Draft Links: 2015 Top Prospects, Changes, East Coast Pro

After running Thursday through Saturday the last two years, the amateur draft is returning to its usual Monday through Wednesday slot this year. The draft is scheduled to run from June 8-10 this year, and right now the Yankees hold the 17th, 31st, and 57th overall picks. (The 31st pick is the compensation pick for David Robertson.)

This is only the second time in the last ten years New York has held three of the top 57 picks. The other instance came two years ago, when they landed 3B Eric Jagielo, OF Aaron Judge, and LHP Ian Clarkin with their first rounder and the compensation picks for Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano. Here are some miscellaneous draft notes.

MLB.com’s Top 50 Draft Prospects

MLB.com has published their first round of 2015 draft prospect rankings, which are topped by Florida HS SS Brendan Rodgers (video above!). Duke RHP Michael Matuella and JuCo LHP Brady Aiken rank second and third, respectively. Aiken, as you might remember, didn’t sign with the Astros as the first overall pick in the 2014 draft and will be draft-eligible again because he’s going to a junior college, not a four-year school. As always, the MLB.com rankings include free scouting reports, 20-80 scouting scale grades, and video. Great resource.

You can’t really make the straight comparison, but, if you’re interested, MLB.com has Fullerton RHP Phil Bickford and Tennessee HS RHP Donny Everett ranked 17th and 31st, respectively, the Yankees top two draft slots. Bickford passed on signing with the Blue Jays as the tenth overall pick in the 2013 draft and Everett is one of the hardest throwing high school arms in the draft class. Overall, the 2015 class appears to be very heavy on pitchers with few impact position players available.

MLB, NCAA agree to move draft to July 1st

According to Peter Gammons, MLB and the NCAA have a “general agreement” to move the draft to July 1st with a July 15th signing deadline. This isn’t final yet — MLB can’t just change the date of the draft, the whole thing has to be collectively bargained and the MLBPA has to agree to it.

Moving the draft from the first week of June to July 1st doesn’t seem like much, but it will create a bunch of logistical headaches in the lower minors. (I wrote about them at CBS.) More than anything, moving the draft seems like a precursor to an international draft, which the owners have been trying to get for years to cut costs. The international signing period opens July 2nd of each year, remember. The timing if awfully interesting.

RHP Jacob Nix enrolls in IMG Academy for 2015

Nix. (OC Register)
Nix. (OC Register)

Nix, the Astros’ fifth rounder last year, is heading to the IMG Academy in Florida for post-graduate work this year, according to John Manuel. Nix was a second or third round talent last summer who fell into the fifth round due to bonus demands. Houston was set to pay him an above-slot bonus with the saving from their below-slot deal with Aiken, but, when the Aiken deal fell apart, they didn’t have the draft pool space to sign Nix and reneged on their agreement. The MLBPA filed a grievance on Nix’s behalf and won, so the Astros had to pay him the full $1.5M they agreed to give him originally.

Anyway, the post-graduate year at IMG means Nix will again be draft-eligible this year, and he’ll presumably slot in as a projected second or third rounder again. It’ll be interesting to see how teams treat him this year. They know Nix has money now, and the fact that he is re-entering the draft rather than going to a four-year college means he wants to turn pro. Could he be a below-slot guy this year? He doesn’t have much leverage. We’ll see. Nix is 6-foot-4 and has a mid-90s fastball, which is usually the kind of prospect the Yankees love. He could be a target for that 57th overall pick. (The highest draft pick in IMG history is, of course, John Ryan Murphy.)

Yankees bringing East Coast Pro to Tampa

According to Manuel, the Yankees are bringing the East Coast Pro to Tampa this summer. It is one of the top events on the summer scouting showcase circuit. The event will be held from July 27-30 — so we’re talking about 2016 draft picks, not 2015 — and feature 150 of the best high school players in the country. The event moves around each year, so it won’t be in Tampa long-term.

Just to be clear, scouts from every team will be in attendance, so this isn’t an exclusive workout for the Yankees. That said, only the Yankees will have access to the pitch tracking data available at Steinbrenner Field because they are the event host. The East Coast Pro has many big name alumni, including David Price, Justin Upton, David Wright, Zack Greinke, Madison Bumgarner, and Matt Harvey.

2015 Draft & International Free Agent Links: Rankings, Scouting Reports

At the moment, the Yankees currently hold the 17th overall pick in the 2015 draft. They could still move up a few slots if the Marlins, Padres, Rays, Braves, and/or Brewers sign one of the nine unsigned qualified free agents, one of whom is David Robertson. All of the details are at our 2015 Draft Order page. Of course, the Yankees could also forfeit that 17th overall pick if they sign a qualified free agents. Here are some links about next year’s draft and international free agent class.

  • Both Baseball America and Keith Law/Chris Crawford wrote up their lists of the top 30 prospects for the 2015 draft. Both links are subscriber-only, unfortunately. LHP Brady Aiken, who didn’t sign with the Astros as the first overall pick in the 2014 draft, tops the ESPN list while Florida HS SS Brendan Rogers is atop the Baseball America list. Aiken is second. He’s heading to a junior college and will be draft-eligible again in 2015.
  • Draft to the Show put together a series of (free!) rankings and mini-scouting reports for the top prospects for the 2015 draft: top 15 high school pitchers, top 15 high school hitters, top 15 college pitchers, and top 15 college hitters. Seems like the strength of this draft is quick-moving college arms, which is a shame because it seems like you could pull any schmuck from the stands and get a 3.50 ERA these days.
  • Kiley McDaniel wrote up scouting reports for several of the top international prospects for the 2015-16 signing period. Because the Yankees exceeded their 2014-15 bonus pool, they won’t be able to sign a player for more than $300,000 in both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 signing periods. So I guess you can get to know the Yankees can’t sign as amateurs but will try to sign as free agents in ten years.

2015 Draft Order Tracker

Just a heads up, our 2015 Draft Order page is finally up and running. You can keep track of draft picks as they change hands via free agent compensation there. The Yankees currently hold the 19th overall pick but could very well lose that if they sign one of the 12 free agents who received a qualifying offer. They could also gain a supplemental first round selection if David Robertson signs elsewhere. The 2015 Draft Order page is available at all times via the Resources tab under the street sign in the banner at the top of the page.

Baseball America’s 2014 Draft Report Cards: Yankees edition

Baseball America published their 2014 Draft Report Card for the Yankees earlier this week, though it is behind the paywall. It’s fairly straight forward anyway. LHP Jacob Lindgren (2nd round) has the best secondary pitch (his slider) and is closest to the big leagues. RHP Austin DeCarr (3) has the best fastball, OF Mark Payton (7) is the best pure hitter, and 1B Chris Gittens (12) is the best power hitter. No real surprises there.

In a free companion piece, Clint Longenecker broke down some recent draft spending trends from around the league. The Yankees exceeded their $3.2M pool and were only $70k away from a 5% overage this summer, which would have forced them to forfeit their first round pick in 2015. Thankfully that didn’t happen. They were also one of three teams to sign just one high school player (DeCarr). The Astros and Phillies did it as well. You can see all of New York’s draft picks right here and their draft pool situation right here. (My numbers are approximate.)

2015 Draft: Yankees have 19th overall pick

Now that the 2014 regular season is over, the 2015 amateur draft order has been finalized. The Diamondbacks had baseball’s worst record at 64-98 and will pick first overall for the second time in team history. They selected Justin Upton with the top pick back in 2005. J.J. Cooper looked a possible first overall pick candidates earlier this month. There is no Upton/Stephen Strasburg/Bryce Harper-esque slam dunk prospect for next year’s draft, at least right now. Lots will change the next few months.

The Yankees finished the season with the 12th best record in baseball at 84-78 and will pick 19th overall next June. Here’s the full draft order. The Astros have a compensation pick (second overall) for failing to sign top pick LHP Brady Aiken this year, pushing everyone else back a slot. That’s why the Yankees are set to pick 19th instead of 18th. The last time the Yankees picked as high as 19th was 2005, when they took Oklahoma HS SS C.J. Henry with the 17th pick. The 19th pick came with a ~$2.1M draft pool value this year and the slots are expected to go up next year. It goes without saying the Yankees may forfeit this pick as free agent compensation.

2015 Draft: MLB announces competitive balance lottery results

MLB announced the results of the competitive balance lottery today, awarding a total of 12 picks to small market, low revenue clubs. Obviously the Yankees did not get one. The full results are right here. It’s hard to understand a system in which the Cardinals are awarded competitive balance picks but not the Rays or Athletics. Anyway, these picks can be traded! Just not in the offseason. What stupid system.

Yankees sign 15th round pick LHP Andrew Chin

The Yankees have signed 15th round pick Boston College LHP Andrew Chin, the school announced. No word on his bonus, but it’s unlikely it was more than the $100k slot for post-tenth round selections. Chin had a 3.49 ERA with a 20/14 K/BB in 28.1 innings for the Chatham Anglers in the Cape Cod League over the last few weeks. The Yankees probably saw something they liked this summer and made an offer (or a better one).

Chin, 21, was a fifth round pick out of high school back in 2011 (Blue Jays),¬†though the scouting report isn’t terribly exciting: high-80s sinker with an okay breaking ball and a changeup. He pitched to a 3.10 ERA with a 52/32 K/BB in 14 starts and 78.1 innings for the Eagles this spring. The signing deadline was yesterday afternoon and this morning the Yankees released an official list of their signed picks. They did not sign either Florida HS RHP Garrett Cave (17th round) or Connecticut HS 3B Will Toffey (23rd), their two shot in the dark signability picks. They also didn’t sign Iona RHP Mariano Rivera Jr. (29th). As our 2014 Draft Pool Tracker shows, the team exceeded its $3.2M draft pool by roughly $120k, so they’ll have to pay a small tax.