2015 Draft Signings: Robertson, Marks, Zehner, Bisacca

Marks. (Tennessee)
Marks. (Tennessee Athletics)

The draft signing deadline is Friday, July 17th this summer, and as far as we know the Yankees are not close to a deal with UCLA RHP James Kaprielian (1st round). He’s a Scott Boras client though, and top Boras clients tend to not sign until right before the deadline. The Yankees did sign second rounder LHP Jeff Degano earlier this week. Here are some later round draft signings.

  • California HS OF Terrance Robertson (12th) has signed based on his Twitter feed. No word on his bonus. As a reminder, anything given to player drafted after the tenth round over $100,000 counts against the draft pool. No reason to think the raw and speedy Robertson got more though.
  • Tennessee RHP Bret Marks (15th), Cal Poly OF Zach Zehner (18th), and Oral Roberts C Austin Afenir (25th), also signed. I know that because all three have played for one of the Yankees’ minor league affiliates in recent days.
  • Sam Houston State RHP Alex Bisacca (35th) has also signed according to his Instagram feed. Like Robertson and everyone else in this post, there’s no word on the bonuses for Marks, Zehner, Afenir, or Bisacca.
  • According to Baseball America, the Yankees have signed Nebraska RHP Josh Roeder (21st), Cal State LA RHP Icezak Flemming (26th), George RHP David Sosebee (28th), Delaware RHP Chad Martin (30th), and Oklahoma City RHP Dustin Cook (36th).
  • The Yankees have signed Franklin Pierce C Matt Walsh as an undrafted free agent, the school announced. He hit .366/.438/.505 with 14 doubles and four homers as a senior this spring.
  • The Yankees have also signed Arizona RHP Cody Hamlin and Missouri RHP Andrew Schwaab as undrafted free agents, reports Matt Eddy. Hamlin had a 3.94 ERA with a 61/13 K/BB in 102.2 innings this spring while Schwaab had a 6.06 ERA with a 6/4 K/BB in 16.1 innings.

Make sure you check out our 2015 Draft Pool Tracker to keep taps on the team’s bonus pool situation. Unless one or some of those guys above signed an overslot deal — no reason to think that, but it’s always possible — the Yankees have $643,900 in draft pool savings to spend. My guess is some of that will go to Kaprielian. By my unofficial count, the Yankees have now signed 30 of their 41 draft picks.

2015 Draft: Yankees sign second rounder LHP Jeff Degano to below slot bonus


According to Bob Elliott, the Yankees have signed second round pick LHP Jeff Degano to a $650,000 signing bonus. That is well below the $1,074,400 slot value for the 57th overall pick. We heard Degano was in Tampa two weeks ago, indicating the two sides were close to a deal.

Degano, 22, was at Indiana State from 2013-15 but missed most of 2013 and all of 2014 due to Tommy John surgery. He returned to the mound this spring and pitched to a 2.36 ERA with a 126/28 K/BB in 99 innings, and he was especially strong down the stretch after shaking off the elbow reconstruction rust. Keith Law (subs. req’d) recently said Degano has “first-round stuff” but fell in the draft because he is almost 23 and because of his injury history.

When healthy, Degano sits 90-93 mph with his fastball and will touch 95 from the left side. His go-to pitch is a hard slurve — not quite a slide, not quite a curve, it’s in between — in the 78-82 mph range. Degano also throws a changeup but it needs work. He has the size (6-foot-4 and 200 lbs.) and stuff to start. I’m guessing Degano will head to Short Season Staten Island sometime soon.

As our 2015 Draft Pool Tracker shows, the Yankees now have almost $650,000 in draft pool savings to spend. I’m guessing some of that will go to an overslot bonus for first rounder UCLA RHP James Kaprielian and the rest to players taken after the tenth round. New Jersey HS LHP Andrew Miller (34th) seems like a prime overslot candidate.

2015 Draft Signings: Finley, Hendrix, Adams, Wagner

Hendrix. (Taylor Wilder/Emerald)
Hendrix. (Taylor Wilder/Emerald)

Got a bunch more 2015 draft signings to pass along, including details on most of the players selected by the Yankees in the top ten rounds, the rounds tied to the all-important bonus pool. Away we go:

  • California HS RHP Drew Finley (3rd round) signed for $950,000, reports Jonathan Mayo. That’s well above the $626,600 slot and I’m not surprised — Finley was considered a late-first/early-second round talent. We heard he agreed to terms the other day.
  • Oregon State OF Jeff Hendrix (4th) has signed according to the school’s Twitter feed. MLB.com says he received a straight slot $456,800 bonus. Hendrix figures to join Short Season Staten Island when the season starts later this week.
  • Dallas Baptist RHP Chance Adams (5th) has signed for $330,000, reports Jim Callis. That’s a bit below the $342,000 slot value. Adams is a classic fastball/slider reliever who shouldn’t hang around the low minors too long.
  • Howard College 2B Brandon Wagner (6th) has signed for $256,000, so says MLB.com. That is exactly slot money. Wagner has a ton of power but no real position. The Yankees will try him at second for the time being.
  • Arizona HS 3B Donny Sands (8th) has signed for $100,000, according to MLB.com. That’s below the $170,300 slot value. Sands has two-way ability at third but his hit tool needs development.
  • Citadel LHP James Reeves (10th) has signed for $50,000, according to MLB.com. That is below the $149,700 slot value. Reeves has a funky low arm slot and tore through college lineups this spring.
  • San Diego State RHP Mark Seyler (19th) has signed based on his Instagram feed. No word on his bonus but I doubt it’ll exceed the $100,000 slot for picks after the tenth round.
  • Southern Mississippi RHP Cody Carroll (22nd) has signed for $70,000, reports Callis. Although he signed for less than the $100,000 slot, the Yankees do not get any draft pool savings.

As our 2015 Draft Pool Tracker shows, the Yankees have signed all but two of their eleven picks in the top ten rounds, and they have $219,500 in draft pool savings available even after Finley’s over-slot deal. I’m guessing at least part of that will go to UCLA RHP James Kaprielian (1st), a Scott Boras client.

2015 Draft: Yankees sign supplemental first rounder Kyle Holder

(College Baseball Daily)
(College Baseball Daily)

Monday: Holder signed for $1.8M, reports Jonathan Mayo. So slightly below slot but not substantially so. Here is our 2015 Draft Pool Tracker.

Friday: According to his Twitter feed, shortstop Kyle Holder has officially signed with the Yankees. There’s no word on his signing bonus yet. Holder was the team’s supplemental first round pick in this week’s draft, the 30th overall selection. That’s the pick the Yankees received as compensation for losing David Robertson to free agency.

Holder, 21, was drafted out of the University of San Diego. He has been billed as a great defender — some scouting reports called him the single best defensive player in the draft, regardless of position — which a questionable bat, though the Yankees think the offense will come. Everything you need to know about Holder is right here.

“I got more text messages from scouts from within the game — cross-checkers, scouting directors — about how good a pick (Holder) was, more than any other pick we took,” said scouting director Damon Oppenheimer to Chad Jennings. “From the left side, to go along with what he does defensively, he’s going to be a fine offensive player to go along with some stellar defense at shortstop.”

The 30th overall pick comes with a $1,914,900 bonus slot and I have no reason to think Holder signed for substantially more or less than that. He probably took straight slot money, though we’ll find out soon enough. Now that he’s already signed, Holder will likely play with the Short Season Staten Island Yankees when their season begins next week.

2015 Draft Signings: Finley, Jackson, Krill, Amburgey

Krill. (Patrick Record/The Ann Arbor News)
Krill. (Patrick Record/The Ann Arbor News)

The draft signing deadline this year is Friday, July 17th. First rounder UCLA RHP James Kaprielian might not sign until right before the deadline as a Scott Boras guy, but several other Yankees draft picks have already turned pro. Our 2015 Draft Pool Tracker page is now live, so use that to keep tabs on the draft pool situation. It’s available at all times via the Resources tab in the nav bar above. Here are some draft signing updates.

  • California HS RHP Drew Finley (3rd round) either has signed or will sign soon based on his Twitter feed. Finley’s pick is slotted for $626,600 and I think there’s a good chance he’ll get more than that. Finley was expected to be a late first or early second round pick.
  • Florida Southern OF Jhalan Jackson (7th) has signed for $100,000 according to MLB.com. That is a bit more than half the $192,000 slot value. Jackson was a college junior but was not expected to go in the top ten rounds, so the Yankees probably worked out a deal ahead of time for more than Jackson expected to receive.
  • Michigan State 1B Ryan Krill (9th) signed for a $5,000 bonus, according to Chris Cotillo. That is well below the $159,000 slot value, so pretty substantial pools savings there. Krill was a college senior with no negotiating leverage, hence the tiny bonus.
  • Louisville LHP Josh Rogers (11th) will pitch for the Bourne Braves in the Cape Cod League this summer, he says on Twitter. Seems like Rogers will be a summer follow this year, meaning the Yankees will track his progress on the Cape, and if they like what they see, they’ll make him an offer. If not, no big deal. They won’t lose draft pool space.
  • According to their Twitter feeds, late round picks St. Petersburg OF Trey Amburgey (13th), Alabama RHP Will Carter (14th), BYU RHP Kolton Mahoney (16th), and Fresno State RHP Garrett Mundell (23rd) have all signed. C. Jemal Horton also reports Clemson RHP Brody Koerner (17th) has signed. No word on their bonuses but there’s no reason to think they received more than the $100,00 slot for post-tenth round picks.

Sunday Links: Harper, McCann, Old Timers’ Day, Draft

(Mike McGinnis/Getty)
(Mike McGinnis/Getty)

The Yankees and Orioles wrap up their three-game series later this afternoon. Until then, here are some miscellaneous links to help you pass the time.

Future Yankee Bryce Harper?

It was inevitable. When the Nationals visited the Bronx to play the Yankees last week, Bryce Harper was asked about his hardly imminent free agency and whether he would consider signing with the Yankees. Harper grew up a Yankees fan because of his father, a big Mickey Mantle fan, and famously said he wants to “play in the pinstripes” in his 2009 Sports Illustrated feature.

“I enjoy playing for the Nationals,” said Harper to Dan Martin last week, astutely avoiding the question about the Yankees. “We try to win a World Series, just like every other team. If I could bring that back to DC, bring that back to the city, that’s what I want to do. I’ve said it for a long, long time. That’s something that I want to do … We have such a great team here. I look at every single day as a new day. I go in and have the same mentality. DC is a great place to play. It’s a monumental town.”

Harper won’t be a free agent until after the 2018 season, when he will still be only 26 years old. He’s already one of the best players in the game and figures to be in position to smash contract records when he hits the open market a la Alex Rodriguez in 2000. Sure, the Nationals have one of the wealthiest owners in sports and could sign Harper to an extension at some point, but Giancarlo Stanton set the bar at $325M, and I’m sure Scott Boras will look to top that with Harper. (Stanton signed his deal at roughly the same service time level Harper will be at after the season.)

It both is and is not too early to look ahead to Harper’s free agency. It is early because geez, it’s still three and a half years away, but it isn’t because Harper is so talented and will be such a hot commodity. He’s a can’t your eyes off him superstar in every way. Buster Olney (subs. req’d) recently wrote it “would be shocking if Harper isn’t wearing a Yankees uniform on Opening Day in 2019,” in fact. Most of the team’s huge contracts will be off the books by then and the Yankees will be in position to go huge for Harper, who might command 12 years and $400M+ come 2018.

(Jason O. Watson/Getty)
(Jason O. Watson/Getty)

How McCann stopped popping up

During his first season with the Yankees, Brian McCann was a pop-up machine, hitting weak fly ball after weak fly ball, which resulted in a disappointing .232/.286/.406 (96 wRC+) line with a .231 BABIP. All those weak fly balls were easy outs, hence the low BABIP. McCann has been one of the team’s best hitters this season though, coming into the weekend with a .264/.327/.447 (122 wRC+) line that is right in line with the 121 wRC+ he put up during his healthy seasons with the Braves from 2009-13.

How did McCann improve this year? He stopped popping up, as Eno Sarris explains. McCann credits former hitting coach Kevin Long for some mechanical adjustments late last season. “Last year, for whatever reason, my hands weren’t taking a direct route to the ball,” said McCann to Eno. McCann averaged about 4.0% infield pop-ups from 2006-03, but that jumped to 5.0% last year, and it doesn’t take into account all the weak fly balls to the outfield. This year he’s down to a 0.8% pop-up rate (!), one of the lowest in the game. Fewer pop-ups, more hard contact, better McCann.

Old Timers’ Day attendees announced

Earlier this week the Yankees announced the list of former players, coaches, and personnel who will attend Old Timers’ Day next Saturday. Here is the full list. No Derek Jeter, no Jorge Posada, no Andy Pettitte, and no Mariano Rivera. Also no Mike Mussina or Hideki Matsui either this year. Lame. Oh well, it’ll still be fun. The Yankees will honor Willie Randolph with a plaque in Monument Park that night as well.

Several 2015 draft picks en route to Tampa

According to his Twitter feed, LHP Jeff Degano (2nd round) traveled to Florida earlier this week, which usually indicates he has a deal in place and will sign soon. Bryan Hoch and Jeff Hartsell say 3B Donny Sands (8th) and LHP James Reeves (10th) will turn pro as well. Also, RHP Kolton Montgomery (16th) and 1B Kale Sweeney (29th) told ABC 4 Sports and Norm Sanders, respectively, they are signing with the Yankees and will report to Tampa. The team’s mini-camp for draftees actually started Thursday, so these guys are probably already in uniform working out.

And finally, scouting director Damon Oppenheimer confirmed to Chad Jennings the Yankees will sign RHP Alex Robinett (32nd). Robinett is a second lieutenant and a staff ace at West Point, and will have to finish his military commitment after playing this summer. “Hopefully we can keep him in some kind of baseball shape when he’s able to finish that commitment and come back after serving his country,” said Oppenheimer. Earlier this season Cardinals righty Mitch Harris became the first military academy graduate to play in MLB in nearly a century.

Law’s team-by-team draft breakdowns

Keith Law posted his AL and NL draft reviews earlier this week (subs. req’d). He didn’t hand out grades or anything like that, just said which picks he liked and didn’t like. Law says the Yankees “wanted a bat with their first pick, but all the candidates went before them,” which is what I wondered the other day. He also says Degano has “first-round stuff, but slipped because he hadn’t pitched in more than two years due to Tommy John surgery and will turn 23 this fall,” and that RHP Drew Finley (3rd) “was a steal.” The Yankees reportedly had interest in Finley for their supplemental first round pick, the 30th selection, but they were able to get him with the 92th pick. Neat.

Also make sure you check out Draft to the Show’s review of New York’s draft class.

DotF: Refsnyder goes deep, benches clear in Scranton’s win

The Yankees have signed UMass Lowell OF/RHP Geoff DeGroot as an undrafted free agent, according to Justin Soderberg. DeGroot both pitched and played the outfield in college, but I don’t know what he’ll do as a pro. He hit 274/.369/.319 this spring and had a 4.74 ERA with a 22/10 K/BB in 47.1 innings.

Also, UTIL Jonathan Galvez was released from the Triple-A Scranton roster, according to Chad Jennings. IF Ali Castillo was called up from Double-A Trenton to fill the roster spot.

Triple-A Scranton (13-3 win over Rochester)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 2-4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB — threw a runner out at second
  • LF Jose Pirela: 3-4, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • DH Rob Refsnyder: 4-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 K — second homer in his last six games after hitting two homers in his first 50 games
  • C Austin Romine: 0-0, 1 HBP — left the game after taking a pitch to the head in the first inning … the benches cleared after that
  • RF Ramon Flores: 1-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • LHP Jose DePaula: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HB, 6/6 GB/FB — 51 of 77 pitches were strikes (66%)
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 1 IP, zeroes, 2/1 GB/FB — half of his 12 pitches were strikes … he and manager Dave Miley were ejected for an unknown reason

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