Hudson Belinsky of Baseball America (no subs. req’d) posted his first mock draft of the year earlier this week, and he has the Phillies taking New Jersey HS LHP Jason Groome with the top pick. There is no standout No. 1 prospect this year. No Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasburg. Not even a David Price or a Gerrit Cole. Groome is the guy right now, but that is very much subject to change.
Belinsky has the Yankees selecting California HS RHP Kevin Gowdy with their first round pick, that 18th overall selection. Gowdy definitely fits scouting director Damon Oppenheimer’s mold as a polished pitcher from Southern California. MLB.com ranked Gowdy as the 22nd best prospect in the draft class. Here’s a snippet of their free scouting report:
The Santa Barbara native has the chance to have three at least above-average pitches in his arsenal. Gowdy’s fastball will sit in the 90-93 mph range, and with his frame, it’s easy to dream about increased velocity. His breaking ball is an out pitch with good bite, one that should develop into a true slider in time. Gowdy has a better feel for a changeup than many high school pitchers, and he has shown advanced command for his age. He has a free and easy delivery that he repeats well, boding well for future success.
The Yankees have a position player heavy farm system at the moment, and while teams don’t draft for need, this draft is deeper in arms than it is bats. Many of the best prospects in the draft are position players, but the depth through rounds four or five is in arms. This is a good draft class for the Yankees to replenish the pitching pipeline a bit.
Oppenheimer has skewed towards college players in recent years — ten of their 15 picks in the top five rounds over the last three years were college players, for example — and I don’t expect that to change at all going forward. That doesn’t mean every pick will be a college player, or even their first rounder, just majority of their picks.