As we get closer to the 2018 MLB Draft, outlets begin to ramp up their coverage of the event. That means FanGraphs and MLB.com now have mock drafts that cover the entire first round, which should give us an idea at the kind of talent that the Yankees could be targeting this year. Both outlets have the team taking high school bats in the first round.
FanGraphs has the Yankees taking middle infielder Xavier Edwards with their first round pick. The Florida high school infielder is ranked by MLB.com as the no. 38 prospect in the draft. He is said to have 70-80 grade speed and enough talent in the field to get a chance at shortstop before he is pushed to second base.
On the offensive side of his game, it’s unlikely that the 5-foot, 10-inch Edwards will become a home run machine, though he could add doubles power as he ages. His commitment to Vanderbilt is believed to be strong enough that he would need to go high before forgoing college.
Jim Callis at MLB.com has the Yankees taking shortstop Brian Turang with their first round pick. He has previously been compared favorably to Christian Yelich, just with more speed and can play shortstop. He is currently ranked as the no. 22 prospect in the draft, and is expected to stick long-term at shortstop. While he doesn’t have on specific standout tool, he does everything well and relies on his speed and contact skills to get on base.
On a down note, the California high schooler was once considered to be the top prospect in this year’s draft class. Poor performance and over exposure has ultimately hurt his value. The offense has been down since the summer, following him through the season. The high pedigree is still there, but his inability to dominate at the high school level has turned some evaluators off.
Any team would be happy to land up-the-middle talent in the first round of the MLB Draft. The Yankees have previously gone to that well, and it has given them some depth at second and short. However, it feels like neither of these two are exactly up to snuff as far as first-round players go. Taking an undersized second baseman in the first round seems like a bad idea, and Turang’s value is already on the downward spiral.
The Yankees already took Kyle Holder in the first round of the 2015 Draft, and that hasn’t worked out as well as anyone would have hoped. It would be nice to see them take someone who isn’t already so questionable. Both Edwards and Turang have their value, but they will likely be better off going to college and getting some extra time to develop before turning pro. The Yankees can probably do better in the first round.