Yankees 2020 MLB Draft Preview: New York Looks To Add To System’s Upside
Unlike the NBA or NFL drafts, MLB teams do not draft for immediate need. There’s good reason for that, as even the most MLB-ready draft prospects usually take two seasons to get fully established in the majors. But as we ready for the 2020 MLB draft, it is useful to look at where teams are deep and where they are thin at the MLB and minor league level.
2019 MLB RECORD: 103-59
STATE OF THE SYSTEM: The Yankees system is built around youth and upside. Twenty-three of their Top 30 Prospects haven’t played a game at the upper levels. That group includes their No. 1 prospect, outfielder Jasson Dominguez, who will make his professional debut once the 2020 season gets underway.
BEST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: With 19.1 WAR over the first four seasons of his career, Aaron Judge is quickly becoming the best No. 27 overall pick of all time. He’s just two WAR behind the leader, Dave Magadan, who was selected in 1983 by the Mets. With better injury luck over the past two seasons, Judge likely would already have eclipsed Magadan.
WORST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: The Yankees’ first selections this decade have been underwhelming to say the least. Of that group, 2010 first-rounder Cito Culver is probably the most egregious. He was far from a consensus first-round talent at the time, and came off the board before supplemental first-rounders like Aaron Sanchez, Nick Castellanos and Noah Syndergaard.
DEEPEST POSITION(S): As usual the Yankees’ system is stuffed to the gills with power-armed righthanders. Seven of the team’s Top 10 Prospects are righthanders, including upper-level talent like Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. There’s plenty more outside the Top 10, too, including upstart prospects like Yoendrys Gomez (who could shoot up the list depending on what the minor league season looks like) and Miguel Yajure. Overall, 12 of the Yankees’ Top 30 Prospects are righthanders.
Honorable mention goes to center field, where the team has a host of young, toolsy players waiting to take over in the Bronx. After Dominguez at the top, there’s also talented but oft-injured Estevan Florial, Rookie-level players like Everson Pereira, Antonio Cabello, Kevin Alcantara and Raimfer Salinas, and trade acquisition Josh Stowers.
WEAKEST POSITION(S): T.J. Sikkema, last year’s second-round selection out of Missouri, is the only lefthander among the team’s Top 30 prospects. The Yankees’ system has been bereft of lefties for a while, which is part of the reason the team swung a deal with Seattle for James Paxton before the 2019 season.
DRAFT TRENDS: The Yankees have taken a high school player with their top pick in three of the last four drafts. The exception came in 2017, when they took Clarke Schmidt out of South Carolina after he’d had Tommy John surgery. That move allowed them to go well over-slot for their next pick, California high school righthander Matt Sauer, who is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery himself.