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Mock drafts link the Yankees to college performers

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The top public prospect analysts link the Yankees to a few collegiate bats and arms.

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New York Yankees v Washington Nationals Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The 2020 MLB Draft is just days away. This year’s edition may be a bastardized version, with the league cutting the draft to a mere five rounds in an effort to keep costs down. The Yankees will still have work to do, though much less on draft day than usual, as they own just three picks in the entire draft.

With two days to go, let’s get a feel for who the public experts believe the Yankees could take with their first selection, the 28th-overall pick. In recent years, the Yankees have seemed to prioritize high-character players with slightly limited upside early in the draft. Will they go in a similar direction this year?

Here’s a rundown of who the Yankees select in a variety of mock drafts from across the public sphere:

Yankees Mock Drafts

Mock Draft CBS Sports The Athletic ESPN MLB
Mock Draft CBS Sports The Athletic ESPN MLB
Author Mike Axisa Keith Law Kiley McDaniel Jonathan Mayo
Yankees Selection Austin Wells, C Bobby Miller, RHP Bobby Miller, RHP Nick Loftin, SS

Axisa links the Yankees to Arizona backstop Austin Wells, a draft-eligible sophomore. The kid can rake, having put together a .357/.476/.560 slash line in college, but he may not have a position. In his big board, The Athletic’s Keith Law (subscription required) notes that scouts don’t think Wells can stick at the position. ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel ($) simply lists Wells as a first baseman on his big board. The Yankees would be getting a slugger with the soon-to-be-21 Wells, but they also might be getting a man without a defensive home.

McDaniel and Law list Wells just outside of their top-40 draft prospects. FanGraphs pegs wells at 40th. Based just off those rankings, Wells could look like a stretch, though certainly not an astronomical one.

Both McDaniel and Law point to Bobby Miller, a towering 6-foot-5 right-hander out of Louisville. Miller was popped in the 38th round of the 2017 MLB Draft, but opted to go to school. The move paid off, as most mocks have Miller coming off the board in the first round. Miller owns a 3.28 ERA in 170 innings at the collegiate level, striking out 175 batters in the process. He reportedly can run his fastball to the upper 90s on occasion to go along with a quality slider and work-in-progress changeup.

The public big boards are a bit split on the 21-year-old Miller. Law praises his velocity but is critical of his control in ranking Miller 57th. McDaniel ranks Miller 60th. FanGraphs slots Miller all the way up at 28th, however, likening him to Cubs 2019 first-rounder Ryan Jensen.

MLB’s Jonathan Mayo goes in a different direction, sending Baylor shortstop Nick Loftin to New York. Mayo writes that Loftin’s ability to stick at short “as a college performer would put him high on the Yankees’ list”. That doesn’t sound entirely dissimilar to the Yankees’ last first pick, Anthony Volpe. Volpe came out of high school, but was praised for his glove at short and his makeup.

Loftin hit a somewhat under-powered .311/.370/.479 during his time in college. He showed impressive bat control, striking out just 48 times across three seasons, but also only totaled 14 home runs.

Law ranks Loftin 52nd overall, while McDaniel puts him 41st. FanGraphs is highest again, putting Loftin 33rd. The read on Loftin seems to be that he’s relatively safe, with a solid glove up the middle providing a reasonable floor, and a steady bat that lacks pop. That doesn’t sound like a sexy pick in the first round, but I suppose it’s not exactly easy to conjure up sexy picks at the end of the round.

What do you think about the players the Yankees have been linked to so far? Do you have a prospect in mind that you would like to see the team target at the top of the draft? Let us know in the comments below.