New York Yankees 2014 Draft Picks: Scouting Profiles and Analysis
The Bombers do not have a first-round pick this year, eyeing their first two selections at No. 55 and No. 91.
Depth is still depth, and this year's draft is hardly short on talent—even outside the top 25. Having set off this past winter on a whirlwind spending spree, they ultimately forfeited their first-rounder for Brian McCann and their two compensation-round selections for Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran.
Even with hindsight, it is tough to blame general manager Brian Cashman and company after the Yankees went 85-77 last season, finished third in the division and missed the 2013 postseason.
Fifty-eight games into this year's iteration, the Bombers cling to a .500 record and third place in the sputtering AL East. They are five back of the surging Toronto Blue Jays in the loss column and, at 29-29 overall entering Thursday—and having lost four in a row ahead of draft weekend in Secaucus—some unresolved holes from the offseason have already materialized into concrete issues.
Yanks brass could emerge from the weekend with simply a handful of the best players available—neither worried about developing some nor about trading others. Or, after repeatedly leaning on the trade and free-agent markets to bolster the big league club, we could see the makings of a more pragmatic long-term approach. Maybe they continue the trend from last summer's draft, in which they valued near-pro-ready NCAA bats, and reframe the vision of their oft-criticized scouting department and farm by placing more emphasis on in-house development.
Check back right here when Round 1 kicks off on Thursday, as we'll be updating the Yankees' picks with scouting reports and analysis during baseball's first big summer event.
See how the organization's needs translate into New York's first prospects off the board, and be sure to stick with us throughout B/R's 2014 live coverage this weekend.
*Note: This draft tracker will be updated live following the Yankees' picks throughout the weekend of June 5-7. Round 1 begins at 7 p.m. ET, Thursday night on MLB Network with live streaming available on MLB.com. Friday through Saturday begins at 1 p.m. ET each day on MLB.com.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless noted otherwise.
Round 2, Pick 55: Jacob Lindgren, LHP, Mississippi State
Name: Jacob Lindgren
DOB (Age): March 12, 1993 (21)
Height, Weight: 5'11", 204 pounds
School: Mississippi State
Previously Drafted: 12th Round, 2011 (CHC)
MLB.com Scouting Grades (20-80): Fastball: 60, Slider: 65, Changeup: 45, Control: 50, Overall: 50
Expected to take the best available prospect at No. 55, the Yankees selected a left-hander who could be the best reliever of the 2014 draft and could reach the majors the soonest of any Thursday night pick.
New York gets a lockdown-type pitcher whom the experts at Baseball America rated No. 50 overall and No. 10 among lefties, and whom MLB.com ranks No. 51. He's an overpowering force with a wipeout slider in the low- to mid-80s, fastball touching 95 mph and a changeup with sinking action that MLB.com says the left-hander can throw for strikes.
On MLB Network's Day 1 coverage, Baseball America's Jim Callis raised the optimistic idea that Lindgren could be the first player from this year's draft to appear in the majors, and that he could quickly factor into the Yankees bullpen—perhaps as soon as this fall. In the Bronx, the Yanks currently have three left-handed relievers, two of whom are less than inspiring: Matt Thornton (12 IP, 3.75 ERA), Vidal Nuno (52.1 IP, 5.33 ERA) and Wade LeBlanc (7.1 IP, 7.36 ERA).
MLB.com agreed with Callis' projection: "His stuff plays up as a reliever, and he could reach the Majors very quickly in the role. He has closer upside."
Previously a starter, Lindgren briefly struggled in 2013, ultimately losing his Friday night starting role, per Baseball America (subscription required). Mississippi State was the runner-up at the College World Series that season after a phenomenal run headlined by the Bulldogs relief corps, per MLB.com. Several of those relievers left the program, and in the summer before his junior season, he pitched in relief for the Cape Cod League before successfully continuing the role for Mississippi State in 2014.
Baseball America describes Lindgren's adjustment to the pen and his upside: "He’s tabled his curve and changeup in a relief role, sticking to the heater and his hard, plus slider in the low to mid 80s. His stiff delivery likely leads him to a future relief role as well, and his 16.8 strikeouts per nine indicate he can dominate in that job."
The Yankees might consider developing all of Lindgren's offerings to see if they can plug him into the starter picture for the near future. After CC Sabathia, the Yankees have one more southpaw on the 40-man roster in Manny Banuelos, who returned this season from Tommy John surgery (26.1 IP, 3.42 ERA).
Whether or not a big league relief role could materialize quickly enough for the lefty by this September, the possibility underlines the main takeaway: The Yankees made a safe—and all-around excellent—choice with their first pick of the weekend.
Round 3, Pick 91: Ausin DeCarr, RHP, Salisbury School (Conn.)
Name: Austin DeCarr
DOB (Age): March 14, 1995 (19)
Height, Weight: 6'2", 211 pounds
School: Salisbury School (Conn.)
MLB.com Scouting Grades (20-80): Fastball: 55, Curveball: 60, Changeup: 45, Control: 50, Overall: 50
With the 91st pick in the draft, their second of 2014, the Yankees selected Austin DeCarr, a 6'2" high school right-hander out of Red Sox country—and a traditionally quiet Northeast prep scene.
Many scouts praise the Salisbury School senior for being a complete package-type arm despite his age and experience. "In the elite class of Northeast pitchers who have large, projectable physiques, DeCarr is more of a finished product with impressive physical strength," notes Baseball America, who ranked DeCarr No. 68 overall.
The Clemson commit pitches from a downhill plane with "a high-energy delivery and high three-quarters arm slot," per Baseball America.
MLB.com scouts, who rank DeCarr No. 70 on their top-200 list, note that where DeCarr lacks projectability, he makes up for in consistency. 2014 was just the 19-year-old's second full year of pitching, but, "DeCarr is more advanced than many...he'll pitch at 92-93 mph, but can reach back for 95 mph when he needs it." Baseball America even noted that he was able to touch 96 this spring.
His command and control of his fastball got him notice from many teams, but how he complements it with a developing, below-average changeup could determine his fate in the rotation or bullpen with the Yankees—who are currently well-stocked on right-handed arms at the big league level and the farm.
His curveball grades out as his best weapon at 60: MLB.com writes that it "shows flashes of being a plus offering," and Baseball America called it his "out pitch hammer curveball" possessing "11-to-5 tilt."
DeCarr could be a steal at No. 91. In addition to great makeup, he seems to be improving at every step of his maturation while making positive adjustments to life as a full-time pitcher. If he bottoms out as a starter, scouts think his floor is still a power bullpen arm—a perennial need of any ballcub, not just the one in the Bronx.
Round 4, Pick 122: Jordan Montgomery, LHP, South Carolina
Name: Jordan Montgomery
DOB (Age): December 27, 1992 (21)
Height, Weight: 6'4", 225 pounds
School: South Carolina
Previously Drafted: Never
MLB.com Scouting Grades (20-80): Fastball: 45, Curveball: 45, Cutter: 50, Changeup: 55, Control: 50, Overall: 45
The Yankees selected their third pitcher in a row with the 122nd pick in Round 3. Despite what Baseball America calls "pedestrian stuff," Jordan Montgomery possesses an SEC track record that boosted his stock ahead of the first-year player draft.
With a four-pitch mix, he earned a spot in the Gamecock rotation his freshman year, even starting in the College World Series in 2012. But the last two seasons, he's been tabbed by my most scouts as South Carolina's best starter.
In 2013, he moved into the No. 1 job, posting a 1.48 ERA that was good for 11th in the country. This season, he was second in the SEC with 60 strikeouts in 65 innings, per Baseball America, where he's ranked—fittingly—No. 120 among all prospects.
Montgomery's best offering is a plus changeup, and though he won't overpower batters, his success comes from above-average control and repeated delivery. The 6'4", 225-pound junior won't light up a radar gun with a less-than-stellar 87-91 mph fastball, but the effectiveness of the pitch lies in its run-and-sink action. Per MLB.com, he spots it where he wants in order to set up his changeup.
His curveball is slow and fringy, and he sometimes mixes in a slider. But the takeaway, per the same report : "Montgomery pitches above his stuff and has advanced feel for his craft." MLB.com, who ranked him at No. 160 overall, sets his ceiling at a No. 4 or 5 starter but calls him a "good bet to reach it."
Round 5, Pick 152: Jordan Foley, RHP, Central Michigan
Name: Jordan Foley
DOB (Age): July 12, 1993 (20)
Height, Weight: 6'3", 205 pounds
School: Central Michigan
Previously Drafted: 26th Round, 2011 (NYY)
MLB.com Scouting Grades (20-80): Fastball: 60, Slider: 50, Splitter: 50, Changeup: 45, Control: 45, Overall: 50
Four picks, four straight pitchers taken by the Yankees. At No. 152, New York selected their second college arm in a row, Jordan Foley, whom MLB.com calls a former "Strong-armed Texas high schooler." (He decided to attend college at Central Michigan because his family was moving.)
Foley turned down the Yankees in 2011 (Round 26) and initially struggled as a freshman. But he turned it around the last two years and transitioned into the No. 1 starter for the Chippewas staff.
The tall right-hander became "the rare Texas pitcher in the Mid-Atlantic Conference," according to Baseball America, whose scouts rank Foley No. 128 overall. He will likely become a Yankee reliever, however. With a starter's build, but an inefficient and inconsistent delivery, many scouts see Foley's future in the pen. According to Baseball America, Foley uses "too much effort...to repeat above-average stuff."
One of the premier starters in the MAC, Foley builds off his best pitch, a low- to mid-90s fastball occasionally touching 96, and he pairs it with what is "at times...a plus slider, though he struggles to repeat it," per the same report.
MLB.com, who ranks Foley inside the top 100 at No. 95, noted that his slider may lack consistency but generates plenty of swing-and-misses (8.9 K/9 in 2013). Additionally, Foley flashes a changeup with good sink and deception. Baseball America says he even uses a "split-finger fastball as a changeup to combat lefthanded hitters." Despite the red flags from his reduced strikeout rate this season (7.5), his walk rate has improved mightily (4.4 in 2013, 2.7 in 2014).
Hard to find fault with the Yankees adding a hard-throwing college right-hander who appears to be improving his command at every level of pitching, and who could prove to be a great value pick in the fifth round.
Early on in draft weekend—and given the 2014 Yankees staff's bad luck and lack of depth—they've certainly made their intention clear to address their pitching needs first and foremost. Going lefty, righty, lefty, righty with Lindgren (No. 55), DeCarr (No. 91), Montgomery (No. 122) and now Foley, New York has stockpiled with potentially four dependable arms; all four could see a key role in the bullpen as a floor, and two might factor into the future rotation.
Round 6, Pick 182: Jonathan Holder, RHP, Mississippi State
Round 7, Pick 212: Mark Payton, CF, Texas
Round 8, Pick 242: Connor Spencer, 1B, UC Irvine
Round 9, Pick 272: Vince Conde, SS, Vanderbilt
Round 10, Pick 302: Ty McFarland, 2B, James Madison
Round 11, Pick 332: Matthew Borens, RHP, Eastern Illinois
Round 12, Pick 362: Chris Gittens, 1B, Grayson County College (Texas)
Round 13, Pick 392: Bo Thompson, 1B, The Citadel
Round 14, Pick 422: Sean Carley, RHP, West Virginia
Round 15, Pick 452: Andrew Chin, LHP, Boston College
Round 16, Pick 482: Derek Callahan, LHP, Gonzaga
Round 17, Pick 512: Garrett Cave, RHP, South Sumter HS (Fla.)
Round 18, Pick 542: Justin Kamplain, LHP, Alabama
Round 19, Pick 572: Joe Harvey, RHP, Pittsburgh
Round 20, Pick 602: Corey Holmes, RHP, Concordia University Texas
Round 21, Pick 632: Porter Clayton, LHP, Oregon
Round 22, Pick 662: Jake Kelzer, RHP, Indiana
Round 23, Pick 692: Will Toffey, 3B, Salisbury School (Conn.)
Round 24, Pick 722: Dominic Jose, CF, Stanford
Round 25, Pick 752: Dylan Barrow, RHP, University of Tampa
Round 26, Pick 782: Collin Slaybaugh, C, Washington State
Round 27, Pick 812: Griffin Gordon, OF, Jacksonville State
Round 28, Pick 842: Lee Casas, RHP, USC
Round 29, Pick 872: Mariano Rivera, RHP, Iona College (N.Y.)
Round 30, Pick 902: Jorge Perez, RHP, Grand Canyon University (Ariz.)
Round 31, Pick 932: Devyn Bolasky, CF, UC Riverside
Round 32, Pick 962: Jordan Ramsey, RHP, UNC Wilmington
Round 33, Pick 992: David Graybill, RHP, Arizona State
Round 34, Pick 1,022: Matt Wotherspoon, RHP, Pittsburgh
Round 35, Pick 1,052: Christopher Hudgins, C, Valhalla HS (Calif.)
Round 36, Pick 1,082: William Gaddis, RHP, Brentwood HS (Tenn.)
Round 37, Pick 1,112: Ryan Lindemuth, 2B, College of William and Mary
Round 38, Pick 1,142: Andre Del Bosque, RHP, University of Houston Victoria
Round 39, Pick 1,172: Cameron Warren, 1B, Carl Albert HS (Okla.)
Round 40, Pick 1,202: Madison Stokes, SS, A.C. Flora HS (S.C.)