We are one week away from the draft. That is an incredibly short amount of time for the Yankees to figure out their pick, but it is still enough time for things to change. Going by a few of the insiders that have sources within the Yankees organization, it is becoming clear as to whom the Yankees are considering for the 16th overall pick in this draft. I will take a look at them, mentioning scouting reports, injury concerns, and slot bonus considerations.
Garrett Whitley, CF, Niskayuna HS (NY)
Based on a mock draft from Kiley McDaniel, the Yankees have said that this is their top target. Whitley is a right-handed high school bat from New York, and he features incredible speed, decent power, and a hit tool that is questionable but could play. The real draw with Whitley is his athleticism, and he's the type of player that would be undervalued and under-scouted; position players from the northeast have a disadvantage because of the shorter season, so information on them is much more incomplete. Some have even dubbed him the "Mike Trout of this draft", which I think is nuts, but the point on under-appreciation could still be true . He seems like a fine player that would sign at slot, and the Yankees should be glad to have him if he's available.
Chris Betts, C, Wilson HS (Calif.)
Keith Law had the Yankees connected to Chris Betts, and this is no surprise considering the Yankees' infatuation with high school position players, and no surprise considering that he is also a catcher. And if you read Chris Crawford's scouting report, it sounds very "Yankee catching prospect" like to me:
"We’ll talk about this Ad nauseam over the next few months, but this is not a strong catcher class. Again. Betts starts the year as the best backstop prospect with plus power from the left side and a legit chance to stay behind the plate thanks to his strong arm and improving receiving skills, though there are some who do believe that first base is his long term position."
We've seen this song and dance before. Both Jesus Montero and Gary Sanchez fit this profile, and the Yankees are definitely a fan of this. It has its benefits because the Yankees are very good at drafting and developing catchers, and they could certainly use a quality bat, even if he ends up at first base.
Donny Everett, RHP, Clarksville HS (Tenn.)
Donny Everett was another player that Law had the Yankees attached to, and this one surprised me a bit. Everett is a right-handed pitcher with a "97 mph [fastball] on guns and showed a nasty low 80’s breaking ball", according to Chris Crawford once again. This is a guy that seemed to fit later into the first round; McDaniel had the Tigers possibly taking him at 22nd overall, so I would assume that the Yankees would look to sign him under-slot to save money for 30th overall and beyond.
Kolby Allard, LHP, San Clemente HS (Calif.)
I wrote about Allard yesterday, and he just recently came up on a Keith Law mock draft as the Yankees' selection. One last time from Crawford:
"The southpaw dominated over the summer while touching 96 mph with his fastball and sitting 92-94, and his breaking ball is a plus offering right now with hard, late break. Add in his athleticism and that there’s still some projection left in his left arm, and you get the best hurler in the class despite his relatively small stature (listed at 6’0″)"
This obviously does not include the recent back problem as that happened after this post, but he has quality stuff and was at times considered the best high school pitcher in the draft. I would guess that the team would look to leverage this injury to save slot money, so they could potentially get an excellent pitcher in Allard as well as an over-slot player later in the draft. I'm hesitant because of the back troubles, and his size can also hurt his durability, so I would definitely prefer either Betts or Whitley if they are available.
These are just a few of the projected picks based on insider reports, but that could certainly change within the next week. As teams arrange pre-draft deals because of the weakness of this first round, we could see the Yankees narrow their choices even further in the coming days.