The MLB Draft started last night. The Yankees were able to make three selections with their picks: one in each of the first two rounds, plus the competitive balance first-round pick that they acquired in the Sonny Gray trade this offseason. Here are some brief notes that I could find on the three guys.
Round 1 (30th overall): Anthony Volpe, SS, Delbarton HS (NJ)
A fun story. Volpe is a local kid who went to Delbarton High School in Morristown, N.J. He is committed to Vanderbilt (along with highly-touted high school teammate Jack Leiter), and it is supposedly a strong commitment. The Yankees will likely have to pay him above slot value for his signing bonus if they’re going to convince him to forgo college. They must think that they will be able to sign him, especially being a Yankee fan growing up, otherwise, they wouldn’t take the chance on him.
Volpe seems to be a bit of a do-it-all guy in the sense that his game doesn’t feature any prominent strengths or weaknesses. He is average to above-average in virtually every category that prospects get assessed on, besides one: work ethic. Evaluators are praising the kid as much as I can recall anyone being praised for the character at this stage. That’s a good thing. To me, it sounds like he can be in the Gleyber Torres mold. If you recall, when Gleyber was a prospect, they were also saying that he doesn’t have a standout tool, he’s just “a baseball player.” Once Torres got to the big leagues, his power numbers took a big step forward, so perhaps Volpe can develop in a similar way, but I can’t sit here and pretend I actually know that. For what it’s worth, some are saying he could project to second base long-term since his arm strength is the one trait that is the most exceedingly average.
Competitive Balance Round A (38th overall): LHP TJ Sikkema, University of Missouri
The Sonny Gray trade is now complete. The Yankees drafted Sikkema with the 38th overall selection in the draft. He’s a hard-throwing lefty and he throws a lot of strikes. Sounds like a good mold to me. The Yanks say that he could potentially become a reliever and get to the big leagues rather quickly, but they aren’t going to fast-track him like that and will see what kind of starter hr can turn into. It’s much easier to go from starter to reliever than vice-versa, you know?
Round 2 (67th overall): INF Josh Smith, LSU
Smith is a left-handed hitting, high-contact shortstop with some pop out of LSU. There was a big group of fairly well-regarded infielders going around this time, so the Yankees got in on the action. He’s being called a high-floor guy with at least the ability to become some sort of MLB utility-man down the road by people who know much more than I do, so that is cool. Another guy projected to potentially move to second base full-time, as well, but whatever. If he’s anything like the other LSU infielder the Yankees have (DJ LeMahieu), then I like him already.