Working with limited draft picks, the Yankees front office drew strong reviews for the players they drafted in the shortened 2020 amateur draft. The first look at how these players compare to their peers will be through the organizational prospect ranking that are starting to come out. Baseball America has updated their top-30 prospect rankings for each organization to include the recent draft picks, and all three of the Yankees 2020 picks are on the list.
University of Arizona catcher Austin Wells was the Yankees’ first-round selection this season when he was picked 28th overall. This was the second time that the Yankees drafted Wells after using a late round pick on him 2018. Officially signed with the Yankees, Wells debuts as the sixth best Yankees prospect according to Baseball America. He fits between shortstops Oswald Peraza ranked fifth and last year’s top pick Anthony Volpe ranked seventh.
Nobody is questioning Wells’ bat after he slashed .357/.476/.560 in 71 college games. There are questions if he will remain as a catcher, but the Yankees are going to develop him at the position for now. Wells is the Yankees best catching prospect, ahead of 18-year-old Antonio Gomez at 23rd and 2018’s first round pick Anthony Seigler at 25th.
Gomez was a highly regarded international free agent in 2018, and played last season in the Gulf Coast League. Anthony Seigler was slowed by injuries in 2019 only playing 30 games for Low-A Charleston. Absent from the list is 2018’s second round pick Josh Breaux, who also battled injuries in 2019, but hit 13 home runs in just 51 games. Wells’ advanced bat could push him directly into line with Seigler and Breaux for playing time.
Despite being the Yankees last pick of the draft, right-handed pitcher Beck Way comes in next as the 16th ranked Yankees prospect. The Yankees system continues to be loaded with pitching, and Way is the 11th ranked pitcher in the system. With a nod to his high ceiling, Way is ranked ahead of T.J. Sikkema who was taken 38th overall in the 2019 draft after a strong college career.
Coming out of the junior college ranks, Way ranked as a top-100 draft prospect but some teams stayed away believing that his commitment to college baseball powerhouse LSU made him a tough player to sign. When action resumes for minor leaguers, Way will be pitching at a comparable level as two of the pitchers near him on the rankings — Yoendrys Gomez and Matt Sauer.
Ahead of Way on rankings, Gomez — the Yankees 13th ranked prospect — flashed incredible potential in 2019. He reached Low-A Charleston, drawing the attention of many scouts who see a very high ceiling for the righty. Also ranked in the middle of the Yankees top-30 is right-handed pitcher Matt Sauer, the Yankees 2nd round pick from 2017 who checks in at 19th on this list. Sauer would have returned to game action this summer after going down with Tommy John surgery in early 2019.
In the third round the Yankees selected Arizona State University second baseman Trevor Hauver. Hauver played outfield in college, but has experience from high school and summer ball playing on the infield. Baseball America sees him as the Yankees 28th best prospect, and he is right next to several other players at the position.
Coming in just ahead of Hauver on the BA rankings is the 2019 Short-Season A Staten Island middle infield of Ezequiel Duran and Josh Smith. Both players are listed as second baseman on the rankings, but Smith only played shortstop last season after being drafted.
Duran led the NY-Penn League in home runs and is considered a top-100 prospect by FanGraphs. Smith hit .324/.450/.477 in his professional debut after being drafted in the second round in 2019. Hauver is no slouch with the bat, posting an OPS over 1.000 during his last two college seasons. Hauver also saw his power trend upwards each season in college, hitting five home runs in just 17 games this season.
The Yankees added a strong crop of players during the abbreviated 2020 draft. It should be considered a success when all three players drafted are slated to be among the best in the organization.