2016 Draft: Yankees select 2B Nick Solak with second round pick

The Yankees have connected to a bunch of college bats the last few weeks, and they landed one with their second round pick in the 2016 draft Thursday night. New York selected Louisville second baseman Nick Solak with their second rounder (62nd overall). They took California HS OF Blake Rutherford with their first round pick.

Solak, 21, put up a .380/.474/.576 batting line with five homers, nine steals, 27 walks, and 19 strikeouts in 45 games for the Cardinals this spring. He was all over the place on the various draft rankings. Baseball America ranked Solak as the 86th best prospect in the draft class while MLB.com ranked him 147th. Keith Law (subs. req;d) did not include him in his top 100 draft prospects list. Here’s a piece of MLB.com’s free scouting report:

He has a line-drive stroke and focuses on the middle of the field, an approach that leads to consistent contact but not much power. Once he gets on base, he has the solid speed and good instincts to make things happen … He has sure hands and his quickness gives him range, though he doesn’t have the smoothest infield actions and some scouts wonder if he might wind up in center field in pro ball. He receives praise for his gritty makeup.

It’s easy to assume Solak is a pick designed to save draft pool space for Rutherford, though I’m not entirely sure that’s the case. I’ve said that about other players over the years — Peter O’Brien and Gosuke Katoh, most notably — and it hasn’t happened. Slot money for the 62nd pick is $1.04M. I guess we’ll just have to wait to see whether Solak is a draft pool pick or just one of those players the Yankees like more than everyone else.

Sweep! Five-run fifth helps Yankees to 6-3 win over Angels

Source: FanGraphs
Winning is so much better than losing, isn’t it? A five-run fifth inning led to a 6-3 win in Thursday night’s series finale against the Angels. The Yankees scored 29 runs in the four games, including at least five runs in each game. We’ve been waiting too long to see an offensive stretch like that. There’s a lot going on with the draft and stuff tonight, so I’m going to take the easy way out with a bullet point recap:

  • Five in the Fifth: The first four innings of this was one of those annoying games where a generally crummy pitcher, in this case Jhoulys Chacin, shut the offense down. Then the fifth inning happened. Didi Gregorius started the rally with a leadoff walk, and with one out, four straight Yankees reached base: Chris Parmelee (RBI single), Jacoby Ellsbury (single), Brett Gardner (walk), Carlos Beltran (two-run double). An Alex Rodriguez sac fly scored the fourth run of the inning, then Brian McCann doubled in the fifth. Hooray runs, hooray Yankees.
  • Solid Nova: Ivan Nova‘s pitching line looked a lot better before he allowed a two-run homer to the final batter he faced, Jefry Marte. That turned 6.1 innings and one run into 6.1 innings and three runs. Blah. Nova was very good though, striking out five and getting six ground ball outs. This is just more of the same from Ivan. He’s been pretty awesome since joining the rotation.
  • Shutdown Bullpen: After a night off, the big three relievers all went to work to nail down this win. Dellin Betances retired the two batters he faced, Andrew Miller pitched around a leadoff single in the eighth, and Aroldis Chapman pitched around a two-double in the ninth. Those three hit a bit of a rough patch last week. Good to see them getting back to dominating.
  • Leftovers: Gardner continued his recent hot streak with three hits and a walk. He’s been on fire of late … every player in the starting lineup had at least one hit except Gregorius, who drew that leadoff walk in the fifth. Headley had two knocks … the Yankees had 18 (!) at-bats with runners in scoring position. It didn’t seem like that many, did it? They went 5-for-18 (.278) in those spots … Chris Parmelee left the game with a hamstring injury and is heading for an MRI.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Tigers are coming to the Bronx for a three-game series next. CC Sabathia and Mike Pelfrey are Friday’s scheduled starters.

Minor League Update: No time for a full DotF post tonight, folks. Here are the box scores and here’s the short version: Brady Lail allowed three runs in six innings, Dustin Fowler stayed hot with a homer, Miguel Andujar and Thairo Estrada went deep as well, Austin Aune had four hits, Ian Clarkin struck out nine in seven innings, and Leonardo Molina doubled and tripled.

Chris Parmelee heading for MRI on hamstring injury


New first baseman Chris Parmelee is heading for an MRI on his injured hamstring, Joe Girardi told reporters following Thursday game. Girardi expects Parmelee to land on the DL. He hurt himself making a stretch at first base. Here’s video of the play:

Parmelee has been with the Yankees since Mark Teixeira hurt his knee last week. He got his first start last night and hit two home runs, then he drove in the game-tying run tonight. It’s not much, but Parmelee made a very nice first impression with his play these last two nights.

The Yankees are running out of first baseman, folks. Teixeira (knee), Greg Bird (shoulder), and Dustin Ackley (shoulder) are all out. Bird and Ackley are done for the season and Teixeira very well might be as well depending on his rehab. Rob Refsnyder has been getting reps at first base, and if Parmelee is out for an extended period of time, the Yankees might have no choice but to call up Nick Swisher.

2016 Draft: Yankees select OF Blake Rutherford with first round pick

Over the last few weeks the Yankees were connected primarily to high school pitchers and college bats for their first round pick of the 2016 draft. So, naturally, when their pick came around Thursday night, they took a high school position player. Go figure.

With their first round selection in the 2016 draft (18th overall), the Yankees selected California HS OF Blake Rutherford. He’s from Chaminade College Preparatory School in Chatsworth, so scouting director Damon Oppenheimer once again went for a Southern California player. That’s Oppenheimer’s go-to locale. When in doubt, expect the Yankees to take the SoCal kid.

Rutherford was one of the very best prospects in the draft class. In fact, Keith Law says several folks consider Rutherford a better pure hitter than fellow SoCal prep outfielder Mickey Moniak, who was taken first overall by the Phillies. Law (subs. req’d) ranked Rutherford as the sixth best prospect in the entire draft while¬†MLB.com ranked him eighth and Baseball America ranked him ninth. Here’s a piece of MLB.com’s free scouting report:

The left-handed-hitting outfielder from the Southern California high school ranks can do just about everything on a baseball field. Rutherford has the chance to be an above-average hitter with above-average raw power. He’ll record average to plus run times, and his speed helps him on the basepaths and in the outfield. Rutherford is a solid defender in the outfield, though most feel he’ll move to right field in the future. The good news is his bat should profile just fine if that move does happen.

The Yankees have favored college players in recent years and they seem to have a knack for out-of-nowhere picks. Rutherford is the opposite of that. He was the best player on the board according to the various rankings, and the only real knock against him is his age. Rutherford turned 19 last month and is one of the oldest high schoolers in the draft class.

Because he was considered a top ten talent, chances are the Yankees will have to pay Rutherford an overslot bonus to get to pass on his commitment to UCLA. Slot money for the 18th pick is $2.44M. Expect to see the Yankees take some cheaper players in rounds two through ten. They need to save some pool space to sign Rutherford.

2016 Draft: Day One Open Thread

(Pic via @MLB)
(Pic via @MLB)

The Yankees are wrapping up their four-game series with the Angels tonight, and while that game is important given the team’s place in the standings, it is not the most important thing going on in Yankeeland tonight. The 2016 amateur draft begins tonight, which means the Yankees and every other team have the opportunity to add future rotation leaders and lineup anchors.

The MLB draft is a three-day event and a total of 77 picks will be made tonight. That covers the First Round, Supplemental First Round, Competitive Balance Round A, Second Round, and Competitive Balance Round B. The Yankees have two picks tonight: 18th and 62nd overall. That’s their first and second round selections. The full draft order is right here. The Padres lead the way with five picks tonight. The Cubs have zero.

The latest reports indicate the Yankees are leaning towards taking a pitcher, likely a high schooler. That is hardly set in stone though. There are conflicting reports about their interest — aren’t there always? — and it should be noted the team has favored college players in recent years. They’ve selected eleven players in the first three rounds over the last three draft, and eight of the eleven came out of college.

I personally don’t have much of a preference who the Yankees draft tonight. The player New York has been most connected to these last few weeks is California HS RHP Kevin Gowdy (write-up). A report this morning indicated he wants a huge bonus though, and the Yankees don’t have the draft pool space to do anything crazy. They have $5.77M in pool space for the top ten rounds. That 18th pick comes with a $2.44M slot value.

The draft broadcast begins at 7pm ET. You can watch live on MLB Network or stream online on MLB.com. You can also follow along on MLB.com’s Draft Tracker. Here are Baseball America’s top 500 draft prospects and MLB.com’s top 200 draft prospects for reference. As always, MLB.com’s draft content is completely free. The scouting reports and everything.

The Yankees are playing the Angels at the same time as the draft tonight. Here’s the game thread. Please help keep things tidy by keeping game comments in the game thread and draft comments in this draft thread. Thanks in advance. Enjoy the draft, everyone.

Game 60: Finish the Sweep


The Yankees have played three four-game series this season and they’ve managed to win all three. That’s hard to do. They took three of four from the Royals last month and swept the Athletics in Oakland a few weeks back. They’ve won the first three games of this series with the Angels, so tonight’s a chance to earn a second four-game sweep. That is pretty cool.

Things have been going much better for the Yankees of late. First and foremost, the offense is actually scoring some runs. They’ve scored at least five runs in three straight games and in six of their last seven games. From what we’ve seen this year, the offense is very streaky. They seem to alternate between red hot and ice cold. Being red hot is much more fun. Let’s hope it continues tonight. Here is the Angels’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. DH Alex Rodriguez
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. 2B Starlin Castro
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 3B Chase Headley
  9. 1B Chris Parmelee
    RHP Ivan Nova

It has been an unbelievably nice day in New York today. Sunny but not hot, bright blue skies … pretty much perfect weather. About the only complaint is that it’s a bit windy. I’ll live. Tonight’s series finale will begin a little after 7pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Draft Note: The 2016 draft beings tonight at 7pm ET. Kinda annoying that the game and the draft are on at the same time, but whatever. It is what it is. I’ll have a dedicated draft thread up soon. Please help keep things tidy by keeping your game comments in the game thread and your draft comments in the draft thread. Thanks in advance.

2016 Draft: Alex Kirilloff

Alex Kirilloff | OF

The 18-year-old Kirilloff attends Plum High School in Pittsburgh. He jumped onto the draft map last summer with strong showings at various showcase events, which included winning the Perfect Game All-American Classic Home Run Derby. He’s committed to Liberty University.

Scouting Report
Kirilloff, who stands 6-foot-2 and 195 lbs., has a ton of natural power from the left side of the plate. The ball goes a long way when he connects. Kirilloff does have a little bit of a hitch before starting his swing — he loads his hands, pauses for an instant, then swings — that has led to concerns about his ability to hand high-end velocity. Defensively, Kirilloff is a good runner and he’s athletic for his size, allowing him to handle center field. If he has to move to a corner down the line, his arm is plenty strong for right. He’s also played some first base as well. There is true middle of the order potential here, assuming that weird timing issue doesn’t hold him back.

The Yankees hold the 18th overall pick in this year’s draft and Kirilloff is ranked right in that area; in their latest rankings Baseball America had him 15th, MLB.com had him 18th, and Keith Law (sub. req’d) had him 19th. The Yankees have been known to target brute mashers early in the draft (Eric Jagielo, Peter O’Brien, etc.), but Kirilloff offers good athleticism and defense, so while he is a bat first prospect, he’s not a bat only prospect.