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MLB Draft 2021: Yankees select Benjamin Cowles 303rd overall

With their 10th selection and their last pick of day two, the Yankees went back to the infield dirt.

2021 Major Leauge Baseball Draft Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

To wrap up this afternoon’s slate, the Yankees selected 21-year-old shortstop Benjamin Cowles with the 303rd overall pick. This breaks the Yankees’ streak of four straight pitchers selected, and means the team has used six of their first ten selections on pitching, with the other four being allocated to infielders.

Cowles comes in at 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, and spent the last three seasons with the University of Maryland. The righty swinger really broke out his junior season, slashing a robust .287/.409/.632 while leading the Big 10 with 18 dingers in only 48 games. The Rochester, NY native had managed just six home runs combined across his first two seasons as a Terrapin. Cowles did strike out 57 times in 2021, good for a 26-percent K rate, suggesting there’s some swing-and-miss to his game.

Although Baseball America named Cowles a Third-Team All-American and ranked him the fourth-best prospect out of Maryland, neither BA nor MLB Pipeline ranked him on their pre-draft big boards. That said, the middle rounds of this draft were always going to be deep, with the 2020 draft having been cut to just five rounds, sending heaps of talented players back into the pool. That the Yankees popped a player who just ran a 1.041 OPS against solid competition with their 10th pick feels like a fine outcome, even if Cowles didn’t make it onto the top public boards.

With that, the Yankees’ work on day two of the draft is done. Our coverage will continue tomorrow, as round 11 commences at noon.