With the Rangers' signing of Ian Desmond, the 2015-2016 free agent season has drawn to a close, at least as far as draft implications go. To sign Desmond, the Rangers forfeited the 19th overall pick in the draft, which likely factors into the already diminished cost of just $8 million. So he Yankees will have the 18th overall pick, which isn't too shabby since this will be just their third draft in the past 23 years with a top 20 selection.
Historically, the draft has always been a gamble, but the first round is the best shot at a big leaguer. The first five to ten picks overall have become pretty good bets in recent years, while the middle of the first round is mixed, though there are some gems. By taking a look at Baseball Reference's record of 18th overall picks in history, it's easy to see that there have been some decent players in that slot in the past few years: Sonny Gray, Corey Seager, Ike Davis, Pete Kozma, and R.A. Dickey. It's a mixed bag and certainly no indication of the future, but both big leaguers and super prospects have come from this slot.
This year, however, the 18th overall pick could have serious implications because this is a pretty exceptional draft class. Last year was incredibly light and lacked the type of impact talent one would hope to see at the top, but this year looks to be stacked. According to MLB.com's top 50 draft prospects, players around the 18th spot look incredibly attractive.
Third baseman and pitcher Josh Lowe has a 60-grade fastball and 50-grade pitching profile, as well as a 50-grade profile as a high school position player. William Benson offers 60-grade power and a 50-grade profile as a prep outfielder, and Drew Mendoza has a plus arm and overall league average skills as a high school third baseman.
There's also Cal Quantrill, son of reliever Paul Quantrill, a former Yankee and 14-year veteran. The younger Quantrill was thought to be a possible first overall pick before succumbing to Tommy John surgery. Louisville pitcher Kyle Funkhouser was the highest draft pick from 2015 (#35) to return to school after turning down a reported $1.7 million from the Dodgers, so he could be in the mix, though he's not off to a great start in 2016.
There's still plenty of time until the draft--the high school and college baseball season still has a lot to tell us as we parse through the talent--but I can confidently say that with a decent draft position at 18th overall, and a high quality first round this year, the Yankees won't be short on options.