2015 Draft: Cornelius Randolph

Cornelius Randolph | SS

Randolph, 18, attends Griffin High School not too far outside Atlanta. He is the school’s best baseball prospect since Tim Beckham, the first overall selection of the 2008 draft. Griffin dealt with a minor bout of biceps tendinitis this spring and is committed to Clemson.

Scouting Report
Simply put, the 6-foot-1, 190 lb. Randolph is a pure hitter with great bat speed, power potential, and strike zone awareness from the left side of the plate. An ultra-advanced approach makes him even more dangerous. Randolph rarely chases out of the zone and consistently puts himself in good hitter’s counts. His best tool is his arm strength — his arm wasn’t at its best this spring because of the biceps issue — which works well because he’s not going to stick at shortstop long-term. Cornelius has good hands but lacks the first step quickness and range for shortstop. There’s enough defensive ability there to believe he’ll become an above-average defender at third base in time.

Cornelius ranked as the 19th, 20th, and 29th best prospect in the draft class in the latest rankings by MLB.com, Baseball America, and Keith Law (subs. req’d). Depending on who you ask, the Yankees are looking for a bat with one of their two first round picks (16th and 30th), and Cornelius has one of the best offensive skill sets in the entire draft. He’s a lefty with power and patience, which is the profile you’ll find all throughout franchise history.

Saturday Links: Stottlemyre, Betances, Didi, Mock Drafts

Stottlemyre during his playing days. (Presswire)
Stottlemyre during his playing days. (Presswire)

Once again, the Yankees are playing a Saturday night game this week, though at least this one is on the East Coast. Including tonight, their next three and four of their next five Saturday games are night games. Blah. Anyway, here are some links to hold you over until the Yankees and Angels resume their series later tonight.

Mel Stottlemyre Battling Cancer Again

Former Yankees pitcher and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre is again battling cancer, reports John Harper. The 73-year-old Stottlemyre was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer, while on Joe Torre’s staff back in 2000, and he was told he only had 3-5 years to live. He’s outshot that projection by a decade, but the cancer returned in late-2011 and he has been undergoing treatment since.

“It’s been tough because so much of my life is controlled by doctors, by the cancer. And the side effects of the treatment have been nasty, there’s no getting around it. But I’m determined that I can beat this thing. There are times when I have my doubts but it’s not going to get me down,” said Stottlemyre to Harper. Among the side effects from the medication are heart and thyroid conditions, and a form of diabetes. He also has an Achilles tendon issue, but can’t undergo surgery due to chemotherapy.

Despite the cancer and the treatment, Stottlemyre said he is going to try to make it to Yankee Stadium for Old Timers’ Day later this month. “I want to be there in the worst way,” he said. His wife Jean said they are going to try to attend as well, though the travel from their home in Washington might be too much. Either way, let’s hope for the best for Stottlemyre, a longtime cancer survivor who is trying to do it again.

Betances Gets Pointers From Rivera

Earlier this season, when Dellin Betances was really struggling with his command, the big right-hander got some pointers from Mariano Rivera, writes Kevin Kernan. “Towards the beginning of the season when I was struggling early on, Mo told me a couple of pointers that really helped,” said Betances. “He told me he felt like my front shoulder was flying open and he offered some tips. I dropped the shoulder a little bit to stay within a straight line and have a good direction towards home, and I think that has helped me be more successful and more consistent.’’

Betances said Rivera also reminded him to “stay locked in and have confidence,” even while struggling. “Hearing that from him makes such a difference. I’ve been able to use that advice to my advantage,” he added. Dellin’s numbers since his early-April struggles are insane — he went into last night’s game with five hits and six walks allowed in his last 24 innings, with 43 strikeouts. Bonkers. Somehow Betances has been even better than last year. If only Rivera’s words had that much of an impact on everyone.

Gregorius Gets Pointers From A-Rod, Beltran

(Ezra Shaw/Getty)
(Ezra Shaw/Getty)

Meanwhile, the Yankees have turned to two current veteran players to help shortstop Didi Gregorius, who has improved at the plate lately but has struggled overall. In addition to hitting coach Jeff Pentland and assistant hitting coach Alan Cockrell, both Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran have been helping Gregorius in recent weeks, reports George King. “Alex and Carlos had a big hand in talking to Didi,’’ said Pentland.

“You have to have the same approach in the batting cage that you do in the game, and that was something that was missing to me. He is the guy who has to go out and do it. Hopefully he has found something to work with,” said Beltran, who added he considers helping young players part of a veteran’s job. Both Beltran and A-Rod encouraged Gregorius to be “more selective in the (strike) zone” as well. This is the second time Rodriguez has lent a hand coaching Didi — he worked with him at shortstop a few weeks go.

Yankees Invite Whitley For Private Workout

According to Dan Zielinksi, the Yankees had New York HS OF Garrett Whitley in for a private workout before Monday’s draft. (Whitley said he worked out for the Braves and Brewers as well.) I’m not sure if the workout took place in Yankee Stadium or in Tampa, but that doesn’t really matter. Here’s my profile on Whitley, a projected first round pick and one of the highest upside players in the draft. Pre-draft workouts are not uncommon but teams don’t invite just anyone either — they’re usually reserved for players clubs have significant interest in, and, more than anything, the workout is so more members of the brain trust can see the player, including the higher ups. There’s no word on who else the Yankees brought in for a pre-draft workout.

Baseball Prospectus’ Mock Draft v2.0

Over at Baseball Prospectus (subs. req’d), Chris Crawford posted his second mock draft yesterday, and, like everyone else, he has the Diamondbacks taking Vanderbilt SS Dansby Swanson with the first overall pick. That’s not set in stone just yet, but it sure looks like Arizona is leaning in that direction. Crawford has the Yankees selecting Whitley and California HS C Chris Betts with their top two picks, 16th and 30th overall, respectively. Here’s my profile on Betts. (The Whitley profile is linked above.) The Yankees have been connected to both players for weeks now. There’s a decent chance Whitley will be off the board by time that 16th pick comes around, but Betts should still be available.

MLB.com’s Mock Draft v4.0

Meanwhile, Jim Callis posted his latest mock draft yesterday as well. He also has the D’Backs taking Swanson with the top pick. As for the Yankees, Callis has them picking UCLA RHP James Kaprielian and Betts with those 16th and 30th overall picks, respectively. Here’s my profile on Kaprielian. (Again, the Betts profile is linked above.) Callis says the Yankees “want a college pitcher,” but we’ve also heard they want a bat, so who really knows. This draft is very deep in right-handed pitchers, both high school and college, so the best available player for that 16th pick could easily be an arm.

Four Players To Attend 2015 Draft

According to MLB, four players will be at the MLB Network studios for the draft broadcast on Monday: Whitley, Florida HS SS Brendan Rodgers, Indiana HS RHP Ashe Russell, and Pennsylvania HS RH Mike Nikorak. Rodgers is a likely top five pick — he was a candidate to go first overall, but apparently the D’Backs want a quick moving college player — while the Yankees have been connected to the other three guys at various points these last few weeks. Here are my profiles for Russell and Nikorak. Look up a few paragraphs for the Whitley profile. It would be pretty neat if the Yankees drafted a kid who was actually in the studio, wouldn’t it?

Ibanez Changes Agents

Free agent Cuban infielder Andy Ibanez recently changed agents, according to Ben Badler. Ibanez left Praver Shapiro Sports Management and is now represented by Relativity Sports. He has been eligible to sign since February, but Badler says Ibanez is likely to wait to sign until after July 2nd so his bonus (and penalties) get pushed to the 2015-16 signing period. The Yankees have shown some interest in Ibanez, a 22-year-old light hitting/good fielding second baseman, but if he waits until July 2nd, they’ll have no shot to sign him. Part of the penalties for last year’s international spending spree is a bonus cap of $300,000 during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 signing periods, and $300,000 won’t be enough for Ibanez.

2015 Draft: Baseball America’s Mock Draft v5.0

Everett. (The Tennesseean)
Everett. (The Tennesseean)

It’s Friday, so Baseball America’s John Manuel published his weekly mock draft. As always, the mock draft is free to read. You don’t need a subscription. Manuel has the Diamondbacks selecting Georgia HS C Tyler Stephenson with the first overall pick, which differs from most recent mock drafts. Arizona’s been connected to Vanderbilt SS Dansby Swanson frequently the last few weeks.

Anyway, Manuel has the Yankees taking Cal Poly Pomona RHP Cody Ponce with the 16th overall pick and Tennessee HS RHP Donny Everett with the 30th overall pick. (The 30th pick is compensation for David Robertson.) The Yankees have been connected to both players in recent weeks — here are my profiles for Ponce and Everett — so these two mock draft picks are not surprising at all.

Manuel notes the Yankees are in New York HS OF Garrett Whitley (profile), and says they “can be aggressive with a tough sign” with their second pick thanks to their extra draft pool space. New York has a $7.885M bonus pool this year, sixth largest in baseball, so they can roll the dice on a tough to sign player knowing they have the extra money to spend.

2015 Draft: Daz Cameron

Daz Cameron | OF

Cameron, 18, attends Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in Georgia and is committed to Florida. He is one of a very small number of players who have been invited to play in two Under Armour All-American Games in their careers. Daz has big league bloodlines — his father Mike Cameron played 17 years in MLB and always seemed to be connected to the Yankees in trade or free agent rumors each offseason.

Scouting Report
Standing 6-foot-1 and 190 lbs., Cameron is not the same kind of player as his father, though the comparison is only natural. Daz is a right-handed hitter with a swing geared for contact and line drives but not much power, though his high-end bat speed suggests he could grow into some pop down the road. Mike was a low average/high power hitter while his son projects to be more of a high average/low power guy. Cameron runs well and is both an asset in center field and very likely to stay there long-term, moreso than any other 2015 draft prospect, though he isn’t the defender his father was. Mike was unreal in center. Daz has solid tools across the board but no elite carrying tool. He’s one of those good at everything, great at nothing types, and there’s some concern he stalled out this spring because he didn’t show much improvement from last year.

Baseball America, MLB.com, and Keith Law (subs. req’d) ranked Cameron as the 5th, 6th, and 12th best prospect in the 2015 draft class in their latest rankings, respectively. For what it’s worth, Law has Cameron falling out of the first round in his most recent mock draft because of bonus concerns. There’s talk Daz wants a ton of money to turn pro. The Yankees pick 16th and 30th this year and they have the sixth largest bonus pool ($7.885M), so they’re one of the few teams able to pay a player top ten money outside the top ten.

2015 Draft: Keith Law’s Mock Draft v3.0

Randolph. (John Sullivan/Griffin Daily News)
Randolph. (John Sullivan/Griffin Daily News)

Earlier today Keith Law posted his third and next-to-last mock draft of the season (subs. req’d). Law has the Diamondbacks selecting Vanderbilt SS Dansby Swanson with the top pick and that seems to be the consensus now. There is no clear No. 1 prospect this year, so Arizona’s been connected to a ton of players, but reportedly they have been zeroing in on Swanson of late.

With their first pick, the 16th overall selection, Law has the Yankees taking Georgia HS SS Cornelius Randolph. That’s a new name. We haven’t seen Randolph connected to the Yankees yet this year. Law says they “want a bat” with the 16th pick, either high school or college. Here is a snippet of Randolph’s free MLB.com scouting report:

Randolph has the tools and approach to hit for power and average. He offers bat speed, strength and patience from the left side of the plate. He uses the entire field and has better pitch recognition than most high schoolers.

Currently a shortstop, Randolph will move to a less challenging position at the next level. The Clemson recruit has good hands but lacks the quickness to play in the middle infield. His arm hasn’t been as strong this spring, when he has dealt with biceps tendinitis, but it and his bat would profile well at third base.

In addition to Randolph, Law says the Yankees are also in on California HS C Chris Betts, Cincinnati OF Ian Happ, and “the main prep outfielders” for the 16th pick. Here are my profiles on Betts and Happ. I assume New York HS OF Garrett Whitley, Michigan HS OF Nick Plummer, and Florida HS OF Kyle Tucker fall into that “main prep outfielders” group as well. Here are my profiles on Whitley, Plummer, and Tucker.

For their second pick, 30th overall (compensation for David Robertson), Law has the Yankees taking Tennessee HS RHP Donny Everett, who they’ve been linked to for much of the spring. Here’s my profile on Everett. Law says the Yankees are “more likely to take an arm here if they get a bat they like at 16.” New York has been connected to a ton of arms all spring, both prep and college, which isn’t surprising because a) that’s the strength of the draft, and b) the system could use some pitching.

Five Years Later: The 2010 Draft

They say you need five years before you can properly evaluate a draft class in baseball, though I don’t totally buy that. I think teams get a pretty good idea of what they have three years after the draft, maybe even two. There are always late-bloomers, of course, but for the most part you can look back just three years later and know how much you helped yourself. But, five years is the common refrain, so I’ve stuck to that with my annual past draft reviews. Now it’s time to tackle the 2010 draft.

The Yankees did not gain or lose any 2010 draft picks during the 2009-10 offseason. Their big moves following the World Series title were trades, specifically for Curtis Granderson and Javier Vazquez Boone Logan. The Yankees made 50 picks in 2010 and signed 29 of them, including each of their first 13 selections. They signed only two of their final 14 picks, however. Four of those 29 players are on the Yankees’ 40-man roster right now and two others are on 40-man rosters with other clubs. One is in the show as of this writing. Let’s review New York’s draft class from five years ago. Here are our five-year look-backs at the 2007, 2008, and 2009 drafts.

The Reach

I remember saying “who in the world is that?” when then-commissioner Bud Selig announced the Yankees had selected New York HS SS Cito Culver with their first round pick, the 32nd overall selection. Culver ranked 168th (!) on Baseball America’s top 200 draft prospects that year and the consensus at the time said he was a third or fourth round talent. To be fair, Culver had come on strong late in the spring and had a lot of helium in the weeks leading up to the draft. He signed for a straight slot $954,000 bonus.

The Yankees knew Culver better than any other club. Not only was he a semi-local kid from up near Rochester, but he was also on their Area Code Games team the previous summer, so they had firsthand knowledge of him as a person. The club reportedly loved Culver’s makeup and perseverance — he had some family issues growing up, including his father being sentenced to nine years for arson after burning down the family house — and he was a switch-hitting shortstop with very good athleticism and defensive chops. That’s a great profile in and of itself.

Unfortunately, the team’s belief in Culver as a player and a person has not resulted in a quality prospect. Culver, now 22, is a career .230/.309/.315 hitter in over 2,300 minor league plate appearances, which includes a .178/.213/.237 batting line at Double-A this year. He remains a strong defender (remember this?) but had to stop switch-hitting a few years ago because it just wasn’t working from the left side of the plate. Culver went unselected in the Rule 5 Draft in December and is still with the organization, though he is now basically just an organizational player.

The Yankees reached big time for Culver — for what it’s worth, there was talk the Twins were ready to pop Culver with their second round pick, but I don’t think that justifies the selection — and that was something we knew on draft day. The team went against the grain, and while that isn’t automatically a bad thing, it didn’t work in 2010. Culver is the poster boy for the “safe, signable, great makeup” phase the Yankees went through a few years ago, perhaps not coincidentally after getting burned by Andrew Brackman and Gerrit Cole in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

Tooled Up, Probability Down

The Yankees followed the Culver pick by selecting two ultra-athletic, tooled up prep players in California HS SS Angelo Gumbs (2nd round) and Florida HS OF Mason Williams (4th). Williams signed for $1.45M, which was the largest bonus the team gave to a drafted player that year. Gumbs moved to second base almost immediately after turning pro and has battled injuries and poor performance the last few years. The 22-year-old is a career .235/.285/.357 hitter in 334 minor league games, none above High Class-A. Gumbs is still in the organization but is a non-factor.

Williams. (Scott Iskowitz/Getty)
Williams. (Scott Iskowitz/Getty)

Williams, on the other hand, grew into arguably the best prospect in the farm system a few years ago. He hit .349/.395/.368 with eleven doubles and 28 steals in 68 games for Short Season Staten Island in 2011, then followed it up by hitting .298/.346/.474 with 22 doubles, eleven homers, and 20 steals in 90 games for Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa in 2012. That landed him in a premium spot on Baseball America’s 2013 Top 100 Prospects list — Williams ranked 32nd that year, ahead of Jorge Soler (34th), Chris Archer (36th), and George Springer (37th), among others.

Double-A proved to be a much tougher challenge for Williams — he hit .214/.271/.299 in 145 games at the level from 2013-14 — but that wasn’t the only problem. Makeup and work ethic concerns arose, as Williams was insubordinate at times and played with such low energy that he was pulled and benched for lack of hustle on multiple occasions. Williams started out well with Trenton this year (.317/.407/.375) and has since being promoted to Triple-A Scranton, but it takes more than two good months to erase all the bad from 2013-14.

There is still some hope for Williams, who continues to show tremendous athleticism and bat-to-ball skills. The Yankees added him to the 40-man roster this past offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, and his strong showing early this year has put him back on the prospect map, at least somewhat. Williams had problems the last few years not because he lacked talent, but because he wasn’t putting the work in. He’s still salvageable. Gumbs isn’t at this point.

Bat First, Position Second

After going for tools with Culver, Gumbs, and Williams at the top of the draft, the Yankees went for bat first prospects a little later in the draft. They selected Florida HS OF Ben Gamel in the tenth round and he’s been up and down throughout his career, having some strong seasons in Single-A and a down year in Double-A last season. Gamel is hitting .313/.374/.458 with Triple-A Scranton this year and is finally hitting for a modicum of power, with two homers in 46 games after hitting ten homers in 415 games from 2010-14.

The other bat first prospect is Georgia HS C Tyler Austin, who New York picked in the 13th round. Austin has had some monster years in the minors, most notably his dominant showing at four levels in 2012 (.322/.400/.559 in 110 games), but wrist and other injuries have hampered him since 2013. He is currently hitting .213/.280/.309 with Triple-A Scranton and is healthy as far as I know, so his prospect stock has been trending down in recent years.

Both Gamel and Austin were bat first prospects with position questions. Gamel was drafted as a center fielder and scouting reports said he was likely to wind up in left field long-term, but to his credit he has worked hard to make himself a passable defender. Austin was drafted as a catcher, moved to third base almost immediately after signing, later shifted to first base, and then to the corner outfield. Like Gamel, he was drafted for his bat. The defense is secondary.

Ace Whitley. (Brian Blanco/Getty)
Ace Whitley. (Brian Blanco/Getty)

Late Round Value

Two 2010 draftees have reached the big leagues with the Yankees and they were both late-round picks: Troy RHP Chase Whitley (15th) and Tulane RHP Preston Claiborne (17th). Claiborne arrived first and helped out as an up-and-down reliever from 2013-14 (3.79 ERA in 71.1 innings) before being dropped from the roster and lost on waivers to the Marlins this past winter. He is on Miami’s 40-man roster but has not pitched this year due to a shoulder injury.

Whitley was drafted as a reliever — he was actually a pitcher and a third baseman in college, but the Yankees moved him to the mound full-time after the draft — and he stayed in the bullpen until late 2013, when the Yankees tried him out in the rotation. He had success in that role and has contributed to New York as a spot starter/swingman the last two seasons, pitching to a 5.02 ERA in 95 innings. Whitley was in the team’s rotation earlier this year before blowing out his elbow and needing Tommy John surgery. He and Claiborne have basically been replacement level big leaguers, which isn’t a bad outcome for late round draft picks at all.

Big Velocity, Big Questions

As always, the Yankees went heavy on power arms up and down the draft in 2010. They’ve been doing that for years. The 2010 draft haul included Lynn RHP Tommy Kahnle (5th), California HS RHP Gabe Encinas (6th), St. John’s RHP Danny Burawa (12th), St. Peter’s RHP Conor Mullee (24th), and Weatherford RHP Zach Nuding (30th). All five threw very hard at the time of the draft, had work-in-progress secondary stuff, and subpar command.

Kahnle is the most successful of the bunch, though he didn’t reach MLB with the Yankees. The Rockies selected him in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft and he spent all of last season in their bullpen (4.19 ERA in 68.2 innings) after reaching Double-A while still with New York. Kahnle has spent most of this season in Triple-A and was just called up a few days ago. He still throws really hard and still doesn’t know where it’s going on most days. The same was true at the time of the draft.

Burawa is currently in Triple-A with the Yankees and, after going unselected in the Rule 5 Draft in 2013, the Yankees added him to the 40-man roster this past offseason. He has a 1.88 ERA in 28.2 innings with the RailRiders and is still battling his command, though his stuff has actually ticked up as a pro. Burawa now sits mid-to-upper-90s with a vicious slider these days. He just doesn’t always throw strikes. Since he’s on the 40-man, Burawa could be called up at any time.

Mullee and Encinas have battled injuries over the years, including Tommy John surgery. (Mullee has had three Tommy John surgeries so far, including two since being drafted.) At 23, Encinas is four years younger than Mullee and thus the better prospect. He still has a live arm and is improving his command as elbow reconstruction gets further in the rear view mirror. Nuding stuck around for a few years but never did refine his secondary stuff or strike-throwing ability. He was released this past offseason.

Roller. (MiLB.com)
Roller. (MiLB.com)

Organizational Power

The draft isn’t just about prospects. Teams use the later rounds to fill out their minor league rosters because having a prospect at every position at every level simply isn’t realistic. Being an organizational player is a thankless job but it is an important one in the grand scheme of things. Quality org players help the minor league affiliates win and clubs absolutely want to foster a winning environment in the minors. Once in a while one of these org players plays well enough to get a shot in the show.

East Carolina 1B Kyle Roller (8th) broke out with a 26-homer season between Double-A and Triple-A last year, and while his left-handed power is legit, there are some big holes in his swing (34.2 K% at Triple-A) and no versatility to his game. Roller is a first baseman (not a particularly great one either) and nothing else. Hard for a guy like that to crack the MLB roster. Roller is still hitting dingers with Triple-A Scranton these days (.250/.382/.440), though part of me wonders if a team in Korea or Japan will come along with an offer at some point. He’s the kind of player teams in Asia tend to poach.

Unsigned, Not Really Missed

The Yankees didn’t draft and fail to sign any players in the 2010 draft who went on to become high-profile prospects. The team’s most notable unsigned player is Georgia HS OF Kevin Jordan, but he’s not notable for what he’s done as a player. Jordan was diagnosed with ANCA vasculitis, an autoimmune disorder, a year after the draft, and he eventually received a kidney transplant from his coach at Wake Forest. The medical issue derailed his once promising career. Jordan did play as a fifth-year senior with the Demon Deacons this spring though (.167/.271/.381 as a bench player).

The best current player the Yankees failed to sign back in 2010 is probably Ohio HS OF Michael O’Neill (42th), who went to Michigan for three years before being re-drafted by the Yankees in the third round of the 2013 draft. He’s still in the system now and is a Grade-C prospect. Illinois HS OF Mike Gerber (40th) went to Creighton and was drafted as a college senior by the Tigers in the 15th round of the 2014 draft. He’s a career .330/.398/.449 hitter in 118 minor league games, and Baseball America ranked him as the 19th best prospect in Detroit’s bottom ranked farm system coming into this season. That’s about it. No other notable unsigned players.


Tulane 3B Rob Segedin (3rd) was an interesting college bat at the time of the draft, but he hasn’t developed as hoped. Injuries played a part in that. Segedin is currently in Triple-A and is an org player at this point … Tennessee HS RHP Taylor Morton (9th) and Canadian HS LHP Evan Rutckyj (16th) were intriguing prep arms who never hit on their projection. Morton retired a few years ago and Rutckyj is still chewing up innings for High-A Tampa … Barton LHP Kramer Sneed (32nd) was one of the two players the Yankees traded to the Angels for Vernon Wells two years ago … Tennessee Wesleyan LHP Fred Lewis (47th) had a nice run as an org bullpen arm before being released earlier this year. He pitched well enough in Spring Training last year that there was some talk he may make the team.

* * *

As it stands right this now, the Yankees have gotten very little from their 2010 draft haul. Whitley and Claiborne, that’s it. They’re the only two players from this draft to play for New York at the MLB level. Burawa is knocking on the door as well, but he’s not someone who will alter the perception of a draft class. Same with guys like Austin, Roller, and Encinas. Useful players though not any kind of cornerstone.

The success of this draft class is going to come down to Williams. His last two seasons were undeniably ugly, especially since so much of it was makeup related. Williams has been better this year, and now that he’s both on the 40-man roster and playing everyday in Triple-A, there’s a chance he will come up at some point. He has a lot of natural ability and at one point he had the potential to be an impact two-way center fielder in the Jacoby Ellsbury mold. Does that ability still exist? The Yankees hope so. If Williams arrives as some point, this draft will look much better. Otherwise it’s a dud.

2015 Draft: D.J. Stewart

D.J. Stewart | OF

The Yankees selected the 21-year-old Stewart out of a Florida high school in the 28th round of the 2012 draft, though he opted not to sign and instead followed through on his commitment to Florida State. Stewart hit .358/.469/.558 with 12 home runs, 78 walks, and 70 strikeouts in 113 games his freshman and sophomore years, and this spring he’s put up a .322/.509/.580 batting line with 13 homers, 69 walks, and 45 strikeouts in 62 games.

Scouting Report
Stewart is a big left-handed masher and he looks the part at 6-foot-0 and 230 lbs, though he is a decent athlete for his size. His offensive game is built on getting on base via his level swing and outstanding strike zone knowledge. Stewart works the count exceptionally well and consistently gets himself into hitter’s counts. His swing is geared more for hard contact than power — he hits from an extreme crouch and doesn’t get the ball airborne as much as you’d expect. Whatever team drafts him will surely try to straighten him up a bit and add a little uppercut to his swing to tap into his raw strength and power. Defensively, Stewart has good instincts and range despite a lack of speed, though his arm is weak and relegates him to left field. If he gets any bigger and slows down any more, he’ll probably have to move to first base.

Baseball America, MLB.com, and Keith Law (subs. req’d) ranked Stewart as the 30th, 36th, and 70th best prospect in the 2015 draft class in their most recent rankings, respectively. Stewart’s performance has been off the charts — he also raked against top college pitching with wood bats in the Cape Cod League — and the Yankees drafted him once before, so they liked something about him once upon a time. He’s going to go a lot higher than the 28th round this time though. The Yankees pick 16th and 30th this year and Stewart figures to be available for the second of those two picks.