With pitchers and catchers set to report this week, all eyes will naturally gravitate towards spring training camps. Major league clubs aren’t the only teams in action, though, as high school and college squads get into shape ahead of the 2020 season. For many athletes, this is a critical period before they showcase themselves for June’s draft.
Yankees own the 28th overall pick
The Bombers hold the 28th overall pick in this year’s draft, per MLB.com. That’s the penultimate pick of the round, just ahead of the Dodgers. While slot values have yet to be announced, last year the Brewers held the 28th pick, and that came with $2,493,900. In a funny turn of events, the last time the Yankees picked 28th overall was in 2008—the year they selected and failed to sign Gerrit Cole.
Because the club signed Cole as a free agent in December, the Yankees surrendered their second and fifth round picks. Their next pick would come in the third round, pick number 102 overall, and that came with a $571,400 bonus in 2019.
Mock draft links Yankees to Pete Crow-Armstrong
Baseball America released an early mock draft last month (subscription required), and they have the Yankees selecting prep center fielder Pete Crow-Armstong. Here’s what they have to say about the Harvard Westlake standout and Vanderbilt commit:
You probably know Pete Crow-Armstrong’s name because he was the top player in the high school class entering the summer. However, he never hit like the No. 1 prospect and scouts left the summer more concerned about his pure hit tool. That said, Crow-Armstrong is one of the better defensive center fielders in recent years—a virtual lock to stick there long term—and has a chance to rebound with a strong offensive spring in Southern California. Perhaps this is too much of a slide for PCA, but it is a strong draft class.
Erik Longenhagen of FanGraphs concurs on this draft being noticeably deep. He also acknowledges Crow-Armstrong’s poor summer showing could hurt his stock. The Yankees have pounced on this type of talent before, namely Blake Rutherford back in 2016. A toolsy prep bat from Southern California also screams Damon Oppenheimer.
That said, Crow-Armstrong represents one of the top names in this year’s draft, so I will be shocked if he falls all the way to the Yankees. In a mock draft last summer, Jim Callis projected him to go number four overall. FanGraphs’ wonderful draft resource, The Board, ranks him the 23rd best draft candidate. We’ll see what happens as the season plays out, but this would be best-case scenario stuff for the Bombers.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story had Crow-Armstrong at tenth on The Board. The database was updated, and so has this article.