Draft Forecast: New York Yankees


Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

New York YankeesTEAM: New York Yankees
PICK: 23 (Slot: $2,815,900)
POOL: $6,115,100
SCOUTING DIRECTOR: Damon Oppenheimer

PREVIOUS TOP PICKS
2017: Clarke Schmidt, RHP, South Carolina (16th overall)
2016: Blake Rutherford, OF, Chaminade College Prep (18th overall)
2015: James Kaprielian, RHP, UCLA (16th overall)
2014: Jacob Lindgren, LHP, Mississippi State (55th overall, 2nd round)
2013: Eric Jagielo, 3B, Notre Dame (26th overall)

HISTORY: New York gambled on an injured arm in 2017, taking RHP Clarke Schmidt (South Carolina) with the 16th overall pick. Outside of OF Blake Rutherford (Chaminade College Prep, CA) in 2016, their top pick has been on college prospects and they’ve leaned heavily toward college overall in the last five years.

FORECAST: College options should be aplenty in the back half of the first round with RHP Sean Hjelle (Kentucky), RHP Jackson Kowar (Florida), OF Jameson Hannah (Dallas Baptist) and SS Nico Hoerner (Stanford) leading the way. New York took RHP Tristan Beck (Stanford) in the 29th round last year as a draft-eligible sophomore when an injury was clouding his status. He’s shown he’s healthy this spring and could be an option again—given he has granted the Yankees permission to redraft him.

Sean Hjelle, RHP, Kentucky
PBR Draft Board: 19
FB: 55/60            CB: 55/60            SL: 45/55            CH: 55/60
Hjelle has an extra tall, long-bodied and long-limbed frame at 6-foot-11, 225 pounds. He’s surprisingly athletic and repeats his delivery, leveraging the ball from a high-3/4 slot with a loose arm swing and good arm speed. Hjelle’s two-seam fastball sits 91-93, peaking at 94 early, and shows tail and sink in addition to steep downplane. His knuckle-curveball flashes plus at 80-83 and he throws it to both sides of the plate. He also showed an 85-87 slider and 83-86 power changeup. (David Seifert)

Find Hjelle's full report in the Draft HQ.

Jackson Kowar, RHP, Florida
PBR Draft Board: 21
FB: 60/60            SL: 50/55            CH: 60/70
Kowar is wiry at 6-foot-6, 185 pounds. He has a very simple, low-effort delivery and throws from a 3/4 slot. The arm works free and easy with whip, as the ball comes out his hand very well. The fastball worked 92-94 mph, touching 97 with late, riding life. Despite a plus fastball, he seemingly pitched backwards early, working off of a plus changeup at 83-86. He threw the pitch in any count to any hitter. He showed impressive ability to control the pitch to right-handed hitters on the inner half. He also showed a feel for an above-average slider with late sweeping action at 75-78. (Doug Freeman)

Find Kowar's full report in the Draft HQ.

Jameson Hannah, OF, Dallas Baptist
PBR Draft Board: 22

HIT: 50/60            POWER: 45/50            SPEED: 60/60            DEFENSE: 50/55            ARM: 30/40
Hannah has a lean, athletic and fast-twitch frame at 5-foot-11, 190 pounds. He has quick, strong hands and a balanced swing. His demeanor at the plate is confident and he has elite hand-eye coordination. He takes pitches with easy rhythm, seemingly picking the ball up early out of the hand. He has above-average range in the outfield and runs easily with long strides. (Toby Bicknell)

Find Hannah's full report in the Draft HQ.

Nico Hoerner, SS, Stanford
PBR Draft Board: 23
HIT: 40/55            POWER: 30/40            SPEED: 55/60            DEFENSE: 45/50            ARM: 55/55

Hoerner is an athletic, medium-frame infielder with good bounce and energy. Offensively, he showed a mostly balanced approach with a loose swing. He’s more of a doubles or gap power type with the chance to hit 10-12 home runs a year in pro ball. He has contact and pitch recognition skills that should allow him to also hit for average, as well as take his share of walks. His above-average to plus speed plays in the game. He showed above-average arm strength with a quick release and solid carry to his target. Although not a silky smooth defender, Hoerner has good hands and is aggressive and confident in the dirt. (David Seifert)

Find Hoerner's full report in the Draft HQ.

Tristan Beck, RHP, Stanford
PBR Draft Board: 26

FB: 50/55            CB: 55/55            SL: 50/50            CH: 50/60
Beck is tall, lean and wiry at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds. He mixed four pitches for strikes with a cross-body landing and high-3/4 slot. He occasionally dropped closer to a 3/4 slot. His fastball sat 90-93 mph, occasionally touching 94 and one 95 on a 3-2 pitch that was up and well out of the zone. He generated occasionally swings and miss, but that was mostly due to his pitch mix and not excessive life or pinpoint command. His first changeup was at 83 and plus. It had great bottom and good hand speed. All the other changupes were 80-83 with more average quality and movement. The curveball was his best breaking ball, showing good shape and depth in the 75-79 range. He also mixed in a sweeping slider/slurve at 80-84. (David Seifert)

Find Beck's full report in the Draft HQ.

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