The Yankees first pick in next month's draft won't come until the second round, number 56 to be exact, but that doesn't mean that they can't still end up with a highly ranked prospect. Prior to last year's draft, Baseball America ranked 2013's top 250 MLB draft prospects. Of the prospects who were ranked in the top fifty going into the draft, only 38 of them actually ended up being picked in the top 50. That means that highly touted players have been available in the later rounds for other teams to swoop in on, and should also be the case in 2014.
Here's a closer look at how the ten* players who fell out of the top 50 have performed since being drafted:
*Connor Jones and Kyle Serrano - ended up being picked in the 21st round and 29th round, respectively, because of their prior college commitments and neither of them signed.
Jon Denney - Ranked: 23rd, Drafted: 81st by the Red Sox. This catcher was selected in the third round, and he's been a bust for the most part. Last season in the Gulf Coast League, Denney hit just .203/.379/.243 through 26 games. He was arrested in March for driving with a suspended license. According to the arresting officer, he bragged about how much money he would be making as a Red Sox. Putting the cart before the horse much? The latest update was that the Sox were putting together some sort of program for Denney to enter following the incident.
Hunter Green - Ranked: 31, Drafted: 59th by the Angels. This left-handed pitcher had an okay partial season in the Arizona League, although he gave up a ton of walks. 16.2 IP 4.32 ERA 1.92 WHIP 8 ER 16 BB 11 K. He hasn't played yet in 2014.
Bobby Wahl - Ranked: 36th, Drafted: 161st by the Athletics. Another pitcher, Wahl is one of the players who slipped the furthest out of the top 50 picks. In 2013 he sported a 4.15 ERA through 21.2 innings. Wahl has been roughed up so far this season, giving up 10 earned runs through 11.2 innings. He's currently on the DL with a strained oblique.
Oscar Mercado - Ranked: 38th, Drafted: 57th by the Cardinals. Drafted as a shortstop out of a Florida high school, Mercado played in the Gulf Coast League last season, where he hit slightly better than Denney. .209/.290/.307 through 42 games.
Cord Sandberg - Ranked: 40th, Drafted: 89th by the Phillies. This outfielder also played in the Gulf Coast League last season, and put up similar stats to the others who played in that league. He played in 48 games and hit .207/.313/.272. Like Mercado, he hasn't played in any games this season.
Alex Balog - Ranked: 42nd, Drafted 70th by the Rockies. Balog struggled immensely in the minor leagues last season. 30 IP 31 ER 7 HR 8 BB 17 K. No, that was not a typo. He gave up 31 earned runs, giving him an ERA of 9.30. He's off to a much better start this season, putting up a 3.28 ERA with a more reasonable number of 13 earned runs through 35.2 innings.
Devin Williams - Ranked: 44th, Drafted: 54th by the Brewers. Williams, a right-handed pitcher, had one of the more successful 2013 outings by the pitchers included on this list. 34.2 IP 3.38 ERA 13 ER 0 HR 22 BB 39 K .215 BAA. He has yet to play this season.
Tom Windle - Ranked: 46th, Drafted: 56th by the Dodgers. This lefty pitcher also had a nice season in 2013. 53.2 IP 2.68 ERA 16 ER 2 HR 20 BB 51 K .242 BAA. So far in 2014, he's pitched mostly as a starter, but also came on in relief in one game during which he only allowed one run through five innings. As a starter, he has a 4.40 ERA through 30.2 innings pitched, with a .244 BAA, 15 ER, 1 HR, 11 BB and 26 Ks.
Trey Masek - Ranked: 48th, Drafted: 138th by the Cubs. Drafted out of Texas Tech, this right-handed pitcher has yet to play so far this season. Last season, he posted a 3.79 ERA through 19 innings with 21 strikeouts, 10 walks and 8 earned runs. Half of those runs came during 2.1 particularly poor innings in the Arizona League.
Andrew Mitchell - Ranked: 49th, Drafted: 123rd by the White Sox. This right-handed pitcher is the final player to have been ranked in the top 50 prior to the draft who ended up being picked out of the top 50. 2013: 56 IP 4.50 ERA 28 ER 6 HR 30 BB 47 K .273 BAA. So far this season, his ERA has inflated to 5.73 as he's allowed 14 earned runs, 23 walks and 27 strikeouts through 22 innings.
Nothing surrounding the draft is a sure thing. As evidenced by this list, just because a player is projected in the top 50, doesn't necessarily mean that he'll perform well. Similarly, just because a player is drafted outside of the top 50, doesn't mean they'll be terrible. There's no reason that the Yankees can't end up drafting decent prospects, despite the fact that their first pick doesn't come until the middle of the second round.