2017 Draft: Pavin Smith

Pavin Smith | 1B

Background
Smith, 21, was selected by the Rockies in the 32nd round of the 2014 draft out of high school, though he didn’t sign and instead followed through on his commitment to Virginia. He’s a career .325/.402/.514 hitter with 28 home runs in 187 games with the Cavaliers. This spring Smith hit .342/.427/.570 with more home runs (13) than strikeouts (12).

Scouting Report
With a 6-foot-2 and 210 lb. frame, Smith is a bat-first prospect with above-average hit and power tools. He’s a left-handed hitter who can drive the ball to all fields and has the innate ability to get the fat part of the bat on the ball. He knows the strike zone and consistently gets himself into hitter’s counts. Defensively, Smith is good around the first base bag and he has a good arm. He’s a good athlete who has played some outfield in the past, though he’s expected to remain at first base long-term, where he has more than enough bat for the position and solid glovework.

Miscellany
MLB.com (8th), Keith Law (12th), and Baseball America (15th) all rank Smith as a top half of the first round talent, though it should be noted he has been slipping to the back-half of the first round in recent mock drafts for whatever reason. The Yankees hold the 16th overall pick. High-end college performers always have a way of coming off the board early, so my gut feeling is Smith gets drafted before the Yankees pick despite what the mock drafts say. If not, he’d be a real coup at No. 16.

2017 Draft: Logan Warmoth

Logan Warmoth | SS

Background
The 21-year-old Warmoth was not drafted out of an Orlando high school in 2014, yet he managed to take over as North Carolina’s starting shortstop as a freshman. He’s a career .310/.378/.453 hitter with the Tar Heels, which includes a .336/.404/.554 line with nine home runs and 18 steals in 63 games this spring. Warmoth hit .270/.330/.450 in the Cape Cod League last year, which is a strong showing with wood bats against elite college pitching.

Scouting Report
Warmoth is a divisive prospect. Those who like him see a line drive right-handed swing and the ability to square up all kinds of pitching. Those who aren’t quite as sold see a guy without one standout tool, just a bunch of average tools. Warmoth has some power and speed, and he has good range and hands in the field. More than a few folks think he’s destined for second base long-term. Everything plays up a bit because Warmoth knows the game well and has great baseball instincts. See him on a good day, and he’ll look like an above-average hitting shortstop. See him on a bad day, and he’ll look like an average hitting second baseman.

Miscellany
The scouting publications are pretty split on Warmoth, though they all agree he’s a first round talent. Keith Law (subs. req’d) is the high man and ranks him as the seventh best prospect in the 2017 draft class. Baseball America ranks him 19th and MLB.com rank him 27th. The Yankees hold the 16th pick. Warmoth is, by far, the best college middle infielder in the draft class, which leads me to believe he’s going to drafted pretty high, possibly before the Yankees pick.

2017 Draft: Evan White

Evan White | 1B

Background
The 21-year-old White was not drafted out of an Ohio high school back in 2014. He is a career .354/.413/.522 hitter with 16 home runs and 18 stolen bases in 157 career games at Kentucky, which includes a .368/.450/.627 batting line and nine homers in 51 games this spring.

Scouting Report
White has a very unique profile. He’s a right-handed hitter and a left-handed thrower, and at the plate he stands out more for his pure hitting ability than his power. The opposite is usually true for most first base prospects. His bat speed and level swing allow him to spray the ball from foul pole and foul pole, and there’s some thought that once he gets into a pro training program and adds muscle to his lanky 6-foot-3, 177 lb. fame, the ball will start carrying over the fence more often. White is a very good athlete and runner, so much so that some believe he could move to center field in pro ball. His hands and footwork around the first base bag are Gold Glove caliber. When you think about a first base prospect, the first thing that comes to mind is a brute masher with power. That’s not White. He’s very well-rounded with the biggest current shortcoming being over-the-fence power.

Miscellany
White has been among the most notable risers in the draft class this spring. He’s been climbing draft boards steadily. Baseball America ranks him as the 12th best prospect in the draft class while MLB.com ranks him 18th and Keith Law (subs. req’d) ranks him 33rd. The Yankees hold the 16th overall pick. College bats are always in demand and I get the sense White will be off the board before the Yankees get a chance to pick. If not, betting on his pure hitting ability and athleticism would be a pretty interesting move for the Yankees, especially if they think he can handle center field.

Saturday Open Thread

Since the Yankees don’t play until later tonight — have I mentioned I hate Saturday night games? I just want to make sure that’s clear — here is an open thread for the day. The Mets are playing right now, and MLB Network will show regional games both right now and later tonight. No NBA or NHL games today though. Only baseball. And I am totally cool with that. Anyway, talk about whatever here, just not religion or politics.

Saturday Links: Otani, Draft Info, Mock Drafts, Old Timers’ Day

Otani. (Presswire)
Otani. (Presswire)

The Yankees and Orioles continue their weekend series later tonight, with a 7:15pm ET game. Boy, I sure do hate Saturday night games. Anyway, until then, check out Jorge Posada’s letter to his younger self at The Players’ Tribune, then check out these stray bits of news.

Latest on Shohei Otani

Earlier this week Jeff Passan posted a bit of an update on Nippon Ham Fighters ace/slugger Shohei Otani, the best player in the world not under contract with one of the 30 big league teams. Otani is only 22, which means he would be subject to the international bonus hard cap if he were to come over to MLB this offseason. Waiting until he’s 25 would allow him to sign a contract of any size. Anyway, the important details from Passan:

  • There is “significant skepticism” that Otani will come over to MLB this winter. Teams estimate his market value right now, at age 22, at at least $200M. Market value is not the same thing as earning potential, of course.
  • MLB is expected to be “vigilant to ensure the sanctity of the system is not made a mockery by extralegal payments,” meaning a team couldn’t give Otani a long-term contract shortly after signing him, thereby circumventing the hard cap.
  • AL teams believe they have an inside track to sign Otani because they can let him DH between starts. NL teams are wary of letting him play the outfield when he’s not on the mound.

Otani, by the way, has been hampered by a nagging ankle issue this season. He has yet to pitch and only recently did he return to the lineup as a designated hitter. He’s hitting .407/.469/.815 with five doubles and two homers in eight games so far.

My guess — and this is only a guess — is Otani will not come over to MLB this winter. I think he’ll instead announce his intention to come over next offseason, allowing teams to get their international bonus money situation in order. Right now, just about every team has agreements in place with Latin American players for July 2nd, leaving them no money for Otani over the winter. We’ll see.

Latest Mock Drafts

With the draft two days away, the consensus right now is the Twins will select Vanderbilt RHP Kyle Wright with the first overall pick. That allows California HS SS/RHP Hunter Greene, the unanimous No. 1 prospect in the draft class, to slip to the Reds with the second pick, or maybe even the Padres with the third pick. Anyway, here are the latest mock drafts and their Yankees’ picks:

In the FanGraphs write-up Eric Longenhagen notes the Yankees have had “special assistants” in to see Rogers, though I should note that isn’t unusual for any player under first round consideration. Baseball America says the Yankees have been “linked to college arms all spring, but (they) also could go for the right college bat.” MLB.com links them to California HS 1B Nick Pratto (RAB profile) in addition to Canning and Rogers.

(Self-Promotion: I posted a mock draft at CBS that is little more than educated guesswork, so check that out. I’m not going to tell you who I have the Yankees taking. No, I’m not above begging for clicks.)

(Matthew Ziegler/Getty)
(Matthew Ziegler/Getty)

Swisher, Boucher to represent Yankees at draft

Last week MLB announced the representatives for all 30 teams for Monday’s draft broadcast on MLB Network. Nick Swisher and Denis Boucher are representing the Yankees. Here are every team’s representatives. Swisher is Swisher. He played for the Yankees from 2009-12 and was very productive. He’ll go down as one of Brian Cashman‘s greatest trades. Also, when Swisher left as a free agent, the Yankees used the compensation draft pick to select Aaron Judge. That trade is the gift that keeps on giving.

Boucher has been with the Yankees since 2010 and he more or less runs their amateur scouting in Eastern Canada. His MLB playing career was brief (1991-94 with the Blue Jays, Indians, Expos) and since then he’s worked to grow the game in Canada. Boucher has coached Canadian Olympic teams, in the World Baseball Classic, and a bunch of other international tournaments. He’s also been involved in developing Canada’s youth baseball program. Certainly not a household name, but Boucher has done a lot to promote the game north of the border. Pretty cool the Yankees are rewarding him with a trip to the draft.

Also, I should note MLB has announced four prospects will attend the draft Monday: Greene, Rogers, Kentucky HS OF Jordon Adell (RAB profile), and Alabama HS OF Bubba Thompson (RAB profile). Would be kinda cool if the Yankees picked a kid actually at the draft, no? Judge and Ian Clarkin were there for the 2013 draft, remember.

Yankees announce Old Timers’ Day roster

Old Timers’ Day is Sunday, June 25th this year — two weeks from tomorrow — and a few days ago the Yankees announced the list of attendees. Here’s the press release. Most are the usual suspects. Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, Paul O’Neill, Ron Guidry, etc. The guys we see every Old Timers’ Day. The most notable first time Old Timer is Jorge Posada. He’s the first member of the Core Four (groan) to attend Old Timers’ Day. Neat.

Also, during the Old Timers’ Day festivities, the Yankees will hold a special ceremony to honor new Hall of Famer Tim Raines. Raines is going into the Hall of Fame as an Expo (duh), but he was an incredibly productive platoon outfielder with the Yankees from 1996-98. Rock hit .299/.395/.429 (120 wRC+) with 18 homers and 26 steals in 940 plate appearances those years, his age 36-38 seasons. Pretty awesome.

Yanks 8, Orioles 2: Montgomery starts, Hicks finishes ’em off


Source: FanGraphs

Three straight wins! It’s been a while since the Yankees have done that, believe it or not. This is the first time since early May. The Yankees beat the Orioles 8-2 in Friday’s series opener, though it wasn’t until the late innings that they broke the game open. It was much closer most of the night. The Yankees have outscored the Red Sox and Orioles 25-3 during this little three-game winning streak. That’s the good stuff. Anyway, it’s Friday night, so let’s recap with bullet points:

  • Monty’s Best: Thanks to what I thought was his best breaking ball of the season, Jordan Montgomery set new career highs in innings (seven) and strikeouts (eight) on Friday night. He did allow two runs on a Jonathan Schoop homer, though it wasn’t even that bad a pitch. Schoop managed to reach across the plate and hammer it into the left field bleachers. Not sure how he did that. Montgomery pitched out of some jams, mostly notably a runner on third with one out in the fifth with the score tied 2-2, and finished by retiring the last nine men he faced. What a nice little surprise this kid has been, huh?
  • Second Best Aaron: Schoop gave the O’s a 2-0 lead in the top of the second and the Yankees immediately answered with two in the bottom half. Starlin Castro‘s home run and Chase Headley‘s sac fly did the deed. It wasn’t until the sixth inning that the Yankees took a 3-2 lead. They did that on an Aaron Hicks solo homer. Dylan Bundy fooled him with a changeup earlier in the at-bat (and earlier in the game), and it sure looked like Hicks sat on the pitch. He got it and he crushed it. Then, in the seventh, Hicks cracked his second homer of the night, that one a two-run shot. This dude belongs in the All-Star Game.
  • Tack-On Runs: The 2017 Yankees really do a great job tacking on runs late in the game. Matt Holliday doubled in Aaron Judge after the Hicks homer in the seventh inning to stretch the lead to 6-2, then Austin Romine came through with a two-run single in the eighth inning to make it 8-2. The Yankees are only 7-8 in one-run games this season, but you know what? They’re 17-2 in games decided by at least five runs. This team can really tack on runs. It’s awesome.
  • Leftovers: Tyler Clippard and Jonathan Holder finished off the game after Montgomery without making it interesting … Hicks, Holliday, Brett Gardner, and Gary Sanchez each had two hits … Castro had the homer and a walk … Headley had two walks … every starter reached base at least once … the Yankees are a season high 12 games over .500.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload page either. The Yankees and Orioles will continue this series Saturday night (argh) at Yankee Stadium. Luis Severino and Chris Tillman are the scheduled starters. If you want to catch either of the final two games in this series, RAB Tickets can get in the door.

DotF: Frazier homers twice, Torres once in Scranton’s win

Here are the day’s notes:

  • Brendan Kuty spoke RHP Chance Adams about his looming big league opportunity. “Whenever they want to call me up. It’s not really under my control. When they feel I’m ready, they’ll call me up and I’ll do the best I can to help the team win,” he said.
  • RHP Ronald Herrera (No. 14) and RHP Zack Littell (No. 19) made this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. Cool to see two lower profile pitching prospects get some attention. “The 5-foot-11 righthander is not overpowering but can touch 94 mph and is difficult to square up,” said the write-up of Herrera. As for Littell, it says, “Advanced command helps all of Littell’s offerings play up.”
  • The Triple-A International League released their second All-Star voting update. A bunch of Lehigh Valley and Buffalo players are in line to start. Adams and SS Gleyber Torres lead the write-in votes though. Here’s the ballot.

Triple-A Scranton (10-1 win over Lehigh Valley)

  • SS Tyler Wade: 3-5, 2 R, 1 RBI — 15-for-37 (.405) during his nine-game hitting streak
  • 2B Gleyber Torres: 2-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K — 8-for-19 (.421) with a double and two homers in his last five games, so someone is starting to get his bearings at Triple-A
  • 1B Greg Bird: 0-5, 1 R
  • RF Tyler Austin: 2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K
  • LF Clint Frazier: 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI — now hitting .262/.350/.510 on the season
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB
  • CF Mason Williams: 1-4
  • RHP Luis Cessa: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 6/5 GB/FB — 64 of 90 pitches were strikes (71%) … two earned runs or less in eight of his eleven outings down here
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 0.1 IP, zeroes, 1 K — four pitches, three strikes … he usually works full innings or even multiple innings … if he makes a few more of these short left-on-left matchup outings, they might be considering him for that role in the show

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