Through 10 rounds, it appears as though the Yankees have an organizational mantra as to how they’ve approached the early portion of the draft: “You can never have too much pitching.” After choosing a shortstop, two pitchers, a second baseman, and then a first baseman, the Yankees made four more consecutive pitching selections before adding another shortstop. With 6 of their first 10 picks used on pitchers, the Yankees seem to have embraced the lottery ticket nature of prospect development, perhaps in their own attempt at building a “stable” down the line.
With the 183rd overall pick, the Yankees took Auburn righty Richard Fitts, whose 6-foot-3, 215-pound body and mid-to-upper 90s fastball portend a solid foundation from which to build a viable pitcher. However, despite preseason acclaim, a foot injury combined with his middling slider and splitter to hold him back from truly excelling as a junior in 2021 (5.88 ERA in 41.1 innings).
At No. 213, the Yankees took Robert Ahlstrom, a left-hander from Oregon who played in the Cape Cod League as recently as it has existed (2019). His improved ability to play his slider off of his fastball led to the best season of his collegiate career, finishing his junior year with a 2.50 ERA after a rougher first couple of seasons.
In the eighth round, the Yankees took Southeastern Louisiana’s Will Warren, a right-handed pitcher whose spin rate caught New York’s eyes. At the conclusion of his career at the Southland Conference school, Warren maintained a 0.57 WHIP while racking up a bundle of season’s-end awards including being named 2021 LSWA All-Louisiana (2nd Team) and 2021 All-Southland First Team.
The Yankees took their last pitcher of the afternoon in the ninth round in Chandler Champlain from the University of Southern California. The big, 6-foot-5, 220-pound lefty fell off after being considered a top-100 pick out of high school in 2018, but still possesses the frame and arsenal to make something of himself in the future.
With their last pick of the day, the Yankees picked Benjamin Cowles, a shortstop from Maryland. Bucking the trend of arm-after-arm, the club opted for a junior who likely wouldn’t have fallen as far as he did, had there been more than five rounds in last year’s draft. As with Peter’s earlier poll on the rounds two through five picks, click on the name of the player desired to read full write-ups of each of these prospect.
With the second half of the draft still to come, it’s worth keeping an eye on whether the Yankees have gotten their pitching prospect selections out of the way, or if the mentality continues throughout the remaining rounds. What do you think of the Yankees’ second quarter of the draft? What grade would you assign this group of selections?
What grade do you give the Yankees’ picks in rounds six through ten?
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