline, is one of the more fascinating prospects in the draft. At 6-foot-7, he has potential both on the mound and as a position player. He’s listed as a first baseman and pitcher, but also has the plus speed to project as a corner outfielder. The Yankees haven’t shied away from size in the past, and it’s served them quite well. Jones is my prediction for the Yankees’ second round draft choice if he’s available at 67. He’s currently committed to Vanderbilt and will need to be signed away from his commitment, so if the Yankees save some money at 30 or 38, Jones could be the reason why.
It’s hard to predict which players will be available in the late second round, as so much depends on the motives of other organizations, but these five players are worth keeping an eye on as the draft unfolds next week.