Day One of the 2016 amateur draft came and went yesterday with some pretty big surprises around the league. The Yankees surprised as well by going against their recent trends with California HS OF Blake Rutherford (first round) and Louisville 2B Nick Solak (second round). Rutherford was considered a top ten talent by all the major scouting publications, and New York was able to get him with the 18th pick. Pretty cool.
The draft continues today with rounds 3-10, the remaining rounds tied directly to the bonus pool. Over the last few years Day Two has been the least exciting day of the draft because teams focus more on getting their draft pool in order than adding talent. Chances are Rutherford will require an overslot bonus, and if the Yankees were unsure what it would take to sign him coming into the draft, they certainly spoke to his agent (Casey Close) to get a number last night. Expect some draft pool saving picks this afternoon. Here are some stray draft links:
- In his Day One recap, Keith Law (subs. req’d) called Rutherford one of the best picks of Day One. “Rutherford came out of last summer as a probable top-five pick, a corner outfielder who could really hit and projected to above-average or better power … (We) all loved the guy’s hit tool last summer, and there isn’t anything really new that should have soured anyone on the bat,” he said.
- Christopher Crawford (subs. req’d) said Rutherford is the “best prep bat” in the draft class and is “great value for the Yankees” with the 18th pick. He added that Solak was one of the few college bats available who could play an up the middle position. “He has a chance to hit at the top of a lineup and play competent defense at second,” wrote Crawford.
- Jim Callis ranked Rutherford as one of the three best picks on Day One, calling him the “Draft’s top prep position player until (first overall pick Mickey) Moniak passed him … He could hit for power and average and remain in center field, making him a potential top-five-pick talent.”
- Eric Longenhagen (subs. req’d) also called Rutherford a “great value pick.” He notes the Yankees are going to have to cut some under slot deals in rounds 2-10 so they can redirect some draft pool savings to Rutherford, otherwise they probably won’t be able to sign him.
- Here are the best available players according to Baseball America and MLB.com. Teams were in contact with players overnight to gauge their signability, and if you see a top high school player slipping today, it’s because clubs don’t think they can pay him enough to turn pro.
The draft resumes today at 1pm ET and MLB.com will have a pre-draft show as well. There is no MLB Network broadcast today. The draft shifts to online only for Days Two and Three. Here is the MLB.com video feed and the MLB.com Draft Tracker. Talk about all things draft right here throughout the day.