With 16th pick, Yanks will draft for talent, not need
Plucking a top bat seems likely, though club could opt for collegiate arm
By Bryan Hoch
The 2015 Draft will take place from Monday through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 75 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of over 1,700 Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Yankees, whose first selection is the 16th overall pick.
In about 50 words
The Yankees head into the Draft hungry for bats to add to their pipeline, hoping to see the formation of a new core in the big leagues soon. Their first five picks last year were all pitchers, including lefty reliever Jacob Lindgren, who was fast-tracked to the Majors.
MLB.com's experts believe that the Yankees will try to chase one of the exciting bats in the Draft pool, but they could still roll the dice on another polished collegiate pitcher. As always, the Yanks are saying that they are not looking to draft for need and will instead pick the best available player when the 16th spot comes up.
If they select a hitter, it has been projected that the Yankees could take a run at University of Cincinnati outfielder Ian Happ, outfielder Garrett Whitley from Niskayuna (N.Y.) High, outfielder Trenton Clark from Richland (Texas) High and catcher Chris Betts from Wilson High in Long Beach, Calif.
Right-hander James Kaprielian from UCLA has been listed as a target, while College of Southern Nevada right-hander Phil Bickford, the No. 10 overall choice in 2013, is another option. The Yanks have also scouted Donny Everett, a right-hander from Clarksville (Tenn.) High.
This is where the Yankees hope to be repaid for their decision not to offer David Robertson a contract this past offseason. Having been excited by quick-rising Draft picks like Aaron Judge and left-hander Ian Clarkin, both of whom were taken in the compensation round, the Yanks decided they'd rather sign left-hander Andrew Miller and pick up a compensation pick than keep Robertson in pinstripes. The Yankees have the 16th and 30th overall selections.
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.
Any team going up to 5 percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75 percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75 percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100 percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100 percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.
The Yankees have been assigned a pool of $7,885,000, which ranks sixth in the Majors. The value assigned to the Yanks' first-round pick is $2,543,300.
The Yankees would love to draft and develop some starting pitching; they have Bryan Mitchell and Luis Severino knocking on the big league door, but have been unable to develop much in that department since the days of Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain. Middle infield should be an area of interest for the Yanks, and they have enjoyed some success in developing catchers.
The Yankees' top five selections last season were college pitchers, two lefties and three righties. That represented a reversal from 2013, when five of the Yanks' top six picks were position players -- three from college and two from high school. In 2012, they used four of their first six picks on position players, so clearly Damon Oppenheimer and his staff like to keep everyone guessing.
RECENT DRAFT HISTORY
Judge, 23, was the 32nd overall selection in the 2014 Draft and enjoyed a standout spring in big league camp. The 6-foot-7, 275-pound slugger has been compared to Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, and he has shown the ability to keep up with Double-A pitching. Judge could see Yankee Stadium late this season or at any point next year.
Outfielder Ben Gamel was the Yankees' 10th-round selection in the 2010 Draft, picked approximately two years after he watched his brother, Mat, make his touted big league debut with the Brewers. Now it is Ben's turn to knock on the big league door, showing a live bat for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.