We are just days away from the 2018 MLB Draft, but FanGraphs managed to squeeze in one last mock before the big day. Before now, most people had the Yankees taking a pitcher or an infielder, but this time they will apparently be grabbing a catcher with their first round pick. Sure, the Yankees have Gary Sanchez, but you have to think about the future.
Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel have the Yankees taking Georgia high school catcher Anthony Seigler as the 23rd overall pick in this year’s draft. MLB.com ranks him as the 46th-best player in the class, but it has been said that the team is interested in him. If this is the case, Damon Oppenheimer and friends may be reaching here in order to get a guys they like.
Seigler is considered to be the best catcher in the draft, but he stands out for other reasons as well. If you can believe it, he is actually noted for being an ambidextrous pitcher on the mound, which is a talent the Yankees have been interested in before. At five-foot-eleven and 200 pounds, he is projected to be a catcher in the long run, but it’s nice to have a fallback option just in case.
The switch-hitting backstop is said to be solid behind the plate, with agility, a quick transfer, and a strong arm. He is also considered a promising receiver and pitch framer. Seigler makes hard contact from both sides of the plate and can hit to all fields. Unfortunately, he lacks the raw power to be a serious power threat, but good bat speed helps him make up for it. Right now he grades as a 40 in power, though it has been said that he should be able to achieve an average level of power in the end.
FanGraphs links several other alternatives to the Yankees in the event that Seigler is no longer available when they pick. Virginia left-hander Daniel Lynch, New Hampshire prep first baseman Grant Lavigne, and Virginia prep catcher Adam Hackenberg are all possibilities at 23rd overall.
I believe it would be a mistake for the Yankees to take a catcher in the first round this year. Despite his flaws, Gary Sanchez should remain the catcher of the future until he physically proves he is no longer a viable option there. His bat is so much more valuable there, and the Yankees have been fine overall with him. Of course you always want to be prepared for the future, but there are other areas of need. This team can always use more pitching, and a guy ranked at no. 46 is a bit of a reach. By all means, take a catcher in the next few rounds, but the best possible player should be taken in the first round.
Of course, these mock drafts are all just guesswork with little bits of truths dashed in. We won’t know what the Yankees will ultimately do until draft day. Heck, not even the team knows what they will do yet. It all comes down to the luck of the draw. Hopefully it will all work out in the end, but that’s the trick isn’t it?