Yankees Rumors: NY Targeting Position Player in 1st Round, Linked to Nick Loftin

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2020

Baylor junior Nick Loftin throws before an NCAA baseball game against Oral Roberts on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
Brandon Wade/Associated Press

The New York Yankees could be seeking a shortstop of the future with their first-round pick in the 2020 MLB draft.

According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, "experts believe the club will target a quality position player in the first round before seeking pitchers later."

Hoch also noted the connection to Baylor shortstop Nick Loftin, who was picked by New York in the latest mock draft by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.

"Loftin's ability to stick at shortstop as a college performer would put him high on the Yankees' list," Mayo wrote.

Jim Callis of MLB.com also reported the team is looking for a position player in the first round, but he linked high school shortstops Ed Howard and Carson Tucker as potential options.

The Yankees are certainly loaded with hitters at the major league level, but the organization is light on options coming out of the minors. According to MLB.com, seven of the team's top 11 prospects are pitchers.

New York could use a high-upside position player to fill out the organizational depth, especially in a draft that won't have too many opportunities. Changes made because of the coronavirus pandemic have limited the draft to only five rounds (instead of the usual 40), while the Yankees forfeited their second- and fifth-round picks after signing Gerrit Cole.

If the Yankees miss on their first pick—No. 28 overall—the entire draft could be a loss.

Loftin could be a reliable option as a proven hitter through parts of three seasons at the college level. The 21-year-old produced a .316 average across 121 games at Baylor, showcasing an incredible eye with 42 walks and just 48 strikeouts in his career.

Baylor Baseball @BaylorBaseball

T5 | 👀 this RBI double from @Nick_Loftin2 and some @rickyjm_11 wheels as he comes around to score from first BU 2, ARK 0 #SicEm | #ShrinersCollegeClassic https://t.co/41sAEIW42f

With the ability to line up at multiple spots defensively, he's a safe bet to at least reach the majors as a bench piece.

Howard has more potential as an above-average fielder with good hitting tools, not to mention his sky-high confidence.

"I want to go down as one of the best shortstops to ever play," the 18-year-old told NBC Chicago. "I want to be a great player on the field, and I also want to go down in history as a great person off the field. I want to be a winner too. I want to win many World Series, and that's just kind of my goals for my career."

It gives the Yankees multiple options as they head into a high-stakes draft.