As we approach the draft we are continuing to take a look at players likely to draw the attention of the Yankees, who will be drafting 28th overall. With a farm system full of high powered arms, the Yankees could be looking to add a few more in this year’s draft — it’s considered one of the best pitching drafts in recent years. Bryce Jarvis and Slade Cecconi are two pitchers who the Yankees should strongly consider with their first round pick.
Jarvis comes from a baseball family, as his father Kevin pitched in the major leagues for parts of 12 seasons. If you are looking for a connection that could link a player to the Yankees system, then Jarvis fits the bill. Kevin Jarvis’ career saw him play in the Cincinnati organization where he was a teammate of current Yankees manger Aaron Boone, and for the Padres where he was teammates with Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin.
The Yankees already drafted him once, in the 37th round last season when he was a draft eligible sophomore. Jarvis bet on himself last year, and his draft stock has skyrocketed since. Bypassing the chance to play in the elite Cape Cod League or any other summer leagues, Jarvis chose to work on his game in the pitching labs of Driveline Baseball and Cressey Sports Performance.
Last summer the Yankees were hiring Sam Briend from Driveline Baseball to be their Director of Pitching across the system. In addition after the season the Yankees hired Matt Blake who happens to be the former pitching coordinator for Cressey Sports Performance. These men are very well versed in the pitching lab atmospheres that Jarvis sought out to improve his game last season, and likely have all the contacts they need to build a good profile on the young righty.
The results of Jarvis’s summer work were on full display in the fall and early this spring as he brought his fastball into the 93-96 mph range. In addition, he showed improved command lowering his walk rate and controlling the competition.
Jarvis pitched 27 innings for the University of Duke this spring, registering 40 strikeouts with a 0.67 ERA. He made national news when he pitched a 15 strikeout perfect game against Cornell. Scouts have some questions if his stuff was going to hold up over the course of a full season, as his fastball velocity decreased over the course of the 2019 season.
To combat this, Jarvis worked hard to get stronger over the summer, adding nearly 20 lbs of muscle. The early end of the season robbed him of the ability to show that he could maintain his performance through a full college season.
Jarvis’s changeup is his second best weapon after his fastball. He can throw it with nearly identical arm speed and spin as his fastball. With two well above average pitches in his arsenal, Jarvis is also able to throw a curveball and slider that are both considered above average.
He is ranked as the 25th best draft prospect by MLB Pipeline and 37th by Baseball America, but many of the recent mock drafts have him going in the first round. With his dramatically improved performance, and a Yankees team that showed interest in him already it is hard to see him falling past the Yankees if he is still available.
Another pitcher who could be available for the Yankees with the 28th overall pick is University of Miami right-hander Slade Cecconi. The 6-foot-4 righty is a draft eligible sophomore who could be right in the Yankees wheel house.
Cecconi looked like he was going to be a first round draft pick coming out of high school, but a minor injury during his senior season caused some teams to back off and he followed through on his commitment to the University of Miami.
After a solid freshman campaign, Cecconi looked very good this spring through four starts as he had a 3.80 ERA, with 12.7 K/9, and a 1.031 WHIP. The big righty has a fastball that can sit in the mid-90’s and regularly reaches 96 mph.
Backing up his fastball is a very good slider that comes in as fast as 87 mph. Right now Cecconi only has a serviceable curve ball and changeup. He will have to improve these pitches if he is going to progress as a starting pitcher.
There are concerns as Cecconi tends to lose a little velocity later in his starts. This, combined with his lack of a reliable third pitch could lead to him ending up in the bullpen in the future.
His strong frame and big fastball make him easy to project as a middle to upper rotation starter, however, so long as he develops his third and fourth pitches. Cecconi is ranked as the 31st best draft prospect by MLB Pipeline and 32nd by Baseball America. Baseball America had him going to the Yankees in their most recent mock draft.
If the Yankees are looking to choose a right-handed pitcher then Bryce Jarvis and Slade Cecconi are going to be on their radar. Jarvis took a massive leap forward, and flashed the potential to be a steal with 28th pick if he is the ability. Cecconi also flashes potential, and has many of the traits that scouts are looking for in a first round arm.