Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Yankees 2015 MLB Draft Results Rounds 1-2

by: Ben Embry

The Yankees took three college players with their first 3 picks in the 2015 MLB Draft.  The Yankees took UCLA RHP James Kaprielian with the 16th overall pick.  Kaprielian is the classic “pitchability” starter whose command/control exceed his “stuff”.  He seems to have a low floor and low-to-moderate ceiling.  Projected mainly as a number 3 starter with some 4s thrown on him.  May be a number 2 starter if he can put it all together.  He works with a 4 pitch mix; some scouts say his changeup is his best offering while others say it’s his curveball.  His fastball is of the four-seam variety and sits in the low 90s and will touch 95.  He has the ideal pitcher’s body at 6’4, 200 lbs.  He led the Pac 12 in strikeouts the past two years and has had success putting hitters away if he gets ahead.  Concerns would be diminished velocity, which is already not the highest, once he goes from a 7-day rotation to a 5-day rotation.  Again, this is considered a “safe” pick; I would expect him in the majors as a September call-up in 2016 at the earliest, but mid-season 2017 seems a more realistic timetable.

The Yankees took San Diego SS Kyle Holder with the 30th overall pick.  The glove is his calling card, with scouting grades ranging from  55 to 70.  The knock on him is his limited offensive upside due to a pronounced uppercut swing path, though he did have a .900 OPS in college this year.  His contact numbers are good with only 19 K’s in 224 AB’s.  His defensive prowess is unquestioned, despite only average speed.  He has a plus arm and good instincts.  His intangibles are also high, with labels like “gritty”, “natural leader”, and “clubhouse guy” being thrown on him.  He was ranked 54th on my draft board so he seemed like a reach at 30, but if the Yankees really wanted him they had to take him there since their next pick wasn’t until 57, (he was ranked as high as 38 on the boards I track).  Scouting Director Damon Oppenheimer has said the Yankees have made more success lately developing college players over high school ones, which may explain the choice of Holder over other HS players Yankees had been linked to more like C Chris Betts or RHP Donny Everett.

The Yankees took Indiana State LHP Jeff Degano with the 57th pick in round 2.  Degano is a 6’4, 200 lb southpaw from Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.  Degano was a late riser in the draft scouting process due to missing 2014 and some of 2013 with Tommy John surgery.  He performed well for the Sycamores, going 8-3 in 15 starts with a 2.36 ERA.  His 11.7 K/9 was the seventh best in Division I.  He’s gotten by on just his fastball and breaking ball with a seldom used changeup that needs development.  His fastball sits in the low 90s and has little movement.  If his changeup doesn’t come around, there’s a good chance he ends up as a reliever but projects as more of a late inning guy than a LOOGY.

The best available players remaining from my top 200 list: Donny Everett (23), Michael Matuella (26), Dakota Chalmers (37), Jacob Nix (38), and Jalen Miller (40).  This is somewhat conjecture, but Nix may be the only signable one of that group.  I expect the Yankees to stick to their college-heavy philosophy and would predict they take Iona RHP Mariano Rivera, Jr, (yep, Mo's son) with their 3rd round pick, (#92 overall).  It would be a little bit of a reach since he's #120 on my board, but they don't draft again until 123 so if they want him, I think they have to take him at 92.  You would think they would want him pretty pad since he's Mo son and  he's improved his stock since they drafted his last year.

The draft concludes tomorrow with rounds 11-40 and sometime the day or two after that I'll have preliminary draft scores and I'll have final draft scores after the signing deadline on July 17th.  THEN...shortly after that I'll update my top 30 Yankees prospects.  As of right now, I'm thinking Kaprielian will be in the back half of the top 10, with Holder about 10-12 spots behind him and Degano maybe sneaking into the last few spots.  Have a good day!

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)