2017 Draft: Yankees sign first rounder Clarke Schmidt and second rounder Matt Sauer

Schmidt. (The Post ad Courier)
Schmidt. (The Post and Courier)

The Yankees have signed their top two selections in the 2017 amateur draft. The team announced deals with South Carolina right-hander Clarke Schmidt (first round, 16th overall) and California high school right-hander Matt Sauer (second round, 54th overall) earlier this afternoon. Sauer posted photos of his contract signing on Twitter.

Here is the bonus information:

  • Schmidt: $2,184,300 per Jack Curry ($3,458,600 slot)
  • Sauer: $2,500,000 per Jim Callis ($1,236,000 slot)

Schmidt, 21, received a below-slot bonus because he is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. He had the procedure in May, so he’s going to be out until midseason 2018. As our Draft Pool tracker shows, the Yankees now have a little less than $460,000 in bonus pool space remaining before hitting the penalties. They’ve maxed out their spending pool the last few years. I imagine that $460,000 is going to a late round pick.

Based on the way things played out, the Yankees planned all along to sign Schmidt below-slot — I’m guessing they had a pre-draft agreement in place — and spend the savings on a highly touted player who slipped into the second round. That happened to be Sauer. I think this was Plan B. Plan A was using the first round selection on a player who was no longer on the board when that pick rolled around, so they called an audible.

Anyway, Baseball America ranked Schmidt as the 32nd best prospect in the draft class. MLB.com ranked him 49th and Keith Law (subs. req’d) ranked him 74th. He was considered a mid-first round talent before blowing out his elbow last month. Here is a piece of MLB.com’s free scouting report:

Schmidt relies heavily on a 92-94 mph fastball that can reach 96 and features power sink. Both his slider and curveball can be plus pitches at times but also lack consistency, and he also mixes in a decent changeup. He generally throws strikes but can be vulnerable if his pitches wander up in the strike zone … He maintained his improved velocity until he got hurt this spring, but scouts don’t love his delivery and now have even more questions about his durability.

Sauer was ranked as the 28th best prospect in the draft class by both MLB.com and Baseball America. Keith Law ranked 67th. Here’s a snippet of MLB.com’s scouting report:

He’s reached 97 mph at times this spring and has sat comfortably in the 91-95 mph range in most starts. He combines that with a nasty slider, up to 87 mph, thrown from a three-quarter slot with good power, bite and deception. The changeup is a distant third pitch … Some scouts are not in love with Sauer’s arm action and see him more as a potential power bullpen type of pitcher. Others see a potential three-pitch mix, two above-average to plus offerings, with the build to be a rotation workhorse.

The draft signing deadline is Friday, July 7th, so two weeks from yesterday. The Yankees have already handled all their major business, however. They’ve signed each of their picks in the top 17 rounds plus several late rounders. I expect them to spend that remaining $460,000 ($457,949 to be exact) on someone. That has been their M.O. in the draft pool era. To spend as much as possible without incurring penalties forcing them to surrender next year’s first round pick.

2017 Draft Signings: Sauer, Smith, Lehnen, Higgins, Zurak

Higgins. (Getty)
Higgins. (Getty)

We are still two and a half weeks away from the Friday, July 7th signing deadline, though the Yankees have already taken care of business with most of their 2017 draft picks. Here are my Day One, Day Two, and Day Three recaps, and here are all of the Yankees’ picks. Now here are the latest signings:

  • Both Arkansas RHP Trevor Stephan (3rd) and Rice RHP Glenn Otto (5th) signed for less than originally reported. MLB.com says Stephan received $797,500, not $800,000. Jim Callis says Otto received $320,900, not $323,400. Turns out there’s an accounting trick that saves teams $2,500 against the bonus pool. Callis says the standard draftee contract includes $2,500 in bonuses so easily reachable that teams were counting it as part of the signing bonus. Now they’ve stopped. The player still gets the money, but it doesn’t count against the bonus pool. Huh.
  • The Yankees and California HS RHP Matt Sauer (2nd) have a deal in place, reports Steve Adams. Joe Bailey says Sauer was offered $2.5M, which is roughly double his slot value. I don’t doubt Adams and Bailey, though I’d like to see one of the regular draft gurus says the deal is done before considering it done, you know?
  • Texas HS OF Canaan Smith (4th) has signed, the Yankees announced. Jim Callis says he received a $497,500 bonus, a little above the $433,100 slot value. Smith has big left-handed raw power and he walked 60+ times in 40 games this spring. It’s a top ten walks total for a prep player all-time.
  • Augustana LHP Dalton Lehnen (6th) and Dallas Baptist RHP Dalton Higgins (7th) have signed, the Yankees announced. Callis says Lehnen received a $245,100 bonus, which is his slot value minus the $2,500 trick. No word on Higgins’ bonus yet. My guess is he received slot as well. (Update: Callis says Higgins signed for $227,500, which is slightly above slot.)
  • Radford RHP Kyle Zurak (8th), Texas-Arlington RHP Austin Gardner (9th), and Southern Illinois RHP Chad Whitmer (10th) have all signed as well, the Yankees announced. MLB.com says all three signed for a well-below slot $7,500. They’re draft pool saving college senior picks.
  • New Orleans RHP Shawn Semple (11th), Orange Coast 1B Eric Wagaman (12th), Virginia Tech RHP Aaron McGarity (15th), Mount Olive SS Ricky Surum (16th), Delaware RHP Ron Marinaccio (19th), and Notre Dame C Ryan Lidge (20th) have all signed, the Yankees announced. Slot money for every pick after the tenth round is $125,000 and I doubt these guys signed for more than that. (Update: Callis says Semple signed for $147,500. No word on the other guys.)
  • Seattle RHP Janson Junk (22nd) has signed, according to his Instagram feed. There’s no reason to think he received more than the $125,000 slot.

Assuming the Sauer deal is done, the Yankees have now signed every pick in the top 22 rounds except South Carolina RHP Clarke Schmidt (1st) and Alabama-Birmingham RHP Garrett Whitlock (18th). That Sauer is getting a big over-slot bonus indicates the Yanks have a below-slot deal in place with Schmidt.

2017 Draft Signings: Sensley, Cortijo, Hess, DeMarco

Sensley. (Presswire)
Sensley. (The Advertiser)

With the short season leagues set to begin this week, the Yankees have locked up many of their late round draft picks these last few days. Here are my Day One, Day Two, and Day Three draft recaps, and here are all of the Yankees’ picks. Now here are the latest signings (and non-signings):

  • Louisiana-Lafayette OF Steven Sensley (12th) has signed, reports William Weathers. No word on his bonus, though there’s no reason to think it’s above the $125,000 slot for picks after the tenth round. Scouting director Damon Oppenheimer called Sensley his draft sleeper. “We like his exit velo, power, athleticism,” he said to Randy Miller. Exit velo for a college kid! Anyway, Sensley hit .314/.417/.576 with eleven homers in 57 games this spring.
  • Maryland HS RHP Harold Cortijo (14th) has signed. His high school coach posted a photo of the contract signing on Twitter. No word on the bonus, though I think there’s a chance Cortijo will get more than the $125,000 slot. He was said to be very committed to junior college, which would have allowed him to re-enter the draft next year.
  • Rhode Island C Chris Hess (17th) has signed, according to the school’s Twitter feed. Again, no word on the bonus, though as with Sensley, odds are it is not over $125,000. Hess hit .347/.414/.581 with eight homers and 12 steals in 53 games as a senior this spring.
  • Georgia HS Pat DeMarco (24th) is not planning to sign, according to his Twitter feed. He’s one of the highly ranked players who slipped to Day Three due to signability concerns. DeMarco grew up in New York City, graduated high school in Georgia, and is committed to Vanderbilt.
  • Lane College LHP Austin Crowson (26th) has not yet decided whether to turn pro, according to Steve Mims. “Not sure yet, still discussing everything. I’m going to take my time,” he said. Crowson is at a junior college, so he could re-enter the draft next year.
  • Norfolk State RHP Alex Mauricio (27th) has signed, according to his dad’s Twitter feed. No word on his bonus yet and chances are we’ll never find out. These under-slot late rounders are rarely reported. Mauricio hit .345/.427/.528 this spring and had a 3.49 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 59.1 innings. The Yankees drafted him as a pitcher.
  • Louisiana HS SS Hayden Cantrelle (40th) wants to “keep his options open,” reports Trey Labat. Cantrelle has a number in mind, and if the Yankees meet it, he’ll sign. He’s a legitimate football prospect in addition to baseball, and he made it no secret he wants to go to college.

Our Draft Pool Tracker page is up and running. You can use that to keep tabs on the bonus pool situation between now and the July 7th signing deadline. The Tracker is available at all times under the Resources pull down menu in the nav bar at the top of the site.

2017 Draft: Yanks sign fifth rounder Glenn Otto to slot bonus

(Getty)
(Getty)

June 20th: Jim Callis says Otto signed for $320,900, not $323,400. Callis says the standard contract for draftees includes $2,500 in bonuses so easily reachable that teams were counting it as part of the player’s bonus. Now they’ve stopped. The player still gets the $2,500 bonus, but it doesn’t count against the bonus pool. Huh.

June 17th: According to Mark Berman, the Yankees have agreed to a deal with their fifth round pick in this year’s draft, Rice RHP Glenn Otto. Slot money for the 152nd overall pick is $323,400, and that’s what Otto will receive. It’s a straight slot signing, per Berman. You can keep tabs on the draft pool situation with our Draft Pool Tracker.

“It feels good to be a professional baseball player, feels even better to be a Yankee,” said Otto to Berman. “It’s always been a goal of mine ever since I starting playing baseball when I was five-years-old. People would ask me what I wanted to be and I always said professional baseball player. That’s always been the case through Little League, high school, and college. I wouldn’t be here without my dad. He’s helped me through everything baseball’s brought me.”

Otto, 21, spent most of his three years at Rice in the bullpen and the last two as the team’s closer. This spring he had a 3.77 ERA with 81 strikeouts and 29 walks in only 59.2 innings after sitting out fall ball with arm fatigue/soreness. MLB.com ranked him as the 96nd best prospect in the draft class while Baseball America ranked him 181st. Pretty big split! Here’s a snippet of MLB.com’s scouting report:

When he comes out of the bullpen, Otto generally works with a 92-95 mph fastball that tops out at 97. His spike curveball can be devastating with power and 12-to-6 break. He also has a changeup but rarely uses it … Otto has a strong frame and his arm works well, so many scouts believe he could make it as a starter in pro ball. To succeed in that role, he’ll have to throw more strikes.

Berman says the Yankees intend to develop Otto as a starting pitcher going forward, which isn’t terribly surprising. He did make two starts for Rice this spring, so I suppose it’s not completely foreign to him. In addition to throwing more strikes, Otto will have to use his changeup more often to make it work in the rotation, and also refine that knuckle-curve. Not too many starters throw that pitch. It can be tough to command. Here’s some video:

The Yankees are not shy about attempting to convert relievers into starters in the minors. Chance Adams is the big success story, though others like Jonathan Holder and Taylor Widener have tried it as well. “We got together as a group and decided that we’re going to take our best arms and put them in the starting rotation,” said farm system head Gary Denbo over the winter. Now they’re going to do the same with Otto.

The signing deadline is Friday, July 7th this season, so three weeks from yesterday. The Yankees have already handed out one over slot bonus, to third rounder Trevor Stephan. They’re expected to save some bonus pool money with first rounder Clarke Schmidt, as well as the college seniors they drafted in rounds 8-10, which will then be given to other players, including second rounder Matt Sauer.

2017 Draft: Yankees sign third rounder Trevor Stephan to over-slot bonus

(Arkansas)
(Arkansas)

June 20th: MLB.com says Stephan signed for $797,500, not $800,000. Jim Callis says the standard contract for draftees includes $2,500 in bonuses so easily reachable that teams were counting it as part of the player’s bonus. Now they’ve stopped. The player still gets the $2,500 bonus, but it doesn’t count against the bonus pool. Huh.

June 16th: According to Jim Callis, the Yankees have signed Arkansas RHP Trevor Stephan, their third round pick in this week’s amateur draft, to an over-slot $800,000 bonus. Slot money for the 92nd overall pick is $588,700. You can keep tabs on the draft pool situation with our Draft Pool Tracker.

Stephan, 21, had a 2.87 ERA with 120 strikeouts and 20 walks in 16 starts and 91 innings for the Razorbacks this spring. MLB.com ranked him as a 87th best prospect in the draft class. Here’s a snippet of their scouting report:

He touched 97 mph in the fall and has sat at 90-95 this spring, using his deceptive crossfire delivery to create running life. He commands his fastball well to both sides of the plate … He has scrapped a soft curveball in favor of a slider/cutter that shows flashes of becoming an average pitch, and he rarely uses a changeup that’s even less advanced. His delivery and arm action may not be conducive to starting every fifth day in pro ball, where he’s likely to become a reliever who relies heavily on his fastball.

Once the signing is complete, I imagine Stephan will join Short Season Staten Island to begin his pro career. Their season begins Monday. Here is some video of Stephan in action:

In addition to the usual bonus pool saving college senior picks in rounds 8-10, the Yankees are also expected to save some cash with first round pick South Carolina RHP Clarke Schmidt, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery and doesn’t have much leverage. Most of those savings figure to be funneled to second rounder California HS RHP Matt Sauer, however.

2017 Draft: Beck, Mangum, Williams, Abbott, Burns, Brown

Burns. (@MLBDraft)
Burns. (@MLBDraft)

Now that the Yankees have made their selections and the 2017 draft is over, it’s time to see who they actually sign. The signing deadline is Friday, July 7th this year, so three weeks from tomorrow. That’s really close! Anyway, here are my Day One, Day Two, and Day Three recaps. Here are all of the Yankees’ picks, and here’s some draft news and links:

  • In his AL recap, Keith Law notes he doesn’t like the deliveries of South Carolina RHP Clarke Schmidt (1st round) and California HS RHP Matt Sauer (2nd), though he does say, “some teams were fine with the way (Sauer’s) arm works despite all of that and saw a mid-rotation starter.”
  • In their AL East draft recap, Baseball America wrote “college RHPs Trevor Stephan (3), Glenn Otto (5) and Dalton Higgins (7) and LHP Dalton Lehnen (6) all have at least one swing-and-miss offering.” The Yankees always use those middle rounds on Day Two to hoard power arms.
  • Catawba College RHP Bryan Blanton (21st) has a deal in place and is traveling to Tampa today, reports Mike London. Blanton, a reliever, had a 2.70 ERA with 50 strikeouts and 15 walks in 33.1 innings for the Indians.
  • Stanford RHP Tristan Beck (29th) is not going to sign, reports John Manuel. Bummer, but not surprising. Beck was a consensus first round talent before a back issue caused him to miss the season. He was reportedly seeking upwards of $4M to sign.
  • Missouri State OF Jake Mangum (30th), a draft-eligible sophomore, is going to return to school for his junior year, he announced on Twitter. Mangum was a top five rounds pick based on talent, though he slipped due to signability concerns.
  • If you’re into such things, Chris Mitchell’s KATOH system projects Duke OF Jimmy Herron (31st) as one of the best college picks on Day Three at +1.5 WAR. “A draft-eligible sophomore, Herron smacked 17 doubles, stole 17 bases, and struck out in just 12% of his plate appearances this year … Herron doesn’t turn 21 until late July, so he’s a few months younger than most of his draft-eligible college peers, making his performance all the more impressive,” said the write-up.
  • Georgia HS C Steven Williams (35th) will not sign and instead follow through on his commitment to Auburn, he wrote on Twitter. Williams was considered a possible top five rounds pick as an offense-first catcher, though his strong commitment to Auburn caused him to slide to Day Three.
  • Virginia HS LHP Andrew Abbott (36th) is not planning to sign, based on his Twitter feed. That’s not really a surprise. He was considered unsignable from the start. Abbott throws three pitches, including an excellent curveball, though he sits mostly in the upper-80s right now with his fastball.
  • Alabama HS RHP Tanner Burns (37th) will not sign, according to his Twitter feed. Jim Callis mentioned him as one of the most notable picks on Day Three. “Burns drew comparisons to recent first-rounders due to his big arm and advanced command, but his commitment to Auburn must have been too strong for teams to take a chance on him early,” wrote Callis.
  • The Yankees have signed Missouri State OF Cody Brown as an undrafted free agent, according to MSU. He’s heading to Tampa to sign tomorrow. Brown, a lefty swinger, hit .323/.433/.539 with nine homers and ten steals in 64 games this spring.

By the way, our annual Draft Pool Tracker page is now up and running. You can keep tabs on the Yankees’ bonus pool situation there between now and the signing deadline. It is available at all times under the Resources pull down menu in the nav bar at the top of the site.

2017 Draft: Yankees grab several top prospects on Day Three, but will they sign any of them?

Beck. (@MLBDraft)
Beck. (@MLBDraft)

The 2017 draft is now in the books. All together 1,215 players heard their names called over the last three days, including 40 by the Yankees. You can see all of New York’s picks here. The Yankees loaded up on pitchers on Day One and Day Two. On Day Three they grabbed plenty of organizational depth, but also selected several highly ranked prospects who slipped due to signability concerns. Will the Yankees get any to turn pro? That’s the million dollar question. Let’s review the Day Three haul.

The Top Dollar Prospects

When the draft resumed yesterday, three of Baseball America’s top 41 prospects remained on the board. The Yankees selected two of them: Stanford RHP Tristan Beck (29th round) and Alabama HS RHP Tanner Burns (37th). Both were considered potential first round picks coming into this spring. Bonus demands caused Burns to slip. Bonus demands and injury caused Beck to slide.

Beck was one of the top pitchers in the country in 2016 — he joined Mike Mussina and Cal Quantrill (Paul’s kid) as the only freshmen to start Opening Day in Stanford history — but he did not pitch at all this spring due to a stress reaction in his back. During that freshman season he had a 2.48 ERA with 76 strikeouts and 26 walks in 14 starts and 83.1 innings, and he did it with good stuff (low-90s fastball, above-average changeup, good breaking ball) and an excellent feel for pitching. Beck really knows what he’s doing out on the mound.

In addition to being really good, Beck has added leverage as a draft-eligible sophomore. Man of the people Chris Crawford hears Beck wants anywhere from $2.5M to $4M to sign, and if true, there’s basically no chance the Yankees can sign him. Maybe that’s the opening ask and Beck is willing to settle for less? Either way, his options are take gobs of money from the Yankees, or go back to school and re-enter the draft next year as a potential top ten pick.

Burns, meanwhile, is a legitimate two-way prospect with a mid-90s fastball and an out pitch mid-80s slider on the mound, and a powerful right-handed bat with a keen eye at the plate. He is considered a better pro prospect on the mound. (The Yankees announced him as a pitcher.) Burns was not drafted on Day One (or Day Two) because he wants a lot of money to skip out on his commitment to Auburn, and teams weren’t convinced they could get him to turn pro.

While Beck and Burns are the crown jewels of Day Three, the Yankees drafted several other high-end prospects with signability questions yesterday as well. Louisville RHP Riley Thompson (25th) is a rare draft-eligible freshman after having Tommy John surgery and taking a medical redshirt in 2016. He threw only 14.2 innings this spring between coming back from surgery and being buried on a deep pitching staff. When he did pitch, Thompson showed first round stuff with a mid-to-high-90s heater and a power low-80s curveball. He has a chance to come out as a first round pick next year.

Georgia HS OF Pat DeMarco (24th) grew up in New York before moving to Georgia in 2014, and he’s an advanced all-around player with contact skills and good center field defense. Georgia HS C Steven Williams (35th) was one of the top high school catchers in the draft class, thanks mostly to his offense. He’s got big power in his left-handed bat and a history of annihilating elite prep competition with wood bats in showcase events. Williams might not catch long-term, but his bat will play anywhere. He’s committed to Auburn. DeMarco is committed to Vanderbilt.

And finally, Mississippi State OF Jake Mangum (30th) offers outstanding leadoff skills, including high contact rates from both sides of the plate, a patient approach, and top of the line speed. He also plays a mean center field. Mangum is an animal on the field who plays all out, all the time. People love watching him play. Mangum is a draft-eligible sophomore with plenty of negotiating leverage. He can either turn pro, or go back to school for a year and re-enter the draft next summer.

Based on talent, all six of these players should have been Day One or early Day Two picks. Two of them, Burns and Beck, have true first round ability. The Yankees selected all six of them because, well, why not? They could either continue to mine for hidden gems in the late rounds, or grab the most talented players on the board and try to convince them to sign. There’s always a chance they’ll change their minds and decide to turn pro, after all. Take the best players and figure out the rest later.

The Yankees hope to sign one of these players. That’s the realistic goal. Get one to turn pro. Beck or Burns would be preferable, but Thompson, Williams, DeMarco, or Mangum would work just as well. The Yankees will take whatever draft pool savings they have from Days One and Two, shovel it in front of these guys, and force them to say no. In all likelihood, all six will wind up in school next year. That’s usually how it goes. The fact the Yankees grabbed so many of these highly ranked players with signability questions increases their chances of getting one to turn pro, I think.

Balancing Out Days One & Two

Wagaman. (Los Angeles Times)
Wagaman. (Los Angeles Times)

I don’t think it was intentional, but the Yankees did select nine pitchers with their ten picks the first two days of the draft. That’s probably just the way the board fell in the top ten rounds. But still, when you go that pitcher heavy early in the draft, you kinda have to balance it out with position players later. The minor league rosters still need to be filled out, after all. On Day Three, the Yankees skewed toward college bats.

The best position player prospect the Yankees selected yesterday, at least among the guys they have a realistic chance to sign, is probably Orange Coast 1B Eric Wagaman (13th). He’s a right-handed hitter with big raw power and a knack for getting the bat on the ball despite a big long swing. Wagaman is a first baseman only defensively, so he’s going to have to hit and hit big to climb the ladder.

Duke OF Jimmy Herron (31st) is a ridiculous runner and a slap hitter from the right side of the plate. He puts the ball in play and runs like hell, plus he’ll draw walks and play good defense. There’s the potential for something exciting here if Herron ever figures out how to get some power out of his 6-foot-1, 195 lb. frame. California HS SS Alika Williams (32nd) has tools but is so raw that he’s probably best off going to college and developing there rather than against pro caliber competition.

Louisiana-Lafayette OF Steven Sensley (12th), Mount Olive SS Rickey Surum (16th), and Rhode Island 2B Chris Hess (17th) are all college performers without carrying tools. Surum can at least play shortstop, so he has position scarcity on his side. The Yankees drafted 40 players and only 12 are position players.

The Power Arms

When you get to Day Three of the draft, you’re looking for pitchers with one of two things: stuff or command. The guys who have both are usually long gone. The Yankees have long preferred the guys with stuff, I guess because they consider that an unteachable skill. They think it’s easier to teach someone to locate than it is to get him to throw harder or develop a better breaking ball. You don’t have to agree with that, but that’s what the Yankees seem to think, and they draft accordingly.

The best power arm the Yankees drafted on Day Three is Seattle RHP Janson Junk (22nd), who will inevitably be nicknamed “Junkballer” even though he is anything but. His heater will sit 95-96 mph in short relief outings and touch 98, and his best secondary pitch is a changeup with some fade. Junk has arm strength. Now he needs to refine either his changeup or breaking ball or give him a consistent second pitch, and allow him to climb the minor league ladder. Man can not live on fastball alone.

Maryland HS RHP Harold Cortijo (14th) made a name for himself in showcases last year by showing a low-to-mid-90s fastball with a promising curveball. Cortijo is a great athlete who also has some potential as a center fielder, and the hope is that athleticism will allow him to iron out his command and improve the quality of his secondary stuff. Slot money for every pick on Day Three is $125,000 — every penny over that counts towards the bonus pool — and it might take an over-slot bonus to convince Cortijo to turn pro.

Among the college pitchers taken on Day Three, New Orleans RHP Shawn Semple (11th) probably has the best chance to start long-term. His fastball is mostly low-90s and he has feel for both a breaking ball and a changeup, and he throws strikes. That’s someone you can send out as a starter for a year or two, and if it’s not working out, try him in relief. Delaware RHP Ron Marinaccio (19th) found new life after moving to the bullpen this spring and can miss some bats with a fastball and slider.

Norfolk State RHP Alex Mauricio (27th) used to throw very hard, up to 99 mph, but the wear of tear of college ball has him sitting mostly low-90s and touching 95 mph these days. He doesn’t have much to offer besides his fastball, however. Ventura College LHP Andrew Nardi (39th) has a nice fastball/slider combination and he models his delivery after Clayton Kershaw, though throwing strikes is a problem.

The Bounceback Candidates

In Virginia Tech RHP Aaron McGarity (15th) and Alabama-Birmingham RHP Garrett Whitlock (18th), the Yankees selected two pitchers who showed Day Two stuff in the past, before getting hurt. McGarity was low-to-mid-90s with ease in the Cape Cod League in 2015 before breaking down. Whitlock was mid-90s with a nasty slider on the Cape last summer, then he came down with a back problem early this spring. When he returned, the fastball was mostly 90-92 mph and flat.

The thinking here is pretty obvious. The Yankees grabbed McGarity and Whitlock with late round picks hoping they’ll regain their previous form as they get healthy and further away from their injuries. If it works, great! If not, you’re only out a late pick, and who cares about that? Sometimes these broken late round guys turn into Brian Wilson. (Wilson was coming off Tommy John surgery and his stuff was way down when the Giants drafted him in the 24th round in 2003.)

Other Unsignables

Beyond the high-profile prospects highlighted at the beginning of this post, the Yankees did grab several high school prospects in the late rounds with some tools, but basically no chance to sign. Florida HS LHP Jordan Butler (34th) is the best prospect of the bunch. He’s a side-armer with a low-90s sinker and a big sweepy slider that cuts across the entire width of the plate. The arm slot has most thinking he’s destined for the bullpen. It’s going to be tough to buy him away from Florida since he’ll have an opportunity to play a prominent role for the Gators from the get-go.

Virginia HS LHP Andrew Abbott (36th) has three pitches, including an upper-80s fastball and a great curveball, though he is considered completely unsignable and will follow through on his commitment to Virginia. If Abbott adds velocity in college, he could come out as a potential Day One pick in three years. Louisiana HS SS Hayden Cantrelle (40th) has speed and good defense at shortstop. He’s a legitimate football prospect as a quarterback and wide receiver, though he’s committed to play baseball only at Louisiana-Lafayette. Never say never, but Butler, Abbott, and Cantrelle are all dead set on college and not expected to sign.

The Rest of the Class

Lidge. (@NDBaseball)
Lidge. (@NDBaseball)

Notre Dame C Ryan Lidge (20th) is a catch-and-throw guy most notable for being Brad Lidge’s cousin … Catawba College RHP Bryan Blanton (21st round) is a reliever with a breaking ball he throws an awful lot … Arizona HS RHP Colby Davis (23rd) can locate three pitches, though none of the three stand out as a potential put-away pitch … Lane College LHP Austin Crowson (26th) has a big 6-foot-5, 210 lb. frame and a low-90s heater. He’s trying to figure out everything else … Florida HS RHP Shane Roberts (28th) is mostly upper-80s with the makings of an okay breaking ball. College might the best place for him going forward … Boston College RHP Jacob Stevens (33rd round) pitches at 88-89 mph and relies on a wide array of secondary pitches to get outs … Spartanburg Methodist RHP Brent Burgess (38th round) was a catcher in college who the Yankees want to try on the mound. The Rangers couldn’t convince him to do the same in the 40th round last year.

* * *

The draft signing deadline is Friday, July 7th this year — doesn’t the deadline seem to get a little closer each year? — and because of all those high-end prospects who fell into the Yankees lap on Day Three, the deadline could be exciting this year. I don’t expect any of those guys to actually sign because those types of players never seem to sign, but hey, I’m open to being surprised. Maybe the Yankees saved enough bonus pool space on Days One and Two to get one of them turn pro.