The second half of the season is officially underway. However, there are still a few more topics to wrap up our coverage of the 2021 MLB Draft. The Yankees selected 20 players in the draft — you can view them here — five of whom participated in the 2021 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship. Let’s take a look at who these players are, and how they performed for their respective schools.
The Yankees took Beck in the second round with the 55th overall pick. The righty pitcher is a senior out of Stanford University, and pitched to a 3.15 ERA with 143 strikeouts in 108.2 innings. He turned in arguably the most impactful performance in the tournament of the five Yankees draft picks to participate.
Beck started Stanford’s second game of the tournament, a 12-4 win over UC Irvine in which he tossed seven innings, giving up two runs on seven hits with nine strikeouts on 116 pitches. Six days later, he threw a 7.1 inning gem, allowing two runs on six hits to go with 13 strikeouts on 114 pitches in the Cardinal’s 15-3 drubbing of Texas Tech.
Things didn’t go so well for Beck and the Cardinal in the CWS. He gave up six runs (three earned) on seven hits and three walks in 5.2 innings in a 10-4 loss to NC State, although he did still strikeout 10. Unfortunately, he was the losing pitcher in the final game of the season, giving up two runs in the bottom of the ninth of Vanderbilt’s walk-off elimination of Stanford.
The Yankees’ seventh-round pick out of Oregon is a left-handed starter who just finished his junior year. In 14 starts, Ahlstrom ran a 2.50 ERA with 92 strikeouts in 90 innings. He only appeared in one game in the College Baseball Tournament — eight innings giving up three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts on 129 pitches in a 7-3 victory over Gonzaga — as the Ducks were later bounced out by LSU in the regionals.
Cowles heard his name called by the Yankees in the 10th round. The shortstop out of Maryland slashed .287/.409/.632 and led the Big 10 with 18 home runs in only 48 games. He did not have the most successful tournament, going 2-for-15 with four strikeouts and four runs scored in four games. Like Ahlstrom, Cowles’ tournament ended early as the Terps were dumped out of the regionals by East Carolina.
Messinger, a 6-foot-6 righty pitcher out of Virginia, had an up-and-down season for the Cavaliers. Working mostly as a reliever, he appeared in 28 games (four starts), tallying a 4.89 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 57 innings. He had a stellar regional round, giving up two runs (one earned) with five strikeouts in 5.1 innings across three appearances.
The super regional and CWS didn’t go as swimmingly, as he surrendered at least two runs in three consecutive relief appearances. He gave up the game-losing run in the seventh inning of Virginia’s 6-5 loss to DBU in the super regionals. He also squandered the lead without recording an out in the eighth inning of a 6-5 loss to Mississippi State. Finally, he gave up two runs in the ninth inning of a 6-2 loss to Texas to seal Virginia’s exit from the tournament.
The Yankees selected Keegan with their penultimate pick in the draft. The righty catcher had been described as the most dangerous hitter on the CWS runner-up Vanderbilt squad. In 60 games, he batted .345/.427/.638 with 15 home runs and 57 RBIs. He also had a moderately productive tournament, going 11-for-45 with four home runs, 11 RBIs, and 12 runs scored.
Keegan got off to a blistering start in the tournament, launching two long balls and collecting five RBIs in the Commodores’ opening game 10-0 steamrolling of Presbyterian. He cooled off considerably after that though still offered some production at the plate, including three more multi-hit games in the regional and super regional rounds. However, he disappeared during the CWS, going 1-for-9 with five strikeouts against Mississippi State. Unfortunately for the Yankees, he has indicated he will return to Vanderbilt for his senior year as he hopes to boost his stock higher than a 19th-round selection.
(Note: For a full write-up on each of the players covered, simply click on their name and you will be linked to their draft profile)