The 2013 amateur draft will be held from June 6-8 this year, and between now and then I’m going to highlight some prospects individually rather than lump them together into larger posts.
Aaron Judge | OF
After turning down the Athletics as a 31st round pick out of a California high school in 2010, Judge went on to hit .345/.451/.529 with 18 homers and 36 steals in 169 games across three years for Fresno State. He put up a .369/.461/.655 line with 12 homers and 12 steals in 56 games this spring.
First things first: Judge is a monster. He’s listed at 6-foot-7 and 255 lbs. on Fresno State’s site, meaning he’s taller than every outfielder in baseball history other than Frank Howard. For what it’s worth, only nine outfielders in history are listed at 6-foot-6 or taller, and four are active: Kyle Blanks, John Mayberry Jr., Giancarlo Stanton, and Corey Hart. He’s enormous, and with that enormous frame comes enormous power. Judge’s batting practice displays rival Stanton’s, though he doesn’t always carry the pop over into games because he sets his hands high and has a hard time getting under the ball to drive it in the air. He’s especially prone to pitches down in the zone. Judge works counts well and will swing-and-miss a bunch, which is to be expected for a power hitter with a strike zone that big. Despite his size, he’s a very good athlete and a quick runner capable of playing center field. He’s expected to shift to right in pro ball, where his strong arm will suit him well. Between the size, speed, and athleticism, Judge is definitely a physical freak. There are plenty more videos available on YouTube.
Keith Law (subs. req’d) and Baseball America ranked Judge as the 17th and 30th best prospect in the draft in their latest rankings, respectively. Right-handed power is hard to find and the Yankees love both up-the-middle athletes and physically huge players (especially pitchers), so Judge seems like someone who would be right up their alley. He offers defensive and base-running value as well, so he’s more than just a meathead masher. Whether the Yankees are willing to use/get a chance to use of their three first round picks (26th, 32nd, 33rd) on him remains to be seen.