To kick off Pinstripe Alley's 2016 MLB Draft coverage the staff has been taking a look back at the draft classes of recent memory. The 2015 draft was less than a year ago, so it should still be fresh in most people's minds. The vast majority of people know about the promise of James Kaprielian and the questions surrounding Kyle Holder's bat, but who else might be special from the draft a year ago?
Before landing on the disabled list, Kaprielian was showing everyone exactly what made him a first round pick in 2015. The 22-year-old right-hander was cruising through High-A with a 1.50 ERA in 18 innings while holding opposing batters to a .136 average before injury struck. Hal Steinbrenner said on Wednesday that Kaprielian was due back in 4-6 weeks, so here's hoping he picks up right where he left off.
The team's 13th round pick, Trey Amburgey, has also impressed in his first full season of professional baseball. As a center fielder for the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs, Amburgey has batted .281/.347/.500 with seven doubles and seven stolen bases. His teammate, outfielder Jhalan Jackson, has the kind of power for days that really turns heads. He hit very well last season and earlier this year before slumping a bit as of late. Jackson, drafted 213th overall, has the rare combination of huge power and strong outfield defense. He's a good bet to turn it around before the season is over.
Surprisingly, second round pick Kyle Holder has gotten off to a solid start with the bat in 2016. He's batting .280/.306/.354, which isn't bad for a glove-first shortstop who had a .527 OPS in his first half-season as a professional. His calling card in the draft was his glove, and that's what will carry him to the majors if he gets there. Holder will have to hit a bit to make it, however, and he's doing okay in that department so far.
One player from the 2015 class, aside from Kaprielian, with the ability to move through the system quickly is fifth round pick, right-handed pitcher Chance Adams out of Dallas Baptist. Adams stood out in a big way in his first taste of the pros with a 1.78 ERA between three levels of the minors in just half a season. As a more advanced college pitcher, the Yankees won't need to leave him at each level once Adams shows he can master it.
A few of the draftees from last year aren't playing yet in 2016, thanks to the fact that every level below Low-A doesn't start until after the draft. One player to keep an eye on when those teams get underway, however, is outfielder Isiah Gilliam. The Yankees drafted Gilliam in the 20th round at 603 overall, and it seemed like he might be a tough sign that far down the board. He ended up signing and put up some strong numbers in the Gulf Coast Leagues last year. The 19-year-old batted .296/.359/.415 in 42 games.
It's far too soon to fully judge the Yankees' 2015 draft class, but there are quite a few names who have shown real promise in their limited time as Yankees. Some of these picks could pay off in the very near future, which would restore a lot of confidence in the team's ability to draft players capable of making an impact at the big league level.