We have just one more week to go before the 2018 MLB Draft takes place, so many outlets are busy cramming in their last bit of content. Keith Law has released his third mock draft for ESPN this season, and this time he has the Yankees taking a high school pitcher in the first round.
He has selected right-handed pitcher J.T. Ginn from Brandon High School in Mississippi as the 23rd overall pick of this year’s draft. As a prospect, he ranks as the 33rd-best player in this year’s class, which means the Yankees would have to like him a lot because there will likely be higher ranked players still available.
It turns out there’s a lot to like about the six-foot-two, 200-pound righty. MLB.com grades his fastball to be a 70 on the 20-80 scale, and his wipeout slider is not far behind. He sits around 95-97 mph, can nearly touch triple digits when he needs to, and has shown the ability to command the pitch to both sides of the plate. Ginn has a history of dominating talent on the showcase circuit, which is probably why evaluators are so impressed by him. When you perform on the biggest stage, you get the attention.
Despite his status as a power pitcher, he still needs to work on his changeup as a third pitch. The biggest red flag is his size because he needs to throw with maximum effort in order to generate that much velocity. Some believe it could ultimately push him to the bullpen because he may be unable to handle the workload of a professional pitcher.
Another ding against him is that he’s already 19 years old, making him one of the older players in his draft class, though that could end up working in his favor if he decides to attend Mississippi State. He will be eligible again as a 21-year-old sophomore in 2020, so the Yankees wouldn’t have to wait long to get a second shot at Ginn.
While Law made his choice, he also identified first baseman Grant Lavigne as someone the Yankees have heavily scouted. The New Hampshire left-handed bat is said to have impressive raw power and, good bat-to-ball skills, and solid plate discipline. At six-foot-four, 230 pounds, he’s a big boy, so all his value is going to come from his bat. Considering he ranks as the 99th-best player in the draft, the Yankees could go with Ginn in the first round before picking up Lavigne with their next pick.
It’s interesting to see the Yankees linked to a first base bat in the early rounds of this year’s draft. Obviously this would coincide with Greg Bird’s ankle injury that took him out of the first two months of the season. If the organization is beginning to wonder if they can trust Bird moving forward, it makes sense that they would want to look for an alternative in the draft. What is surprising is that they would take an outright first baseman that early instead of taking someone with a chance to stick elsewhere and eventually converting them.