After mock drafts from Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus made their way around the internet this week, MLB.com has thrown their hat in the ring with a draft of their own. With the Yankees selecting 16th overall, Jonathan Mayo has them selecting Chris Betts, a catcher from Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California. If you look at Betts' profile, he sounds a lot like a player the Yankees tend to go for. Mayo says that while his left-handed bat should produce for average and power, many wonder about his ability to stay behind the plate long-term. It's no surprise that he has them taking a bat-first catcher, since the Yankees have previously taken Tyler Austin and Greg Bird in the draft and have signed the likes of Jesus Montero and Gary Sanchez to big bonuses.
Back in September, Fangraphs ranked Betts as the 15th best player in the draft, so a lot has likely changed since then, but they also comped him to Brian McCann (grain of salt alert). MLB.com currently has Betts at no. 21 on their top 100 draft prospects list, while Baseball America ranks him at no. 26 on their list. In a BA chat, Teddy Cahill describes Betts to be one of the best high school bats and catchers in the draft, naming him, along with Tyler Stephenson as the only two first-round catchers in 2015 (though MLB seems to disagree on Stephenson–he ranks 47, leaving Betts to be the best).
According to his profile on MLB.com, The six-foot-two, 220-pound Betts was given a 55-grade hit tool along with 60-grade power, which is something the Yankees would likely drool over. Mayo believes that he's one of the best high school bats in the 2015 draft, regardless of where he ends up playing as a professional. His hard contact and above-average power potential should play up behind the plate or in the outfield, if it should come to that. In the field he rates out with a 45-glove and 55-arm as "Betts' pure arm strength also grades as a plus, though a long release and a lack of quickness mean he doesn't always get the most out of it." As a 20-run catcher, he's not the most athletic, but scouts were intrigued when he showed up in much better shape for showcases during the fall. If he can improve his conditioning, it should help him improve his mobility behind the plate in order to be a better receiver.
In high school he was included on the 2015 Perfect Game 1st Team All-American as well as the All-Region 1st Team for California. As an underclassmen, he made the 2014 Underclass 1st Team and the 2013 Underclass 2nd Team, so his abilities have stuck out for awhile now. His commitment to the University of Tennessee and the lack of catching this year could raise his final price tag significantly.
I'd say everything here makes him sound like a solid draft choice. The Yankees could use a refill at the catcher position with John Ryan Murphy graduating to the majors, Austin Romine at Triple-A, and Gary Sanchez not long for Double-A. The system was once loaded with catching depth, but now that catchers have moved up and Luis Torrens is out with shoulder surgery, Betts could be what the system needs right now. Even if he doesn't last behind the plate, true power, whether in right field or at first base, is very valuable these days. I would not be disappointed with a first-round pick like this.