The Yankees completed their part of the shortest MLB draft in history with just three picks. After a 48-hour pause, teams may now sign undrafted free agents. MLB has limited the resources that teams can use, capping signing bonuses to $20,000 and the money for a player to complete their college education.
So, who might the Bombers call on?
The Yankees have used rounds 5-10 to stock up on pitching over the last several drafts. Since 2017, the organization has only drafted two position players in those rounds. Considering that the 2020 draft was also considered to be the deepest pitching draft class in recent years, it is likely that the Yankees will attempt to bring in pitching through the undrafted free agency process.
The Yankees have shown interest in Andrew Abbott in the past, drafting him in the 32nd round in 2017. He was ranked as the 132nd best draft prospect by Baseball America heading into this draft after spending the last few years pitching for the University of Virginia. The 6-foot southpaw has struck out 13.7 batters per nine innings over his college career while working mostly in relief.
The Bombers have found success with pitchers from the Southeastern Conference and specifically the University of South Carolina. Both Jordan Montgomery and the Yankees’ top-pitching prospect Clarke Schmidt hail from the school. After watching the ace of their staff go off the board in the first round, South Carolina right-handers Tomas Farr and Brannon Jordan both went undrafted, but they have solid professional upside.
Farr only spent part of this shortened season with the Gamecocks after transferring in from Junior College. His first experience at the Division I level showed that he has the ability needed to excel, posting a 1.72 ERA in 15.1 innings. He can touch 97 mph with his fastball, and has a power curve. While his ability to start is questioned by some scouts, he could still be an effective reliever who moves quickly through the system.
Jordan was drafted late in 2019 by the Tampa Bay Rays out of Junior College, but went to South Carolina in an attempt to improve his draft stock. He was well on his way to doing that after a strong summer in the Northwoods League and the opportunity to start in the Gamecocks’ rotation. In 21 innings this spring, he struck out 32 batters with a 1.71 ERA. Jordan has a four-pitch mix and is know for pounding the strike zone.
Third base is one of the weakest positions in the Yankee farm system, as there are no prospects at the position in the organizations top-30 rankings. While probably not ready to crack that list on day one, Jamal O’Guinn from the University of Southern California (Aaron Boone’s alma mater) has the potential to do more that just make a prospects list. The 6-foot 4-inch third baseman, with an impressive .420 career OBP in college, possesses above average raw power that has not fully manifested itself in games yet. The Yankees could make a strong pitch to the young third baseman that he can develop that power inside their organization and become a star.
While there are questions if first-round pick Austin Wells will remain as a catcher in the professional ranks, those do not exist for University of Arkansas-Little Rock’s Kale Emshoff. Emshoff exploded out of the gate this season posting a 1.327 OPS through 17 games. Scouts do not yet know if his offensive improvement is for real, as it far outpaces anything he did during his first two years in college. It is well worth it for the Yankees to try and bring in the solid defensive catcher who could possibly have just unlocked his offensive potential.
There are a lot more players that would be strong fits in the organization. Pitchers like the University of Missouri’s Trey Dillard, University of Georgia’s Ryan Webb should be on the Yankees radar. First baseman Jacob Teter, and Centerfielder Billy Cook are two other names that could be getting a call from the organization as they attempt to fill out their organization with the best talent available.