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MLB Draft 2021: Yankees’ picks rounds 11-15

Jack Neely was the Yankees’ first pick of Day 3 in the 11th round.

2021 Major Leauge Baseball Draft Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The final day of the MLB Draft is here, and the Yankees have plenty of picks left to make. We’re officially only halfway through the draft, though the picks should be coming in swiftly for the remainder of the event, so get ready for a blitz of incoming future Yankees. This is the bread and butter of any organization’s farm system: the picks here can separate the good farm system from the bad, and the great from the good.

We’ll update this post with information on the Yankees’ draft picks from rounds 11 through 15 as they are announced. There will be no time between pick announcements on the broadcast.

Round 11, Pick 333: Jack Neely (RHP)
Ohio State, 6’8”, 225 lbs.

Neely began his collegiate career at Texas before transferring out to a JUCO in San Jacinto, and then back up to D1 at Ohio State. Prior to the 2021 season, Baseball America wrote that he “uses his height well” and generates plenty of grounders with a “heavy fastball-curveball combination.” His fastball has been clocked as high as 97 mph.

However, Neely has struggled mightily at the D1 level — he posted a 14.90 ERA in 2019 with the Longhorns, and a 6.10 ERA in 2021 with the Buckeyes. Walks and homers did the majority of the damage against him, though he did post impressive strikeout ratios, so perhaps the team sees something they can adjust to get him on the right path.

Round 12, Pick 363: Ben Rice (C)
Dartmouth, 6’2”, 205 lbs.

Rice’s collegiate stat line is a meager .242/.309/.364 slash line with a single homer in 30 games overall, but that’s in large part due to the fact that Dartmouth and the rest of the Ivys didn’t play this season. Rice’s eye-catching performance in the 2020 Futures League is what earned him a selection here: .350/.467/.683 with 11 home runs and MVP honors with the Worcester Bravehearts. BA says that Rice has a “big arm behind the plate,” and he’ll join a loaded class of catchers in the Yankees’ system. If his bat continues to develop like it did in summer league play, then he will find playing time.

Round 13, Pick 393: Zach Messinger (RHP)
Virginia, 6’6”, 225 lbs.

Messinger is a high-variance guy — he’s split time as a starter and a reliever in his collegiate career, spending most of this year coming out of the ‘pen. He did get called for a critical start in the ACC Tournament, however, and impressed enough scouts in 5.1 innings of work against Virginia Tech to earn approval as a future starter. BA ranks Messinger as their 251st player on the board, noting a fastball that “sits in the 89-91 mph range, but has been up to 96 at its best, with some downhill plane out of Messinger’s higher, three-quarter arm slot.” Messinger also throws a slider and a curveball that have similar appearances out of the hand, plus a changeup that was rarely used and rarely effective.

Round 14, Pick 423: Sean Hermann (RHP)
Durant HS (FL), 6’0”, 160 lbs.

Hermann is just the second high school player taken by the Yankees this year, and a University of South Florida commit. Hermann is a three-pitch pitcher, relying on a fastball that tops out at 90 mph to set up a slider and changeup that sit in the high 70s. He’s added six mph to his heater since 2018 according to Perfect Game, so he could ramp up to somewhere in the mid 90s by the time he’s out of college, or preferably a few years into his professional career with the Yanks. Hermann owns a sterling line this season: 9-0 with a 0.36 ERA, boasting 136 strikeouts to just 13 walks in 78 innings of work.

Round 15, Pick 453: Danny Watson (RHP)
VCU, 6’7”, 235 lbs.

The Yankees add another giant on the mound, taking the imposing Watson out of his junior season. Watson pitched to a 4.06 ERA in 19 games (six starts) for the Rams, striking out 55 and walking 21 in 44.1 innings. His fastball touches the mid 90s and comes out of a lower three-quarters slot that sets up well for a slider with plenty of bite. Watson did struggle with his command a fair bit, walking far more batters than he had previously in his career while also plunking 15 batters.