Latest Expert Predictions on Who New York Yankees Will Draft
The Yankees don't have the luxury of picking in Round 1 this year. After signing Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran in free agency, they forfeited their right to select early. Those players were all tied to draft-pick compensation.
General manager Brian Cashman has never shied away from making such decisions. Signing major-league-ready talent is almost always paramount for the Yanks' GM, though scenarios like the one that unfolded this offseason will likely set the Yankees back a few years when it comes time to infuse young talent onto the roster.
Regardless, the Yankees scouts will work to do their best to bring in the best talent possible at No. 55. Which players will potentially be available there? Multiple experts from around the Internet have weighed in.
I've aggregated them here for you.
Bleacher Report's Adam Wells: A.J. Reed, 1B
Bleacher Report's own Adam Wells projected that first baseman A.J. Reed would get the call as the Yankees' first selection of the draft. Here's what he had to say about the pick:
It's hard to get a gauge for what a team is thinking when it picks later than just about every other team, but the New York Yankees usually get creative in the draft.
A.J. Reed may not last this long because his raw power is tremendous and teams will always covet that in the draft. He's limited to first base and doesn't have a lot of bat speed, but his brute strength (6'4", 245 pounds) can send the ball a long way when he does make contact.
A two-way player that also starred as a left-handed pitcher at Kentucky, Reed projects more as a hitter at the next level than he does as a pitcher.
While he doesn't generate much bat speed, he covers a lot of the plate and knows how to hit in situations. He's capable of taking the ball the other way and isn't a boom-or-bust guy at the plate.
Greg Bird is currently the team's top prospect at first base, but adding in another prospect at the lower levels would be a great idea. You never know how prospects will pan out.
Pinstripe Alley's Jesse Schindler: A High School Arm
Jesse Schindler of Pinstripe Alley cites the fact that the Yankees tend to take high school pitchers over college pitchers. That being the case, there's no reason to believe that they'll deviate from that strategy this time around.
Schindler cites Bryce Montes de Oca, Dylan Cease, Cameron Varga, Trey Supak, Keaton McKinney, Cody Reed, Alex Verdugo, Michael Kopech and Garrett Fulenchek as options at No. 55. Let's focus on Cease, however.
Cease has an ideal pitcher's frame at 6'2", 175 pounds. He could stand to gain a few pounds, but that shouldn't be a concern.
An elbow injury has sidelined him since March, though there don't appear to be any long-term issues in that department. Committed to Vanderbilt, Cease could very well have his mind set on attending the University of Vanderbilt if not drafted high enough. Is No. 55 high enough? We'll have to see.
Cease has a fastball that has topped at 97 miles per hour to go with a solid curveball and changeup. His three-pitch repertoire will help him in the lower levels of the minors, but he might need to develop something like a two-seam fastball to add to his arsenal. Having a pitch that can effectively generate ground balls and keep hitters honest is crucial.
Big League Futures' Ben Embry: Justus Sheffield, LHP
Ben Embry of BigLeagueFutures.net hits on a few players when talking about who the Yankees could take at No. 55. Scott Blewett, Mac Marshall, Keaton McKinney and Justus Sheffield are the four guys he mentions.
Let's focus on Sheffield because, as a left-hander, he is an attractive option.
A Vanderbilt commit, Sheffield is an athletic lefty that has a high leg kick and three-quarter arm slot. His fastball sits at a respectable 90-92 miles per hour, though he can kick it up to 94 when needed. A slow curveball and changeup with good fade round out his arsenal, according to Baseball America.
Focusing on the left-hander here would make sense for Cashman. Developing quality lefties is difficult. It's rare that strong lefties come through the minors to make an impact in the bigs. Plus, we all know how lefties can be in bullpen roles.
Sheffield projects as a starter for now, and that's what the Yankees should groom him as after he's drafted.
Baseball America: Ti'Quan Forbes, SS
Baseball America posted its list of the top 100 MLB draft prospects, and the player sitting at No. 55 on the list is Ti'Quan Forbes. Of course, that doesn't mean the Yankees will take him at No. 55.
A shortstop, Forbes is extremely athletic and has very good bat speed. This bat speed goes along with a frame that has the potential to fill out—therefore making him a candidate to develop some power in the future, according to Big League Futures.
If he develops power, then he is a 5-tool player. He has absolute wheels on the basepaths. He has a solid arm. He has a sweet contact stroke. He has shown the ability to field his position smoothly.
Forbes would be a great selection for the Yankees. With no immediate replacement for Derek Jeter next season (I don't consider Brendan Ryan an option, despite him being under contract), developing young talent for the position's future is important.
Forbes, if he pans out, could be in the bigs within three or four years.
My Prediction: Cody Reed, LHP
To me, left-hander Cody Reed looks a lot like Jon Niese. He has a slow delivery that releases the ball from the three-quarter arm slot and most of his pitches have some sort of movement as a result.
His fastball only sits in the low-90s, but he can get by because of the movement on his pitches. This speed is deceptively fast on hitters, however, because Reed hides the ball well and it jumps at the hitter, according to Big League Futures.
A slow curveball and a changeup round out his arsenal. Like most young pitchers, developing a fourth pitch wouldn't be a bad idea for Reed.
I mentioned it before: Developing lefties is key for a team in need of minor league pitching. Reed has the ceiling of a No. 3 starter—like Niese, and the New York Mets lefty has been a consistent pitcher for the team since he made it to the bigs.
Reed won't win a Cy Young award and he won't win the Yankees championships, but if he pans out, he won't be the guy that loses them championships either.