With a lot of uncertainty around the 2020 major league season, one thing that has been agreed upon for now is that there will be an amateur draft this summer. What exactly that draft will look like is another matter, as it could be as short as five rounds.
With all amateur baseball seemingly done for the season and scouting shut down, draft boards are not going to change much before the draft. One player who is likely on the Yankees radar is Arizona State University third baseman Gage Workman.
The Yankees were already looking at a limited draft this coming season, as the signing of Gerrit Cole cost them their second and fifth round picks due to Qualifying Offer compensation. Now with the shortening of the draft the Yankees may only be able to draft three players if MLB sticks with a five round draft. The first of those picks will come at the tail end of the first round when they pick 28th overall.
Workman is a 6 feet 4 inch third baseman but many consider him a viable shortstop. Workman was bumped to third base as Arizona State has an incredibly talented infield that could see both Workman and shortstop Alika Williams go early in draft. MLB Pipeline has Workman ranked as the 32nd best draft prospect, while Baseball America has him down as the 48th best.
When we recently reviewed the Yankees third base depth in the minor leagues, third base was one of the weakest positions in the system. While future third base options will likely come from the strong shortstop depth that the Yankees have assembled in the minor leagues, Workman would be another piece that can fit into that depth.
Workman played shortstop this past summer in the Arizona Fall League, showing the ability to hang at that position. Beyond shortstop, scouts see someone who could play second base and has the tools to be a plus defender at the hot corner moving forward.
The switch hitting infielder has above average raw power that he displays more from left side of the plate. It is interesting that several scouting reports describe him as still having raw tools, considering that his father played through college and had a four year minor league career with the Dodgers and Padres. The Yankees have focused extensive resources on their player development over the last few seasons, so taking a raw talent with a ton of upside is something they could pursue.
Workman struggled early in the 2020 season posting just a .786 OPS, but that was only a small sample size of only 17 games. He is coming off two seasons starting for Arizona State, including a 2019 season where he hit .330/.413/.528 in 57 games.
The knock on Workman is that he may strikeout too much moving forward, so losing the majority of this season could be a major setback for his development. What he does have is youth on his side as he is younger than many of his draft eligible college peers due to the fact that he graduated from high school early. He will not turn 21-years-old until next October.
The Yankees have built a solid farm system that helped the team continue winning despite injury after injury in 2019. The draft is the cornerstone of that minor league system as it is a primary method to introduce new talent. A talented player like Gage Workman would fit the needs of the system and give the Yankees a player with both a high offensive and defensive ceiling.