The Yankees have looked to the high school ranks for their top draft picks over the last two seasons. This year the organization could continue that trend with Jordan Walker, a third baseman from Stone Mountain, Georgia.
Standing 6-feet-5 inches and weighing 220 pounds, Walker fits the profile of the bigger sluggers inside the Yankees’ organization. Scouts often have concerns about taller players, as long arms can lead to long and exploitable swings. Over the past few seasons, the Yankees have not shown any fear when it comes to bringing taller players into the mix.
With Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees have two taller players who have harnessed their swings to become offensive weapons at the major-league level. The team has also seen taller position players like Chris Gittens, Kevin Alcantara and Anthony Garcia find levels of success in the minor leagues.
Walker has a commitment to Duke University and a few scouts have questioned what it will take to sign him out of high school. With parents who went to MIT and Harvard, there may be pressure on Walker to follow through on his college commitment if he is not given a serious offer. This could give the Yankees pause, as they have already given up their second and fifth round picks to sign Gerrit Cole.
It would take a talented player for the Yankees to make that kind of commitment, and Walker fits that mold. He was already considered one of the better high school players heading into the spring season, and he was able to improve his stock before the suspension of the season. Baseball America promoted him up their board to the 34th-best draft prospect in this year’s draft. MLB Pipeline has him at 33 on their draft rankings. He is considered the best high school corner infielder available and has a good chance to still be on the board when the Yankees pick 28th.
With a large frame, Walker has enough athleticism that he should be able to not just play third base, but thrive defensively at the hot corner well into his career. The concerns about him growing out of the position at some point are mitigated, as he should be able to continue to play as a first baseman or a corner outfielder. He has enough arm strength to be a solid right fielder as he has thrown in the low 90s off the mound.
Walker has solid raw power, and scouts have seen him hit against good competition over the summer and early this spring. He should continue to grow into his power and become an elite slugger if he approaches his major-league potential. Currently his bat speed is in the 98th percentile for all the players measured by the Perfect Game prospect evaluating service. More encouraging is how easily he generates that bat speed with a smooth swing.
While the third base position is well manned at the major league level for the Yankees, it is not the deepest position in their minor league system. Walker would instantly become the top Yankees prospect at the position. As a high school draftee, his timeline for climbing through the minors would be a little longer than players taken out of college, but his ceiling may also be higher. Also with solid athletic ability he will not be locked into a single position as he could have the ability to play multiple positions on his way to the majors.
Jordan Walker could be the Yankees’ third first-round pick to come out of high school in as many years. The talented third base prospect could be just what the Yankees’ system is looking for with a powerful bat and solid defensive ability. The Yankees will be waiting on draft day, and Walker is a great option if he is still on the board.