Every year over at Minor League Ball, John Sickels hosts a community mock draft. I acted as the Yankees mock scouting director way back in 2007 and while that was fun, it was incredibly time consuming. For the last few years I’ve just shadowed their mock draft, meaning I’ve gone back after the fact to look at who I would taken with each of the Yankees’ selection. This isn’t any kind of serious analysis or projection, it’s just for fun.
They used to do the first five rounds but have since knocked it down to three for what I assume are time-related reasons. Seriously, it sucks up the entire afternoon. The mock was conducted yesterday, so here are the links — first, sandwich, second, third — and here are my selections…
First Round (#30 overall)
Mock Draft: RHP Shane Watson, California HS
My Pick: 3B Carson Kelly, Oregon HS
Kelly is a big personal fave and I reached for him based on consensus rankings and the mock draft — he went 57th overall to the Reds. I really like him though. Here’s my write-up. Watson is one of the better prep pitchers in the class and a true back-half of the first round talent. He’ll sit anywhere from 90-96 with the fastball and can snap off nasty curveball every so often. Like most high schoolers, he’s working on a changeup and you’re dreaming on him adding velocity as he fills out. It’s worth noting that the Yankees have been connected to Florida HS SS Addison Russell in various mock drafts and he was still on the board for this pick.
Second Round (#89 overall)
Mock Draft: C Dane Phillips, Oklahoma City University
My Pick: RHP Duane Underwood, Georgia HS
This is the compensation pick the Yankees received after failing to sign second rounder Sam Stafford last season and I feel like I got a steal. Underwood’s a borderline first round talent and there’s a chance he’ll go in the back-half of the first round next week, so nabbing him nearly 100 picks in is a coup in my eyes. Between him and Kelly, I feel like I’ve got two top 30-35 talents. I wrote Underwood up last week, so check that out for more info. Phillips has climbed up draft boards as the spring has progressed because he’s crushing weak competition, though his ability to remain behind the plate is uncertain. A team would really have to believe in the glove to take him this high. Here’s my write-up on Phillips.
Second Round (#94 overall)
Mock Draft: OF Preston Beck, UT-Arlington
My Pick: LHP Alex Young, Illinois HS
Although the franchise’s history is littered with quality left-handers, the Yankees have done a pretty poor job of carrying on the tradition in recent years. Young has already shown three pitches — low-90s fastball, curveball, changeup — and has lots of room to grow in his 6-foot-3, 190 lb. frame. He has a strong commitment to TCU and is expected to be a tough sign, but with more than $500k in slot money to work with, I’m not going down without a fight. Young is the kind of kid that will come out of school in three years as a first round pick, assuming his coach doesn’t shred his arm first. Beck’s a solid selection; a corner outfielder with a strong left-handed bat and defensive skills. He had hip surgery last summer and there is some question about his power potential, so he’s a ‘tweener risk.
Third Round (#124 overall)
Mock Draft: Young
My Pick: RHP Zack Quintana, Nevada HS
Well, I jumped the gun on Young a bit. I like him though and didn’t want to miss out, plus we’re talking about a difference of $130k in slot money. Anyway, Quintana is an undersized kid that runs his fastball up to 95 with a power breaking ball and a changeup that is advanced for a high schooler. He strikes me as very undervalued because of his size (5-foot-11, 180 lbs. or so) in a draft class that is light on quality prep arms. I also considered Tennessee HS SS A.J. Simcox with this pick, a true shortstop who has grown up around the game because his father has coached at Tennessee for nearly two decades. He’s raw but has exciting power-speed potential.
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I’m a high school prospect guy as you can tell. I’ve always felt that getting players under professional instruction as soon as possible is the best thing for their development because bad habits are easy to develop in college, where winning is the priority. Not development and growth. Had the mock draft continued for another round or two, I probably would have looked for a college relief arm or two to not only balance things out, but to also save some draft pool money to use elsewhere and perhaps get decent value relative to round.