As for the Yankees, Baseball America has them selecting Virginia C Matt Thaiss with their first round pick, the 18th overall selection. The 21-year-old lefty hitter owns a .382/.478/.599 batting line with ten homers, 35 walks, and 12 strikeouts this year. Here’s a snippet of MLB.com’s free scouting report:
He has an advanced approach at the plate and solid power, especially on the extra-base front, though he should have some over-the-fence pop at the next level. He’s continued to be very consistent at the plate as a junior, though there are many questions about his ability to stay behind it as a pro. His catching skills are quite raw, with a fringy arm and rough receiving skills … (His) bat alone — and he has played first base at times — should make him a day one selection.
Interestingly, the write-up says reports of the Yankees being in on pitchers is “inaccurate,” and instead “the focus has been on finding a college bat.” Intrigue! This draft is a bit thin on impact college bats beyond likely top five picks Mercer OF Kyle Lewis and Louisville OF Corey Ray. Thaiss, Tennessee 3B Nick Senzel, and Miami C Zack Collins represent the best of the rest.
There is quite a bit of pitching in this draft, both college and high school, and that’s good because the Yankees could use some arms in their farm system. The best strategy may be to take the best available bat in the first round, then take advantage of the pitching depth and load up on arms in the second round and beyond.