2017 Draft: Day One Open Thread

(@MLB)
(@MLB)

Later tonight, the Yankees will begin their seven-game West Coast swing with the first of three against the Mike Trout-less Angels. The Yankees are currently in first place at 37-23 and have baseball’s best run differential at +115. It is a pretty awesome time to be a Yankees fan. The team is good (and fun!) and the farm system is excellent.

In the grand scheme of things, today’s big event is not the game in Anaheim. One game is just one game. Hard to make too much of ’em. More importantly, the 2017 amateur draft begins tonight, so the Yankees and every other team has a chance to add impact players to their organization. Future All-Stars will be drafted tonight. Probably an MVP and Cy Young winner. Maybe even a Hall of Famer.

The MLB draft is a three-day event and a total of 75 picks will be made tonight. That covers the First Round, Supplemental First Round, Competitive Balance Round A, Second Round, and Competitive Balance Round B. The Yankees have two picks tonight: 16th (first round) and 54th (second round). The full draft order is right here. The Astros and Pirates lead the way with four picks tonight. The Cardinals have zero.

Reports these last few weeks have been all over the place. The Yankees have most often been connected to arms, both college and high school, though the prevailing thought is they will pounce should a top talent fall into their laps in the first round, a la Blake Rutherford last year. For what it’s worth, the Yankees have selected 14 players in the first three rounds over the last four drafts, and nine of the 14 were college players. We’ll see how it goes.

Tonight’s draft broadcast begins at 7pm ET, and you’ll be able to watch live on MLB Network or stream online on MLB.com. You can also follow along on MLB.com’s Draft Tracker. Here are Baseball America’s top 500 draft prospects and MLB.com’s top 200 draft prospects for reference. As always, MLB.com’s draft content is completely free. The scouting reports and everything.

We’ll have a regular game thread for tonight’s game later on, closer to first pitch. For the time being, use this thread for all draft-related comments and whatnot. Enjoy the draft, everyone. This promises to be a fun day.

2017 Draft: Latest Mock Drafts, Canning, Heimlich

(@MLB)
(@MLB)

Later tonight, the 2017 amateur draft will begin with the first 75 picks during a live MLB Network broadcast. The Yankees hold the 16th overall pick this year. We’ll have wall-to-wall draft coverage over the next few days, as usual. For now, here are the latest bits of news and notes.

Latest Mock Drafts

The various scouting publications all released their final mock drafts earlier today. It sounds like Louisville 1B/LHP Brendan McKay is now favored to go first overall to the Twins, not California HS SS/RHP Hunter Greene or Vanderbilt RHP Kyle Wright. Anyway, here’s a recap of the latest mock drafts and their Yankees’ projection:

Both MLB.com and Law list Pratto and Peterson as New York’s leading candidates, and Baseball America says, “If Pratto is on the board, he’ll go here.” The MLB.com crew adds New Mexico HS LHP Trevor Rogers (RAB profile) Kentucky HS OF Jo Adell (RAB profile), and UC Irvine 2B Keston Hiura (RAB profile) as potential targets.

For what it’s worth, Law says, “I think the Yankees will take any top player who slips this far, as they did with Blake Rutherford last year.”

Canning has medical issue

UCLA RHP Griffin Canning (RAB profile), a projected first round pick and a player the Yankees have been connected to at times these last few weeks, apparently has a medical issue that is scaring teams away. Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis have the details:

According to sources from multiple teams, Canning’s MRI returned some potential issues. Such reports are not uncommon and it will be up to each team’s medical staff to interpret the results, but as of Friday night, some teams had already decided to pass on Canning, while others are waiting to hear back from their doctors on how to proceed.

Law heard the same as Mayo and Callis, for what it’s worth. As part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the top 50 prospects (per MLB Scouting Bureau) can undergo a voluntary MRI before the draft so teams have their medical info. I assume that’s what happened with Canning.

The physical issue seems like bad news for Canning, and it is, but at least he knows about it and can react accordingly. Teams were going to find out about this medical issue no matter what. At least now Canning and his agent can shop around a bit for a team willing to meet his asking price. If he waited until after the draft to have an MRI, he would be stuck negotiating only with the team that drafted him, killing his leverage.

It’s worth noting the Yankees have steered clear of injured players in recent years. Really since taking Andrew Brackman in the first round in 2007 knowing he’d need Tommy John surgery. They passed on several high profile pitchers with healthy issues the last few seasons, most notably LHP Brady Aiken two years ago. Canning’s issue, whatever it is, could take him out of consideration for the Yankees.

Heimlich being removed from draft boards

According to Mayo and Callis, Oregon State LHP Luke Heimlich, a projected second round pick, is being removed from draft boards entirely after a report last week revealed he is registered sex offender. “You absolutely can’t draft him. You can’t draft him,” said one senior NL official to Mayo and Callis. Heimlich asked to be excused from pitching in the Super Regionals this past weekend after last week’s report surfaced.

Heimlich was never connected to the Yankees this spring — it’s tough to connect a potential second rounder to any team, really — though as a college left-hander with a track record of dominance (0.76 ERA in 118.1 innings this year), he figured to be someone under consideration. Now? Forget it. Given his crimes — ready the linked report for details of Heimlich’s history — Heimlich should be persona non grata. I can’t imagine any team will select him in the draft.

2017 Draft: Pavin Smith

Pavin Smith | 1B

Background
Smith, 21, was selected by the Rockies in the 32nd round of the 2014 draft out of high school, though he didn’t sign and instead followed through on his commitment to Virginia. He’s a career .325/.402/.514 hitter with 28 home runs in 187 games with the Cavaliers. This spring Smith hit .342/.427/.570 with more home runs (13) than strikeouts (12).

Scouting Report
With a 6-foot-2 and 210 lb. frame, Smith is a bat-first prospect with above-average hit and power tools. He’s a left-handed hitter who can drive the ball to all fields and has the innate ability to get the fat part of the bat on the ball. He knows the strike zone and consistently gets himself into hitter’s counts. Defensively, Smith is good around the first base bag and he has a good arm. He’s a good athlete who has played some outfield in the past, though he’s expected to remain at first base long-term, where he has more than enough bat for the position and solid glovework.

Miscellany
MLB.com (8th), Keith Law (12th), and Baseball America (15th) all rank Smith as a top half of the first round talent, though it should be noted he has been slipping to the back-half of the first round in recent mock drafts for whatever reason. The Yankees hold the 16th overall pick. High-end college performers always have a way of coming off the board early, so my gut feeling is Smith gets drafted before the Yankees pick despite what the mock drafts say. If not, he’d be a real coup at No. 16.

2017 Draft: Logan Warmoth

Logan Warmoth | SS

Background
The 21-year-old Warmoth was not drafted out of an Orlando high school in 2014, yet he managed to take over as North Carolina’s starting shortstop as a freshman. He’s a career .310/.378/.453 hitter with the Tar Heels, which includes a .336/.404/.554 line with nine home runs and 18 steals in 63 games this spring. Warmoth hit .270/.330/.450 in the Cape Cod League last year, which is a strong showing with wood bats against elite college pitching.

Scouting Report
Warmoth is a divisive prospect. Those who like him see a line drive right-handed swing and the ability to square up all kinds of pitching. Those who aren’t quite as sold see a guy without one standout tool, just a bunch of average tools. Warmoth has some power and speed, and he has good range and hands in the field. More than a few folks think he’s destined for second base long-term. Everything plays up a bit because Warmoth knows the game well and has great baseball instincts. See him on a good day, and he’ll look like an above-average hitting shortstop. See him on a bad day, and he’ll look like an average hitting second baseman.

Miscellany
The scouting publications are pretty split on Warmoth, though they all agree he’s a first round talent. Keith Law (subs. req’d) is the high man and ranks him as the seventh best prospect in the 2017 draft class. Baseball America ranks him 19th and MLB.com rank him 27th. The Yankees hold the 16th pick. Warmoth is, by far, the best college middle infielder in the draft class, which leads me to believe he’s going to drafted pretty high, possibly before the Yankees pick.

2017 Draft: Evan White

Evan White | 1B

Background
The 21-year-old White was not drafted out of an Ohio high school back in 2014. He is a career .354/.413/.522 hitter with 16 home runs and 18 stolen bases in 157 career games at Kentucky, which includes a .368/.450/.627 batting line and nine homers in 51 games this spring.

Scouting Report
White has a very unique profile. He’s a right-handed hitter and a left-handed thrower, and at the plate he stands out more for his pure hitting ability than his power. The opposite is usually true for most first base prospects. His bat speed and level swing allow him to spray the ball from foul pole and foul pole, and there’s some thought that once he gets into a pro training program and adds muscle to his lanky 6-foot-3, 177 lb. fame, the ball will start carrying over the fence more often. White is a very good athlete and runner, so much so that some believe he could move to center field in pro ball. His hands and footwork around the first base bag are Gold Glove caliber. When you think about a first base prospect, the first thing that comes to mind is a brute masher with power. That’s not White. He’s very well-rounded with the biggest current shortcoming being over-the-fence power.

Miscellany
White has been among the most notable risers in the draft class this spring. He’s been climbing draft boards steadily. Baseball America ranks him as the 12th best prospect in the draft class while MLB.com ranks him 18th and Keith Law (subs. req’d) ranks him 33rd. The Yankees hold the 16th overall pick. College bats are always in demand and I get the sense White will be off the board before the Yankees get a chance to pick. If not, betting on his pure hitting ability and athleticism would be a pretty interesting move for the Yankees, especially if they think he can handle center field.

Saturday Links: Otani, Draft Info, Mock Drafts, Old Timers’ Day

Otani. (Presswire)
Otani. (Presswire)

The Yankees and Orioles continue their weekend series later tonight, with a 7:15pm ET game. Boy, I sure do hate Saturday night games. Anyway, until then, check out Jorge Posada’s letter to his younger self at The Players’ Tribune, then check out these stray bits of news.

Latest on Shohei Otani

Earlier this week Jeff Passan posted a bit of an update on Nippon Ham Fighters ace/slugger Shohei Otani, the best player in the world not under contract with one of the 30 big league teams. Otani is only 22, which means he would be subject to the international bonus hard cap if he were to come over to MLB this offseason. Waiting until he’s 25 would allow him to sign a contract of any size. Anyway, the important details from Passan:

  • There is “significant skepticism” that Otani will come over to MLB this winter. Teams estimate his market value right now, at age 22, at at least $200M. Market value is not the same thing as earning potential, of course.
  • MLB is expected to be “vigilant to ensure the sanctity of the system is not made a mockery by extralegal payments,” meaning a team couldn’t give Otani a long-term contract shortly after signing him, thereby circumventing the hard cap.
  • AL teams believe they have an inside track to sign Otani because they can let him DH between starts. NL teams are wary of letting him play the outfield when he’s not on the mound.

Otani, by the way, has been hampered by a nagging ankle issue this season. He has yet to pitch and only recently did he return to the lineup as a designated hitter. He’s hitting .407/.469/.815 with five doubles and two homers in eight games so far.

My guess — and this is only a guess — is Otani will not come over to MLB this winter. I think he’ll instead announce his intention to come over next offseason, allowing teams to get their international bonus money situation in order. Right now, just about every team has agreements in place with Latin American players for July 2nd, leaving them no money for Otani over the winter. We’ll see.

Latest Mock Drafts

With the draft two days away, the consensus right now is the Twins will select Vanderbilt RHP Kyle Wright with the first overall pick. That allows California HS SS/RHP Hunter Greene, the unanimous No. 1 prospect in the draft class, to slip to the Reds with the second pick, or maybe even the Padres with the third pick. Anyway, here are the latest mock drafts and their Yankees’ picks:

In the FanGraphs write-up Eric Longenhagen notes the Yankees have had “special assistants” in to see Rogers, though I should note that isn’t unusual for any player under first round consideration. Baseball America says the Yankees have been “linked to college arms all spring, but (they) also could go for the right college bat.” MLB.com links them to California HS 1B Nick Pratto (RAB profile) in addition to Canning and Rogers.

(Self-Promotion: I posted a mock draft at CBS that is little more than educated guesswork, so check that out. I’m not going to tell you who I have the Yankees taking. No, I’m not above begging for clicks.)

(Matthew Ziegler/Getty)
(Matthew Ziegler/Getty)

Swisher, Boucher to represent Yankees at draft

Last week MLB announced the representatives for all 30 teams for Monday’s draft broadcast on MLB Network. Nick Swisher and Denis Boucher are representing the Yankees. Here are every team’s representatives. Swisher is Swisher. He played for the Yankees from 2009-12 and was very productive. He’ll go down as one of Brian Cashman‘s greatest trades. Also, when Swisher left as a free agent, the Yankees used the compensation draft pick to select Aaron Judge. That trade is the gift that keeps on giving.

Boucher has been with the Yankees since 2010 and he more or less runs their amateur scouting in Eastern Canada. His MLB playing career was brief (1991-94 with the Blue Jays, Indians, Expos) and since then he’s worked to grow the game in Canada. Boucher has coached Canadian Olympic teams, in the World Baseball Classic, and a bunch of other international tournaments. He’s also been involved in developing Canada’s youth baseball program. Certainly not a household name, but Boucher has done a lot to promote the game north of the border. Pretty cool the Yankees are rewarding him with a trip to the draft.

Also, I should note MLB has announced four prospects will attend the draft Monday: Greene, Rogers, Kentucky HS OF Jordon Adell (RAB profile), and Alabama HS OF Bubba Thompson (RAB profile). Would be kinda cool if the Yankees picked a kid actually at the draft, no? Judge and Ian Clarkin were there for the 2013 draft, remember.

Yankees announce Old Timers’ Day roster

Old Timers’ Day is Sunday, June 25th this year — two weeks from tomorrow — and a few days ago the Yankees announced the list of attendees. Here’s the press release. Most are the usual suspects. Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, Paul O’Neill, Ron Guidry, etc. The guys we see every Old Timers’ Day. The most notable first time Old Timer is Jorge Posada. He’s the first member of the Core Four (groan) to attend Old Timers’ Day. Neat.

Also, during the Old Timers’ Day festivities, the Yankees will hold a special ceremony to honor new Hall of Famer Tim Raines. Raines is going into the Hall of Fame as an Expo (duh), but he was an incredibly productive platoon outfielder with the Yankees from 1996-98. Rock hit .299/.395/.429 (120 wRC+) with 18 homers and 26 steals in 940 plate appearances those years, his age 36-38 seasons. Pretty awesome.

2017 Draft: Jo Adell

Jo Adell | OF

Background
Adell, 18, attends Ballard High School in Louisville, and this spring he led the country with 25 home runs. He did struggle against other elite high school prospects on the showcase circuit last summer. Adell is committed to Louisville.

Scouting Report
At 6-for-2 and 195 lbs., Adell has some of the best athleticism and loudest tools in the draft class. He’s a right-handed hitter and thrower with top of the line bat speed and power potential. The problem is his tendency to swing and miss, even against high school pitching. Will he make enough contact to tap into that power potential at the next level? That’s the question. Adell is a very good runner with a strong arm, both of which serve him well in center field. It’s worth noting he is also a decent pitching prospect with mid-90s gas and a good curveball, but just about everyone agrees he has more potential as a position player. Adell has 30-30 upside if things break right.

Miscellany
The various scouting publications are pretty split on Adell. Baseball America ranks him as the seventh best prospect in the draft class. Keith Law (subs. req’d), meanwhile, ranks him 50th. MLB.com kinda splits the middle and ranks him 21st. The Yankees hold the 16th overall pick. The Yankees love their high upside up-the-middle athletes as much as anyone, though they usually save those long shot picks for the later rounds and go after more polished players in the first round.