As we look forward to the 2015 MLB Draft in just a couple weeks, we have decided to begin our coverage by looking back at the drafts of recent memory. Caitlin covered the 2012 draft yesterday, in case you missed it. The 2013 draft was an important one for the Yankees for obvious reasons. Being mostly quiet in free agency allowed them to select three players before the second round, and they managed to land two college position players and a top prep lefty with their first three picks.
1. Eric Jagielo | 3B | Notre Dame
The Yankees decided to go with a more polished player in Jagielo with their first selection of the 2013 draft. Coming out of Notre Dame, Jagielo was said to have a bat that was destined for the majors. His path there with New York seemed pretty wide open with Alex Rodriguez obviously on the decline. The 2014 offseason signing of Chase Headley muddied that path a bit, as well as scouts' concerns about whether or not Jagielo will be able to be an everyday third baseman at the big league level. So far as a professional, Jagielo has done fairly well with the bat. In his first taste of Double-A ball this year, Jagielo is currently batting .291/.378/.567 with seven home runs. He has been one of the better hitters for the Trenton Thunder so far.
2. Aaron Judge | OF | Fresno State
Judge was the compensation that the Yankees got for Nick Swisher signing with the Indians, and what a find he has been. You could easily argue that Judge is the system's top prospect right now, depending on where you rank Luis Severino. The 6'7" outfielder is built more like a pitcher or football player than an outfielder, but he has performed exceptionally well in his time with the Yankees. In 65 Low-A games last season, Judge posted a .958 OPS with nine home runs for the Charleston RiverDogs. He was promoted to High-A Tampa, where he finished off the season with a .283/.411/.442 batting line. Judge hit very well for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League, and continued his hot-hitting with the big league club in spring training. The Yankees started him off at Double-A Trenton this season, where he has done nothing but rake with a .314/.370/.521 batting line despite being a year and a half younger than the average player at that level. He should be ticketed for Triple-A before too long, and could even start in the majors as early as next season.
3. Ian Clarkin | LHP | Madison High School (San Diego, CA)
The Yankees selected Clarkin with a compensation pick from the Nationals, and what they got was a prep left-hander whose curveball was said to be the best among high schoolers in the draft. At just 20 years old, it's unclear at this point exactly what kind of pitcher Clarkin will ultimately turn into, but he has done pretty well in his time as a professional. The Yankees haven't been shy about moving him up the ladder, finishing the 2014 season at High-A Tampa. In 75 innings in 2014, Clarkin posted a 3.12 ERA between Charleston and Tampa while striking out nine batters per nine innings. An injury has kept him from making his debut so far in 2015, but he is said to be on the verge of a return soon.
4. Gosuke Katoh | 2B | Rancho Bernardo High School (San Diego, CA)
There were rumblings that Katoh may have been a bit of a reach for the Yankees in the second round of the 2013 draft, but Katoh went on to hit .310/.402/.522 with six home runs in 50 games with the Gulf Coast Yankees to finish out the 2013 season. It looked like the Yankees had struck gold by selecting the prep infielder. Unfortunately, that's about where the shine began to wear off. Katoh failed to match his production in his first full season as a professional with the Charleston RiverDogs in 2014, batting .222/.345/.326 in 121 games. His eye at the plate still stood out as a strength, but low numbers across the board didn't match what he had done in Rookie Ball. Still, age continues to be on his side. That is really the silver lining. So far in 2015, Katoh has really struggled with a .159/.276/.206 batting line in 34 games for the RiverDogs. His eye continues to be there, but the hits just haven't been. He's still a year and a half older than the average Low-A player, but there's cause to wonder if he isn't another player who looks extraordinary against Rookie Ball pitchers before never really finding it again. Hopefully he finds a way to work out of his hitting funk.
5. Michael O'Neill | OF | Michigan
It always helps when your uncle is one of the more popular Yankees of recent history, but New York felt like they had enough to justify selecting O'Neill the Younger with their fifth selection in the draft out of Michigan. The Yankees previously selected O'Neill in the 42nd round of the 2010 draft out of high school before he went on to play for the Wolverines. O'Neill scuffled in his first season with the Staten Island Yankees, posting a .575 OPS in 64 games. The numbers improved last year with the Charleston RiverDogs where O'Neill batted .256/.333/.384 with ten home runs in 129 games. He has started off his 2015 campaign with the Tampa Yankees, where he has played in ten games and posted a .607 OPS.
6. Tyler Wade | SS | Murrieta High School (Murrieta, CA)
With their sixth pick in the 2013 draft, the Yankees selected a prep shortstop out of California in Tyler Wade. Since signing on as a professional, Wade has done nothing but hit. He batted .291/.412/.349 in 50 games between the Gulf Coast League and the New York-Penn League his first season. After being promoted up to Low-A Charleston in 2014, Wade continued to hit well with a .272/.350/.349 batting line and 22 stolen bases. The main knock against his hitting is that Wade hits for absolutely no power, although that isn't that surprising for a shortstop. Wade has started his 2015 season with the Tampa Yankees, where he is currently batting .314/.360/.387 in 34 games. Unfortunately, he has thrown the ball around a bit with double digit errors already. He's still only 20 years old, giving him time to work out his kinks with the glove.
7. David Palladino | RHP | Howard College
The Yankees waited until the 5th round to select their first college arm of the draft. Palladino had been selected in the 13th round by the Dodgers out of Emerson High School in New Jersey before going on to pitch at Howard College instead of signing. The 20-year-old was roughed up a bit in his first taste of professional ball with the Staten Island Yankees where he posted a 4.67 ERA in 54 innings. Things got a bit better for Palladino in his second round with the New York-Penn League, dropping his ERA to 3.72 in 67.2 innings last year. Palladino has started the 2015 season with the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs, where he has pitched 24 innings with a 3.00 ERA so far.
8. John Murphy | SS | Sacred Heart University
Murphy is the first of the 2013 draftees that is no longer with the organization. He played for two seasons with the Staten Island Yankees and Charleston RiverDogs before announcing on April 6th that he had decided to move on from baseball. Good luck, John.
9. Nick Rumbelow | RHP | LSU
The Yankees selected a college relief pitcher with their seventh round pick, and Rumbelow has performed very well as he has climbed the ladder through the organization. His numbers haven't looked as good since he was promoted to Triple-A in the middle of last season, but he is still one of the bullpen arms that the Yankees could theoretically use at the big league level if necessary. Rumbelow posted a 4.11 ERA in 15.1 innings last season with the RailRiders, and he has a 4.50 ERA in 18 innings at Triple-A so far this year. His 13.0 K/9 rating, however, shows the promise that the team sees in him. That number hasn't fallen below double digits for Rumbelow since he was with the Tampa Yankees at the beginning of 2014. His rise through the minors has been fairly quick, but he could be ready to make an impact on the majors possibly as early as later this year.
10. Brandon Thomas | OF | Georgia Tech
Thomas didn't get off to a great start in his professional career, posting a .655 OPS in the New York-Penn League at 22 years old. His struggles continued from there as he only managed to bat .204/.318/.311 in 93 games with the Charleston RiverDogs last season. He's back at Charleston to start the 2015 season, despite being two and a half years older than the average player he is competing against. The numbers, to this point in the season, have been a bit better. Through 28 games, Thomas is batting .262/.392/.381 with one home run. Hopefully the improvement is a sign of better things to come.
Other notable names selected by the Yankees in the 2013 draft include RailRiders reliever Tyler Webb, who was taken in the 10th round out of South Carolina, as well as two players better known for their MLB relatives in Cal Quantrill and Joshua Pettitte. Neither ended up signing with the Yankees. We'll be looking back at the 2014 draft tomorrow.