2016 Draft: Draft Order Tracker page now live

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)
(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)

Yesterday was the deadline for free agents to accept or reject the qualifying offer. A record 20 free agents received the QO, and, for the first time ever, a player accepted. Three accepted, in fact. Colby Rasmus, Matt Wieters, and Brett Anderson all took the one-year, $15.8M QO rather than try their luck in free agency. That surprised me.

Now that the QO decision deadline has passed, our 2016 Draft Order Tracker page is live. We’ll use that to keep track of the 2016 draft order as draft picks change hands via free agent compensation — and also via trades next year, since the 12 Competitive Balance Lottery picks can be traded — this offseason. You can access the 2016 Draft Order Tracker at any time via the Resources tab in the nav bar above.

At the moment, the Yankees hold the 22nd overall pick in the first round. Obviously they could forfeit that pick to sign one of the 16 free agents who rejected the QO. The draft order is very much subject to change right now. The Yankees held the 16th pick in the 2015 draft (RHP James Kaprielian) but otherwise have not picked as high as 22nd overall since taking Ian Kennedy with the 21st pick in 2006.

The Yankees did not make any of their three free agents the QO, which was not surprisingly. Chris Capuano, Stephen Drew, and Chris Young were their only free agents. So the Yankees can not gain any 2016 draft picks via free agent compensation this winter. They can only lose draft picks.

After the first round, the Yankees currently hold the 60th (second round) and 98th (third round) overall picks. Again, that is subject to change pending free agency. Anyway, the 2016 Draft Order Tracker page is up. Make sure you check back for updates throughout the offseason.

Friday Links: Offseason Outlook, 2015 Draft, Park, Platoons


Looking to kill some time before the start of the weekend? I have some stray links to pass along that might help you out. Enjoy.

MLBTR’s Offseason Outlook

Last week the gang at MLBTR covered the Yankees as part of their annual Offseason Outlook series. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a look ahead to the offseason. It’s a really great overview of the team’s situation in general — the big obstacle this offseason: getting younger and better despite limited flexibility — and touches on all the major points. We’ll dissect everything from every possible angle this winter here at RAB, but MLBTR’s Offseason Outlook post is a good primer as we wait for the offseason to really get underway. Check it out.

Baseball America’s Draft Report Card

Baseball America just wrapped up their 2015 Draft Report Card series, in which they break down each team’s draft class. They aren’t grading anything, just looking at the top tools. OF Jhalan Jackson (7th round) is said to have the most power potential among 2015 Yankees draftees, for example. The position player section is free but the pitchers and odds and ends are behind the paywall.

Interestingly, the write-up says RHP James Kaprielian (1st) was working at 92-94 and touching 96 this summer, which is a bit higher than the college scouting reports. Also, both his slider and changeup received 65 grades on the 20-80 scouting scale, which is pretty damn awesome. RHP Chance Adams (5th), who had a 1.78 ERA (1.75 FIP) with a 31.7% strikeout rate in 35.1 relief innings at three levels after signing, touched 99 mph this summer. He could start next season at Double-A and reach MLB soon.

Park. (Yonhap)
Park. (Yonhap)

Nexen Heroes to post Byung-Ho Park

The Nexen Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization will post power hitting first baseman Byung-Ho Park this coming Monday, according to a Yonhap report. The Yankees were reportedly one of 20 teams to scout Park this season. The right-handed hitting first baseman hit .343/.436/.714 with 53 homers in 140 games this year. Daniel Kim, a former scout and current Korean baseball analyst, told Travis Sawchik Park is the “best pure hitter in the history of KBO.”

The posting process starts Monday, which means teams then have until 5pm ET next Friday to submit a blind bid. The Heroes then have until the following Monday to accept or reject the bid. If they accept, the high bidder and Park have 30 days to negotiate a contract. The team only pays the posting fee if they manage to sign Park. Kim told Sawchik he expects Park to double the $5M posting fee the Pirates paid for Jung-Ho Kang last year.

Park is a first baseman and first baseman only, apparently, so I’m not sure what the Yankees would do with him. Another first baseman/DH is pretty much the last thing they need. They have Mark Teixeira for one more season, a bonafide first baseman of the future in Greg Bird, plus other potential first base candidates in Gary Sanchez, Eric Jagielo, and the aging Brian McCann. I dunno. We’ll see what happens.

Yankees dominated platoons in 2015

According to Baseball Reference, the Yankees led baseball by having the platoon advantage in 73% of their plate appearances this past season. The Indians were second at 71%. The Tigers, Nationals, and Diamondbacks were tied for last at a mere 43%. The Yankees have rated highly in the percentage of at-bats with the platoon advantage for the last few seasons now. Joe Girardi is really meticulous with his platoons, after all. There is definitely an advantage to be gained with platoon matchups, but, of course, it all comes down to the hitters. You have to have good hitters to platoon in the first place.

2016 Draft: Yankees hold 22nd overall pick

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)
(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)

Now that the 2015 regular season is over, the order for the 2016 amateur draft it set. The Phillies have the first overall pick for the second time in franchise history — they took Pat Burrell first overall in 1998 — and they’ll be followed by the Reds, Braves, Rockies, and Brewers. Here is the full draft order.

The Yankees had the ninth best record in baseball this season at 87-75, so they hold the 22nd overall pick in next June’s draft. That will be their second highest pick since taking Ian Kennedy with the 21st overall selection in 2006. The Yankees took UCLA RHP James Kaprielian with the 16th overall pick earlier this year.

Obviously the draft order is not final and won’t be for a while. Draft picks can and inevitably will move around as free agent compensation this offseason. I think the only free agent the Yankees would be willing to surrender their first rounder to sign is Jason Heyward, and that’s only because he’s so young. Here’s my qualifying offer primer for CBS.

It’s a bit too early to discuss who the Yankees may target with that 22nd pick. Heck, it’s not even clear who the favorite to go first overall is right now. Kiley McDaniel, who recently joined the Braves front office, put together a 2016 draft board at FanGraphs with notable prospects. He also wrote up some draft notes as well, so check those out.

The Yankees have leaned towards college players in recent years because they simply haven’t had a ton of luck developing high school kids into big league players. Maybe they’ll change course now that Greg Bird and Luis Severino, two teenagers they developed successfully, had MLB success. We’ll see.

I’ll put together our annual Draft Order Tracker page in a few weeks, once we get closer to the offseason and see who receives a qualifying offer.

2016 Draft: MLB announces Competitive Balance Lottery results

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)
(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)

Earlier today, MLB announced the Competitive Balance Lottery results for the 2016 Draft. In a nutshell, small market and low payroll teams are given extra draft picks each year for the sake of, ahem, competitive balance. Joey Nowak has a good primer if you’re unfamiliar with the system.

Here are the results from Wednesday’s lottery drawing:

2016 Competitive Ballance LotteryThe Yankees are neither a small market nor a low payroll team, so they weren’t eligible for a Competitive Balance Lottery pick. Haven’t been since the system was implemented a few years ago and won’t be anytime soon. At least the Cardinals didn’t get a pick this year. They have the last few drafts.

Anyway, these Competitive Balance Lottery picks can be traded! Just not during the offseason for some reason. (What a silly system.) The picks can be traded right away — the Astros received a 2015 Competitive Balance Lottery pick from the Marlins at the trade deadline last summer in the Jarred Cosart deal, for example — so that’s more ammo for those teams at the trade deadline.

The Reds (Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman), Athletics (Ben Zobrist, Scott Kazmir, Tyler Clippard), Marlins (Mat Latos, Dan Haren, Martin Prado), and Padres (Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner) are all realistic trade partners for the Yankees prior to the trade deadline, so perhaps the draft picks get involved in a deal somehow. Otherwise this doesn’t have much to do with the Bombers.

Saturday Links: Trade Talks, Draft Picking Trading, Forbes

Irrelevant photo is irrelevant. (Presswire)
Irrelevant photo is irrelevant. (Presswire)

The Yankees and Angels Mariners continue their weekend series a little later today, so, until then, here are some links to help you pass the time.

Yankees already engaged in trade talks

This is no surprise, but assistant GM Billy Eppler confirmed the Yankees are already having trade conversations with other teams during a recent radio interview. The trade deadline is two weeks from yesterday. Here’s what Eppler said, via Brendan Kuty:

“I know (Brian Cashman) has been having conversations with clubs, will continue to have conversations with clubs. We kind of check in. I’ll check in with some counterparts and our scouts out in the field will have some conversations here and there and just kind of keep their ears open. Our antennas are up. There will be some conversations. And Cashman will have those conversations regarding what we might be able to do. He’ll take those to ownership. But often times the seller is the one with the leverage and it’s generally a seller’s market with an extra wildcard added in. There’s less players. Less clubs that are out there. So that shrinks your player pool and raises the acquisition costs of guys. And a lot of time the opportunity just doesn’t present itself.”

The team’s needs leading into the trade deadline are pretty obvious: pitching depth and a second baseman, preferably. I’m glad they’re giving Rob Refsnyder a chance right now, but I don’t feel too comfortable rolling with him as the everyday second baseman in a pennant race. Another right-handed bat for the bench would make sense too. Given their position in the standings and the fact the Yankees haven’t been to the postseason since 2013, I expect them to be aggressive at the deadline. The other four AL East teams are begging New York to run away with the division.

Trading draft picks will be discussed for next CBA

Over the All-Star break, commissioner Rob Manfred told Eric Fisher he would like teams to have flexibility by allowing them to trade draft picks. He expects that to be part of talks during the next round of Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations following the 2016 season. Right now only Competitive Balance Lottery picks can be traded. Only small market and low payroll teams get those.

I’m curious to see how trading picks would work. They’d have to limit it to the first round or something like that, right? Maybe the first three rounds? If teams were allowed to trade every pick, I’d ask for a 30-something rounder in every trade. Why not? Free lottery ticket. The Competitive Balance Lottery picks that have been traded the last few years have been traded for small-ish returns — relievers, mid-range prospects, etc. I’m curious to see how, say, a top five pick would be valued in a trade.

Yankees rank as second most valuable franchise in sports

According to the latest Forbes rankings, the Yankees are currently the second most valuable sports franchise in the world at $3.2 billion. Only Real Madrid ($3.26 billion) is worth more, though the Dallas Cowboys are tied with the Yankees are $3.2 billion. Barcelona ($3.16 billion) and Manchester United ($3.1 billion) round out the top five. The Dodgers rank second overall at $2.4 billion and are the second most valuable baseball franchise. Here’s the blurb from Kurt Badenhausen:

The Yankees lead a group of 12 MLB teams, up from six last year, in the top 50. Credit the massive influx of TV money, both nationally and locally, for soaring baseball values. The Yankees were one of the first teams to recognize the importance of TV with their launch of the YES Network in 2002. It has been the most-watched regional sports network in 11 of the past 12 years. Yankee Global Enterprises retains 20% of the RSN with Fox owning 80% after upping their stake in 2014.

The value of the Yankees is up 28%, and the team moved up two spots to tie for second place. The 27-time world champions missed the postseason for the second consecutive season in 2014 and only the third time since 1994, but the Bronx Bombers still finished tops in the American League in attendance, averaging 42,520 fans per game. The Yankees generated $676 million in revenue before deducting for $90 million in revenue-sharing payments and $78 million in bond payments that go towards stadium debt.

The Yankees don’t have a Mariano Rivera or Derek Jeter retirement tour to lean on for a late-season attendance bump this year, but they are absolutely in contention, so that will help. There’s still an entire second half to go right now, but returning to the postseason is not a pipe dream, it’s a legitimate possibility. That will only improve the franchise’s value. The Yankees are a money-making machine. I truly believe the Steinbrenners will not sell the team, but, if they did, could they get $5 billion?

Update: Yankees agree to sign first round pick UCLA RHP James Kaprielian

(Los Angeles Times)
(Los Angeles Times)

6:00pm: The Yankees have announced the signing of Kaprielian, so it’s a done deal. Officially official.

1:53pm: The Yankees have agreed to sign first round pick UCLA RHP James Kaprielian to a $2.65M bonus, reports Jim Callis. Slot money for the 16th overall pick was $2,543,300. The signing deadline is this coming Friday and Kaprielian is a Scott Boras client, and Boras usually takes his top clients right down to the final days to squeeze every last penny out of teams.

As our 2015 Draft Pool Tracker shows, the Yankees had $2,668,565 in bonus pool space to sign Kaprielian before getting hit with penalties, including forfeiting next year’s first round pick. The Yankees signed 35 of their 41 draft picks this summer, which is an unusually large number. Most teams sign 25-30 players each year. You can see all New York’s picks at Baseball America.

Kaprielian, 21, had a 2.02 ERA with 114 strikeouts and 33 walks in 106.2 innings as UCLA’s ace this spring. He also threw the first nine-inning no-hitter in school history. Kaprielian’s velocity reportedly ticked up later in the spring, supposedly to the point where he was sitting 93-95 mph in his last few starts. Everything you need to know about him is right here.

UCLA’s baseball season ended six weeks ago, so I’m guessing Kaprielian will report to Tampa for a few tune-up innings before joining one of the minor league affiliates. A short stint with the Rookie GCL Yanks and a few weeks with Short Season Staten Island could be the plan for Kaprielian this year, with High-A Tampa the logical destination to start next season.

Update: Yankees sign 11th rounder LHP Josh Rogers to above slot bonus


Tuesday: Rogers received a $485,000 bonus, according to Callis. Our 2015 Draft Pool Tracker shows the Yankees have $2,738,565 left over to give to Kaprielian while Callis says it’s $2,676,450. Someone’s math is screwed up somewhere. Either way, Kaprielian is slotted for $2,546,300 and Jon Heyman says the two sides are expected to have a deal done by Friday’s deadline.

Sunday: According to Jim Callis, the Yankees have signed 11th round pick Louisville LHP Josh Rogers to an overslot bonus worth early fourth round money. That puts his bonus in the $500,000 range. Any money over $100,000 given to a player taken after the tenth round counts against the draft pool.

Rogers, a draft-eligible sophomore with more leverage than the average 11th round pick, had Tommy John surgery as a high school senior and returned to the mound just eleven months later. He had a 3.36 ERA with an 82/25 K/BB in 93.2 innings for Louisville this spring and a 3.09 ERA with a 16/7 K/BB in 20.1 innings for the Bourne Braves in the Cape Cod League this summer.

The Yankees likely selected Rogers as a “summer follow,” meaning they took him with the intention of getting a longer look on the Cape before deciding whether to make an offer. That’s how they landed David Robertson back in the day. Here’s a snippet of Baseball America’s scouting report (subs. req’d):

At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Rogers has a near ideal pitcher’s build. He locates his 87-91 mph fastball, mixes in a slider that flashes average at his best and below-average at other times and a usable changeup. Rogers’ mix of three pitches and an ability to locate them makes him a potential back-end starter.

As our 2015 Draft Pool Tracker shows, a bonus in the $500,000 range leaves the team about $2.6M to sign first round pick UCLA RHP James Kaprielian. Slot money for the 16th overall pick is $2.54M or so, and in recent weeks we heard Kaprielian is expected to receive a bonus in the $3M range. Guess that’s not happening. I highly doubt the Yankees would exceed their pool and forfeit a future first rounder to sign him. The signing deadline is this Friday and I have no reason to believe Kaprielian won’t sign.