The MLB Draft is complete and over the coming days, the Yankees will start announcing the signings of many of the players who they selected during the 3-day, 20-round process. As these players come in, there will be movement in the Yankees’ prospect rankings, as three or four players from this class may be able to crack the organizational Top 30.
Rumored for several weeks, the Yankees loved Vanderbilt University’s Spencer Jones and selected him 25th overall, near the end of the first round. The 6-foot-7 Jones is a former two-way player who gave up pitching after Tommy John surgery derailed his pitching career early in college.
Some scouts believe that Jones can play center field, but he played 62 games in right this year for the Commodores. If the Yankees view Jones as a center fielder, then he will likely be the team’s second-ranked prospect at the position behind Jasson Domínguez. Both players are at similar points in their development, as they have tremendous power with elite exit velocities, but it doesn’t always translate into home runs and the type of impact that you would expect in games.
Everson Pereira is also likely to be ranked similarly to Jones. The 21-year-old is just over a month older than the newcomer to the organization and was recently promoted to Double-A. Pereira found his power stroke midseason produced a terrific hot streak from June to early July. Like Jones, some scouts believe that both Domínguez and Pereira will be corner outfielders at some point in their career, but unlike Jones, both players in the organization have been primarily center fielders so far this year.
If the Yankees play Jones in a corner, however, he will be the team’s top corner-outfield prospect the moment that he signs. The only other corner outfielder among the Yankees’ top 30 prospects right now is Elijah Dunham. The 24-year-old in Double-A went unselected during the shortened five-round draft in 2020, but has been a strong performer since joining the system and especially turned heads during his time in the Arizona Fall League.
If Jones is indeed the Yankees’ top corner-outfield prospect, then the team’s fourth-round pick, Anthony Hall, is in the mix to be in the top three or four. Ranked as the 144th-best draft prospect by MLB.com, it is unclear if Hall will crack the Yankees’ Top 30 when draft picks are added to the ranks in the coming weeks, but his overall profile compares similarly to Dunham. Hall almost certainly will start playing for Low-A Tampa in the near future, especially with the recent promotions of both Domínguez and Grant Richardson, who had been regularly manning the outfield at that level.
With the 61st overall pick, the Yankees selected right-handed pitcher Drew Thorpe. The Cal Poly product was a strong performer for a number of years in college and will be expected to move quickly through the lower parts of the organization.
After throwing 104 innings this season in college, it is possible that Thorpe will make his professional debut this year but it’s unlikely that he will see extended action. When he takes the mound, he could be expected to start as advanced as the High-A level and will likely be ranked ahead of the second and third-round picks from 2021, Brendan Beck and Brock Selvidge (the latter is currently 13th in the system).
Thorpe and the Yankees’ third round pick, Trystan Vrieling, were both rated higher in pre-draft rankings than either Beck or Selvidge was in 2021. It is not a perfect science to compare draft classes, but it does give an indication of where the scouting community thinks they ranked.
Unanimous First Team All-American ✅— Cal Poly Baseball (@calpolystangs) July 15, 2022
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Once added to the Yankees’ top prospects, it is likely that Vrieling will rank in the same neighborhood as a pitcher such as Beck Way, who is currently No. 20, or possibly higher.
After the fourth round, the Yankees bet big on college pitching the rest of the way. Word is coming out that a number of the prospects selected have the type of analytical traits to their pitches that the Yankees have been able to capitalize on to improve performance on the field with other prospects. It is hard to predict right now, but maybe there is another Will Warren in this class who will take a major step forward and become a major prospect within a year of the draft.
The MLB Draft is complete, and the Yankees have added some new and exciting players to their minor league system. The players who will be among the top prospects in the system immediately are balanced between hitters and pitchers. We will now start to find out who can maximize their potential and climb the organizational ladder all the way to the major leagues.