2017 Draft: Day Three Open Thread

2017-draft-logoThe 2017 amateur draft concludes today with rounds 11-40, which are the rounds where organizational depth is built. The Yankees have found guys like Tyler Austin, Chase Whitley, Rookie Davis, and James Pazos on Day Three in recent years, and they’ve all proven useful in one way or another. Everyone wants stars and impact players. Depth guys are important too.

So far this year the Yankees have gone heavy on arms. We’re talking nine pitchers and one position player in the first ten rounds these last two days. I think that’s a coincidence more than anything. That said, the Yankees may try to balance things out a bit with a few position players here on Day Three. Here is my Day Two recap, here are the Yankees’ picks, and here are some draft links to check out:

  • Make sure you check out Brendan Kuty’s chat with Clarke Schmidt, the Yankees’ first round pick. He played coy when asked about signing. His agent trained him well. “We’re still in talks. Still have to sign, deal with all the contracts. That’s the side of the ball I haven’t gotten into yet,” he said.
  • Here are Eric Longenhagen’s Day One and Day Two notes. “Arkansas RHP Trevor Stephan (3) will touch 96, sit 92-94, and throw enough strikes to start. His sweeping curveball is average but plays up against righties because of his cross-bodied delivery,” says the write-up.
  • If you’re into such things, Craig Mitchell’s KATOH system projects Stephan as the third best college player taken on Day Two. “The right-handed Stephan put up big strikeout numbers in the SEC this year, trailing only Alex Faedo, Alex Lange, and Kyle Wright, all of whom were no-doubt first rounders,” says he write-up.
  • Here are the best available players per MLB.com and Baseball America. Most of the highly ranked high school kids are unsignable at this point. Teams will still pick them though, just in case they to change their mind and decide to turn pro.

The draft concludes today with rounds 11-40. Thankfully, the conference call is now rapid fire, one pick after another. That’s the way the entire draft used to be (and always should be!). Anyway, the draft resumes at 12pm ET, and you can tune in on MLB.com. Here is MLB.com’s draft tracker. Chat about all the day’s draft-related stuff here.

2017 Draft: Yankees load up on pitchers on Day Two

Otto. (Getty)
Otto. (Getty)

The first two days and ten rounds of the 2017 amateur draft are in the books. The top ten rounds are tied to the bonus pool, and because of that, Day Two is typically the least interesting day of the draft. Teams take players they know they can sign because they don’t want to lose draft pool money should the player decide to go to school, which usually means selecting lower profile prospects without much leverage. The Yankees went heavy on arms yesterday. Very heavy. Let’s recap their Day Two draft haul.

The Lone Position Player

Day Two covers rounds 3-10 and the Yankees selected exactly one position player in those rounds: Texas HS OF Canaan Smith (fourth round). Smith was mostly a catcher in high school but the Yankees announced him as a right fielder, so I guess he’s changing positions. Also, he was quarterback for the football team, and the Yankees have a history of targeting two-sport players. They love two-sport guys with athleticism and big time compete tools.

Smith is a left-handed hitter with very good bat speed and power potential, giving him exciting offensive potential. The problem? Scouts didn’t get to see him swing the bat much this spring. He was always walking! Smith drew over 60 walks in approximately 40 games this year, which is a top ten all-time walks season for a prep player. The combination of teams pitching around him and high schoolers just not being able to throw strikes meant Smith didn’t get many pitches to hit.

In all seriousness, I can’t help but wonder whether all the walks hurt Smith on the scouting trail. He’s got good size (6-foot-0 and 215 lbs) and he’s a good athlete based on the two-sport thing, plus it sounds like there’s some thump in his bat. Did scouts not see him take enough swings to recommend drafting him higher? Either way, with lefty power and patience, not to mention good athleticism, it’s not hard to understand why the Yankees were drawn to Smith.

By the way, Smith’s draft slot comes with a $433,100 bonus value. I get the sense he’s going to wind up getting an over-slot bonus, however. Smith is committed to Arkansas and the two-sport thing gives him some extra leverage because he has more options. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll get a huge seven-figure bonus, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Smith’s bonus exceed his slot value.

The Possible Starters

Stephan. (Arkansas)
Stephan. (Arkansas)

Over the last few years the Yankees have gone after power arms in the middle rounds of the draft and that continued this year. Arkansas RHP Trevor Stephan (third round) and Rice RHP Glenn Otto (fifth round) have the best chance to start among the team’s Day Two picks. Both are lacking a reliable changeup and that will be their pet project in pro ball, should they sign. (They will.)

Stephan is a big kid at 6-foot-5 and 225 lbs., and he sits mostly low-90s with his fastball and low-80s with his slider. The slider helped him strike out 120 batters in 91 innings this spring. His changeup is okay at best. He’s not afraid to throw it though. It’s just a matter of improving the quality of the pitch. If Stephan can do that, he has a chance to start to long-term and become a pretty interesting prospect. If not, to the bullpen he’ll go.

Like Stephan, Otto is another big guy at 6-foot-5 and 240 lbs. — the Yankees drafted large pitchers? I’m shocked — though it should be noted he has been worked very hard in college. That’s standard for Rice pitchers. The coaching staff pushes them very hard. Otto missed time with a sore arm earlier this year, and when he returned, his fastball was mostly 91-94 mph, down a tick from the 93-95 mph he showed in the past. His hard curveball is an out pitch.

Otto’s changeup is further along than Stephan’s, though he doesn’t have much confidence in the pitch, so he rarely threw it in college. One guy has a bad changeup but is willing to throw it. The other guy has an okay changeup but won’t throw it. Go figure. The Yankees will let both guys start because that’s what they should do. If things don’t work out, they’ll look to move them quick as relievers.

The Daltons

The Yankees selected a pair of Daltons with back-to-back picks on Day Two. They used their sixth round pick on Augustana LHP Dalton Lehnen and their seventh round pick on Dallas Baptist RHP Dalton Higgins. Lehnen is, by frickin’ far, the highest drafted player in Augustana history. They never had a player drafted before the 23rd round prior to yesterday. Not too many baseball prospects coming out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, I guess.

Lehnen is the better prospect of the two Daltons because he has a true three-pitch repertoire: 89-92 mph fastball, a slurvy breaking ball, and a decent changeup. The breaking ball sometimes looks like a slider and sometimes looks like a curveball, and it’s not intentional. The pitch is inconsistent. Even if he refines the breaking ball, Lehnen’s margin for error is pretty small, and his command isn’t great. He strikes me as a lower level depth starter.

The other Dalton, Higgins, is a power reliever who figures to remain in that role in pro ball. He’s mostly 92-94 mph with a good slider that on its best days will be allergic to bats, and he doesn’t have a changeup. Two years ago the Yankees took another Dallas Baptist reliever, Chance Adams, and turned him into a starter, but I don’t see that happening with Higgins. Not unless he makes big strides with his changeup in a short period of time.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Yankees have had success getting pitchers to add velocity the last few seasons. It’s their throwing program and training methods. Guys like Adams, Jordan Montgomery, and James Kaprielian have all added some velocity. Should either of the Daltons add some oomph to their heater, they’ll become interesting in a hurry.

The Senior Signs

Whitmer. (The Southern)
Whitmer. (The Southern)

As always, the Yankees selected several college seniors on Day Two as a way to save draft pool space. College seniors have no leverage. They can either turn pro or go get a real job, and who wants to do that? The Yankees used their final three Day Two picks on seniors: Radford RHP Kyle Zurak (eighth round), Texas-Arlington RHP Austin Gardner (ninth round), and Southern Illinois RHP Chad Whitmer (tenth round).

Zurak is, by no small margin, the best prospect among the three seniors. He’s similar to Tyler Webb in that he’s a career college reliever with enough stuff and command to climb the minor league ladder and maybe one day be a big league option, if not for the Yankees than for another team. Zurak can run his fastball up to 95 mph and his money pitch is a nasty mid-80s slider. He struck out 73 batters in 60 innings this spring.

“It’s so freaking amazing. I honestly couldn’t be any freaking happier. It just worked out perfectly to be with the greatest, most recognizable sports team in the whole entire world — the New York freaking Yankees,” said Zurak to the freaking Roanoke Times. “I worked my butt off. It finally paid off, hearing … my name be called. It’s been my dream forever to be a professional baseball player and it finally came true.”

Neither Gardner nor Whitmer bring a ton to the table aside from experience and the willingness to sign very cheap. Gardner is a reliever with a low-90s fastball and an iffy breaking ball. Whitmer is a durable starter with a decent three-pitch mix and enough pitching know how that he’ll probably carve up the low minors and have folks talking about him as a potential sleeper. Zurak is the guy though. At least among the seniors. He has the best chance to develop into something worthwhile, even if he’s stuck in the bullpen.

I should note the new Collective Bargaining Agreement changed the way the bonus pool money is distributed. It’s top heavy now. The first round bonuses are huge and the tenth round bonuses are tiny. That means the college seniors won’t save teams as much as they had in the past. Zurak ($157,200 slot), Gardner ($141,200 slot), and Whitmer ($133,300 slot) all figure to sign low five-figure bonuses. Those three picks might save the Yankees something like $400,000 combined, and hey, that could go a long way to landing another player.

* * *

You can see all of the Yankees’ picks right here. Through ten rounds they’ve selected one position player and nine pitchers, though I don’t think that’s part of a concerted effort to load up on arms. That’s just the way the cookie crumbled, you know? It’s not like the Yankees are short on arms in the lower levels anyway. The Yankees did select some interesting arms on Day Two — Stephan, Otto, Higgins, and Zurak, most notably — plus one powerful position player. And, as always, they’ll grab some high-profile high school players on Day Three and try to convince them to sign with any bonus pool savings generated from Days One and Two.

DotF: Fowler and Torres have big games in Scranton’s win

Two quick notes to pass along:

  • Triple-A Scranton manager Al Pedrique told Andrew Marchand he doesn’t think SS Gleyber Torres is ready for MLB. “If you ask me today, if the call comes, he is not ready. He is headed in the right direction. I like where he is at for a 20-year-old kid to be in Triple-A. He’s very mature, but defensively, he needs more work at third and second,” said Pedrique.
  • The Yankees are sending seven players to the High-A Florida State League All-Star Game: RHP Cody Carroll, RHP Zack Littell, SS Jorge Mateo, RHP Dillon McNamara, RHP Jose Mesa, Jr., OF Tito Polo, and LHP Josh Rogers. Rogers and McNamara have already been promoted to Double-A Trenton, so they won’t play in the All-Star Game. Here are the North and South rosters.

Triple-A Scranton (9-3 win over Rochester)

  • SS Tyler Wade: 1-5, 1 R, 1 K — 20-for-51 (.392) during his 12-game hitting streak
  • LF Dustin Fowler: 3-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 E (fielding)
  • DH Greg Bird: 0-3, 1 R, 2 BB — 2-for-15 (.133) in his last four games … he has eleven walks and two strikeouts in eleven rehab games
  • 1B Tyler Austin: 2-4, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K – 9-for-32 (.281) with seven doubles in his last nine games
  • LF Clint Frazier: 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 K, 1 SB
  • 3B Gleyber Torres: 3-4, 2 RBI, 1 BB — 12-for-31 (.387) in his last eight games
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 3-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • RF Mason Williams: 1-4, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 BB, 2 K
  • LHP Caleb Smith: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 8/3 GB/FB — 56 of 93 pitches were strikes (60%) … he’s been solid all season long
  • RHP J.P. Feyereisen: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 15 of 28 pitches were strikes (54%) … interesting pitching line

[Read more…]

2017 Draft: Day Two Open Thread

2017-draft-logoNow that all the pomp and circumstance of Day One of the amateur draft is in the books, it’s time for teams to really get down to business. The first rounders get all the attention and understandably so, but Days Two and Three separate contenders from pretenders. The teams that turn those mid-to-late-round picks into valuable (or just useful) players have a big advantage over the teams that don’t. How many teams right now wish they used a third or fourth rounder on Jordan Montgomery in 2014? Exactly.

The Yankees selected two players during Day One: South Carolina RHP Clarke Schmidt (first round) and California HS RHP Matt Sauer (second round). Here is my Day One recap. The draft continues today with Day Two, covering rounds 3-10. Day Two is, typically, the most boring day of the draft. Teams typically use most of their Day Two picks on cheap college seniors to save bonus pool money. Lame, but it is what it is. Here are some stray draft links:

  • In his first round recap, Jim Callis says the Yankees took Schmidt “close to the high point of where he would have gone before he had Tommy John surgery this spring … He could be a quality starter when he’s healthy … He has a hard sinker and a pair of breaking balls that can both be plus at their best.”
  • In a separate piece, Callis listed Clarke has one of his biggest surprises and Sauer as one of his best value picks. “Another high school righty who easily could have fit in the first round, he can run his fastball up to 97 mph and his slider up to 87. Sauer needs some polish, but he has a ceiling of a No. 3 starter or a closer,” said the write-up.
  • Keith Law (subs. req’d) said he “never bought into (Schmidt) as a first-round talent given the rough delivery, but his stuff did tick up this year to the mid-90s and he was still throwing strikes when he blew out his elbow in April,” in his Day One recap. As for Sauer, Law said “perhaps they’re just not worried about the things that worry other teams (or me!) in pitcher mechanics.”
  • John Manuel singled out the Schmidt pick as a surprise given how high he was selected. “It’s expected Schmidt’s bonus will be below the pick value at No. 16 ($3,458,600) while Sauer’s will be significantly above the value at pick 54 ($1,236,000),” he wrote.
  • According to Joe Bailey, Sauer said he will likely sign with the Yankees rather than follow through on his commitment to Arizona. Bailey says the team reportedly offered a $2.5M bonus. That all but confirms the Yankees have a below-slot deal in place with Schmidt.
  • Here are the best available players per MLB.com and Baseball America. Keep an eye on California HS SS Nick Allen (RAB profile) and California HS OF Garrett Mitchell. They both fit New York’s typical profile as toolsy up-the-middle athletes. The Southern California thing doesn’t hurt either.

The draft resumes today at 12:30pm ET and you can stream it online at MLB.com. There is no MLB Network broadcast today. The draft shifts to online only for Days Two and Three. Here is the MLB.com Draft Tracker. Talk about all things draft right here throughout the day.

2017 Draft: Yankees play the bonus pool game on Day One

Schmidt. (AP)
Schmidt. (AP)

The 2017 amateur draft is now underway. A total of 75 picks were made Monday night, during Day One of the draft, including the Yankees’ first (16th overall) and second (54th overall) selections. With those picks, the Yankees did something they had never done before in the draft pool era. They (presumably) cut a deal with their first round pick so they could spend big on their second rounder. Let’s review New York’s two picks from Day One.

Yankees gamble on Schmidt

At first blush, I wasn’t thrilled with the Yankees first round pick, South Carolina RHP Clarke Schmidt. I imagine I wasn’t alone. Schmidt’s a good prospect, don’t get me wrong, but he also had Tommy John surgery in April. Why take an injured college pitcher when healthy comparable college pitchers were still on the board? The Yankees had been connected to Oregon LHP David Peterson for weeks and he was still available, for example.

“Schmidt’s got four pitches that at times are all plus. He has command, he has makeup,” said scouting director Damon Oppenheimer in a statement. “We really like his delivery. He’s got a chance to be a top end of the rotation type of guy who combines pitchability with power stuff. And you always like it when they’re the Friday night guy, pitching and having success in that conference … The (surgery) results were positive and we feel really good about the rehab. He should be back pitching at full strength in approximately 12 months.”

Schmidt was a potential top 10-15 pick before blowing out his elbow thanks to a power arsenal with strikeout stuff. He struck out 70 in 60.1 innings for the Gamecocks this spring before needing elbow surgery, and Baseball America’s scouting report (subs. req’d) makes you can’t wait to see Schmidt healthy and back on a mound:

(This) spring he was routinely touching 95-96 mph with his four-seamer and sitting comfortably in the low 90s. He also throws a heavy two-seamer, although his four-seamer shows good movement as well. Schmidt’s slider has developed into one of the better breaking balls in the college class, a strikeout pitch in the mid-80s with tilt. He also flashed an above-average changeup at times, with sinking movement to his arm side … Before the surgery, Schmidt’s stock was steadily rising, and to some evaluators, he had inserted himself into the uppermost tier of college pitching.

Sounds good! But, you know, the elbow. Sure, Tommy John surgery has a very high success rate, but it’s not perfect. The Yankees have steered clear of injured pitchers in recent drafts, most notably Brady Aiken two years ago, and I’m sure the Andrew Brackman flame out was one of the reasons. The Yankees drafted Brackman knowing he needed Tommy John surgery, and all the missed development time was too much to overcome.

So again, why draft an injured college pitcher when comparable healthy college pitchers were still on the board? There are two possible answers. One, the Yankees really like Schmidt. I mean really like him. They must think he’s a no-doubt top ten guy to take him that high despite recent elbow construction, and they must also think he is very likely to make a full recovery. Or two, they know they can sign Schmidt to a below-slot bonus to manipulate their bonus pool.

Given their second round pick, the latter seems much more likely. They’re going to sign him cheap. The Yankees either got Schmidt to agree to a below-slot number before the draft or feel comfortable enough with his willingness to take a below-slot bonus to draft him in the first round. That 16th overall pick comes with a $3,458,600 slot bonus. Cutting a deal with Schmidt would free up a lot of bonus pool space to spend on other players, such as …

Planning to spend big on Sauer

With their second round pick, the 54th overall selection, the Yankees selected California HS RHP Matt Sauer — a Southern California kid, of course — and suddenly it all started to make sense. Sauer was a consensus late first round who really shot up draft boards this spring and was considered by some to be a potential tough sign given his commitment to Arizona. Now we know where any bonus pool money saved with Schmidt is going.

Prior to the draft, both MLB.com and Baseball America ranked Sauer as the 28th best prospect in the draft class — Keith Law (subs. req’d) isn’t as much of a fan and ranked him 67th — because he possesses a live arm with two knockout pitches. From MLB.com’s scouting report:

Sauer brings the potential to have premium velocity from his 6-foot-4 frame. He’s reached 97 mph at times this spring and has sat comfortably in the 91-95 mph range in most starts. He combines that with a nasty slider, up to 87 mph, thrown from a three-quarter slot with good power, bite and deception. The changeup is a distant third pitch, but he hasn’t needed it much against high school competition.

The lack of a reliable changeup is one of the biggest knocks against Sauer, though it’s not terribly unusual for a top high school pitcher to lack a changeup. They rarely need it to get outs. Another popular knock against Sauer is his delivery, specifically his arm action, which some believe is too long in the back and robs him of command. Here’s some video. The quality of his stuff is obvious, as is the lengthy arm action and command issues:

It’s easy to understand why Sauer was drafted so high. (Going 54th overall is pretty cool!) The kid throws fire. It’s also easy to see he’s a work in progress. The Yankees will have to work with Sauer to iron out his mechanics and develop a changeup. Won’t be easy! But the Yankees are banking on Sauer’s upside and their improving track record of developing arms.

“Sauer is a projectable high school right-hander who is athletic, with a ‘now’ fastball and a plus slider,” said Oppenheimer in a statement. “He really has a good way about his aggressiveness and makeup on the mound. We see a chance there for a starter with power stuff.”

We should look at the Schmidt and Sauer picks together because they are connected through the bonus pool. Like I said, Schmidt is slotted for $3,458,600. Sauer, on the other hand, is slotted for $1,236,000. That’s $4,694,600 between the two of them. Maybe they’ll wind up with even split? Roughly $2.35M each? Schmidt gets below-slot because he recently had his elbow cut open and Sauer gets over-slot because, well, that’s what it’ll take to get him to turn pro.

Why didn’t the Yankees take Sauer in the first round and Schmidt in the second round? Wouldn’t you rather take the high upside kid first to make sure you actually get him before cutting deals? Yes, in theory, but keep in mind that if a player doesn’t sign, the team loses all the pool money associated with that pick. Taking Sauer in the first round and having him walk away means losing $3,458,600 in bonus money. Yikes. The Yankees would rather roll the dice with the $1,236,000 in second round bonus pool money.

Chances are the Yankees did not specifically target Sauer for an over-slot bonus in the second round. He was probably one of several players they were looking at for that 54th overall pick. Among the other notable prospects to come off the board shortly after Sauer were Minnesota HS RHP Sam Carlson and Florida HS SS Mark Vientos, for example. California HS SS Nick Allen and Louisiana HS RHP Blayne Enlow are still on the board now and could have also been in the mix for that second round pick.

Ultimately, it boils down to this: the Yankees like Schmidt and think he can be a really good pitcher when healthy, but they also recognized his leverage is shot following Tommy John surgery. By taking him in the first round and (again, presumably) getting him to agree to a below-slot bonus, it would leave them bonus pool money to spend on another player(s) later. In this case that player is Sauer. If Sauer had come off the board before that 54th pick rolled around, maybe it would have been Carlson. Or Allen. Or whoever.

Last year the Yankees did the exact opposite of this strategy. They took the top available talent, Blake Rutherford, with their first round pick, then figured out how to save enough bonus money to pay him later. This year they saved the bonus pool money first, then waited to see who would be available later. And who knows? Maybe they’ll save enough with the Schmidt pick to go over-slot with their third round pick as well. That would be cool.

I should note this strategy is not particularly new or unique to the Yankees. Teams have been doing it since the draft pools were put in place. Most of the time it happens with teams at the very top of the draft, with the picks tied to huge slot values. They turn that one big bonus slot into multiple high-end prospects. Not many teams have done it in the middle of the first round, so in that sense the Yankees are unique. Overall though, this has been done before. It’s not new.

For now, the Yankees landed two nice power arms with upside on Day One. One of them happens to be broken at the moment. I didn’t like the Schmidt pick when it happened because Tommy John surgery is a big risk and I still don’t love it overall. Healthy players are cool. It’s not like Schmidt is getting a tooth pulled or something like that. Once the Yankees went for Sauer, arguably the best player still on the board, with their second pick, their strategy became clear. They were planning to pounce on whichever highly ranked prospect slipped into the second round.

DotF: Florial stays red hot in Charleston’s loss

In case you missed it earlier, the Yankees used their first round pick tonight on South Carolina RHP Clarke Schmidt. He is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery. Now here are the day’s notes:

  • OF Clint Frazier spoke to John Wagner about his current mindset as he’s gotten further away from last year’s trade. Frazier admitted last season he felt a lot of pressure to perform after being dealt for Andrew Miller. “For a 21-year-old, I didn’t handle those things for the best, performance-wise. But you go through those things for a reason,” he said.
  • Make sure you check out Josh Norris’ feature on SS Gleyber Torres. “For me, it’s pretty different,” said Torres of playing third base. “I’ve never played third base, so the key is to play hard, do early work, take ground balls at second and third base.”
  • RHP Ronald Herrera was named the Double-A Eastern League Pitcher of the Week. Herrera, who came over from the Padres in the Jose Pirela trade, struck out nine in 6.2 scoreless innings in last week’s start.

Triple-A Scranton and Double-A Trenton had scheduled off-days.

High-A Tampa (2-1 win over Bradenton in 11 innings)

  • 2B-SS Jorge Mateo: 0-5, 3 K — in a 3-for-31 (.097) slump with nine strikeouts
  • 1B Chris Gittens: 0-1 — left the game after making a play at first base on a strikeout/wild pitch, so maybe there was a collision?
  • 2B Nick Solak: 3-4, 1 R, 1 2B — came off the bench to replace Gittens
  • LF Trey Amburgey: 0-5, 2 K
  • DH Jhalan Jackson: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB
  • SS-3B Kyle Holder: 1-5, 1 RBI, 1 K — singled in the go-ahead run in the 11th
  • RHP Jose Mesa Jr.: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 3/1 GB/FB — 30 of 54 pitches were strikes (56%) … second career start and his first since a rookie ball outing in 2014
  • RHP Jordan Foley: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 1 HB, 1/0 GB/FB — 30 of 42 pitches were strikes (72%)

Low-A Charleston (2-1 loss to Columbia, walk-off style)

  • 2B Hoy Jun Park: 1-2, 1 R, 2 BB
  • SS Diego Castillo: 1-3
  • CF Estevan Florial: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB — 18-for-48 (.375) with four doubles, two triples, and three homers in his last 13 games
  • 3B Angel Aguilar: 1-4
  • C Donny Sands: 0-2, 2 BB — had five walks total in his first 42 games of the season
  • RF Isiah Gilliam: 1-4, 1 2B, 3 K
  • RHP Brian Keller: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 2 WP, 5/2 GB/FB — 72 of 95 pitches were strikes (76%) … 67/9 K/BB in 65.2 innings for the converted reliever

2017 Draft: Yankees select RHP Clarke Schmidt in first round

(The Times and Democrat)
(The Times and Democrat)

Monday night, the Yankees selected South Carolina RHP Clarke Schmidt with their first round selection (16th overall) in the 2017 amateur draft. He is the fourth college player they’ve taken with their six first round picks since 2013.

Schmidt, 21, had Tommy John surgery earlier this year and is still rehabbing. He had a 1.34 ERA with 70 strikeouts and 18 walks in nine starts and 60.1 innings before blowing out his elbow this spring. Prior to getting hurt, Schmidt was considered a potential top 10-15 pick. The various draft rankings all reflect Schmidt’s injury:

Here’s a piece of MLB.com’s scouting report:

Schmidt relies heavily on a 92-94 mph fastball that can reach 96 and features power sink. Both his slider and curveball can be plus pitches at times but also lack consistency, and he also mixes in a decent changeup. He generally throws strikes but can be vulnerable if his pitches wander up in the strike zone.

And here’s some video:

Clearly, the Yankees are rolling the dice big time here. They’re hoping to get the pre-Tommy John surgery version of Clarke once he’s done rehabbing, which is always risky because Tommy John surgery is a very serious procedure. Given the timing of Schmidt’s elbow reconstruction he figures to return to the mound at midseason 2018.

The 16th overall pick comes with a $3,458,600 slot bonus. I’m not sure when the signing deadline is this year, but it’s usually in mid-July. I wonder if the Yankees and Schmidt agreed to a deal before the draft for below slot money, freeing up cash for later picks. Hmmm.