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Yankees linked to two college arms in recent mock drafts

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The Yankees have a lot of pitching depth in their minor league system, could they be looking to add more?

USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

The Major League Baseball amateur draft is rapidly approaching and new mock drafts and analysis is coming out on a near daily basis. Two of these mock drafts from last week have the Yankees linked to a pair of hard throwing college right-handers. Lets take a look at the draft profiles of Clayton Beeter and Cole Wilcox those two pitchers who could hear their name called when the Yankees pick 28th overall on June 10th.

Baseball America released their latest mock draft in the middle of last week and had the Yankees taking right-handed pitcher Cole Wilcox. The 6-foot-5 right hander exploded out of the gate for a talented University of Georgia team with a 1.57 ERA, and 32 strikeouts against only two walks in 23 innings this spring prior to the COVID shutdown.

Wilcox was a very good prospect coming out of high-school in 2018, but chose to follow through on his commitment to the University of Georgia after being a late round draft pick. He is a draft eligible sophomore, which has some teams worried that he could ask for a big signing bonus and then return to college if his number is not met.

Wilcox is a power pitcher who attacks hitter with a 93-97 mph fastball, that he has run all the way up to 100 mph in the past. He pairs this pitch with a mid-80s slider and changeup.

Wilcox worked mostly out of the bullpen as a freshman and had planned on honing in his slider during the 2020 campaign. The pitch has flashed the ability to be a plus offering, but will have to be improved at the highest levels.

Some scouts feel that Wilcox may be asked to modify his delivery to maximize the advantage that his tall frame provides. There is also a concern that if his secondary pitches do not continue to develop that he will be a bullpen arm by the time he reaches the majors.

MLB Pipeline has Wilcox ranked as their 23rd best draft prospect, while Baseball America has him as their 24th. Despite being ranked higher than where the Yankees will be drafting he has repeatedly fallen to their range of the draft in mock drafts.

The other college arm recently linked to the Yankees is Texas Tech right-hander Clayton Beeter. The 21-year-old is getting first round buzz from various sources despite being ranked 51st by MLB Pipeline and 80th by Baseball America.

One of the reasons for the rising hype is that Beeter is producing the high spin rates that analytically-inclined teams love. This is true for both his fastball and curveball, and even though his college career consists of a very small sample size the most recent product that scouts saw was very impressive.

Beeter is likely linked with the Yankees due to his strong analytic profile. Over the last year the organization has brought in some of the more analytically inclined pitching minds, with major league pitching coach Matt Blake and organizational pitching director Sam Briend leading the charge. Both have experience in high profile pitching labs that are finding ways to maximize the potential in many young pitchers’ raw stuff.

In 21 innings this season Beeter struck out 33, while only walking four batters. This is a dramatic improvement from this 2019 campaign out of the bullpen where he had a 8.7 BB/9 rate. Scouts are openly wondering if the improvement in control is real or if the player with the high walk rate will return in a larger sample size.

His body of work in college was limited due to Tommy John surgery prior to his freshman season. As he was recovering from Tommy John surgery he required arthroscopic surgery to clean out his elbow. There are obvious concerns on the injury front as Beeter has not been able to prove that he is a durable starting pitching option.

When he has pitched, Beeter shows an above average fastball, slider and curveball. Those pitches are mixed with a solid change up to keep hitters off balance. He routinely throws his fastball in the 93-96 range, and has hit 98 mph with it.

The curveball is described as a ‘hammer’ that generates swings and misses. This pitch gets strong reviews across his scouting reports, yet some scouts think that his mid-80s slider is even better.

Due to his low draft rankings it feels like Beeter should be on the board for the Yankees when they draft 28th overall. It does feel like numerous sources have him linked with a first round team, however, so it is possible that he is gone before the Yankees get to pick.

The Yankees have been linked to numerous players over the last few months as the draft approaches. They have a recent history of drafting college pitchers like Clarke Schmidt and TJ Sikkema when they are looking near the top of the draft. Both Cole Wilcox and Clayton Beeter would be exciting arms to follow, but come with questions about their ceiling.