Only 26 players drafted in 2016 have debuted in the majors so far, which means these new Yankee prospects will not be playing under the famous Yankee facade any time soon, but it is important to be familiar with the Bronx Bombers of the future.
The Yankees Nation Bloggers teamed up to provide coverage of the 2019 draft. Austin Verhille, Nicholas Giovanelli, and Tim LaDuca divided up the Yankees first six picks.
Round 1 – Anthony Volpe SS
Volpe was a trendy pick in the first round. He was the tenth and final high school player drafted in the first round, and he is also a young position player. Only ten pitchers were drafted in the first round, and Volpe is one of eight shortstops to be drafted in the first round and one of ten teenagers selected in the first round. Volpe, born in 2001, just celebrated his 18th birthday in late April.
Volpe is getting comps to Trevor Story and Alex Bregman, and also has been playing under the watchful eyes of Yankee scouts for years according to NewYorkPost.com.
He flexes defensive ability that is highly touted, with PerfectGame.com citing him as a “polished defensive infielder with all the actions, advanced footwork and balance, very quick transfer and release, very smooth and fluid.” Sounds a lot like another shortstop the Yankees drafted from New Jersey on 1992 (even though Jeter went to a Michigan high school).
The right-handed hitter has line drive power to all fields and was in the 85th percentile for his class with a 91 mph exit velocity at PerfectGame events.
Competitive Balance Round A – TJ Sekkema LHP
TJ Sikkema, who the Yankees selected with pick 38 in Competitive Balance Round A, put in a strong season in his junior year at Missouri. The left-hander put up a 1.32 ERA over 88.2 innings pitched. He dominated batters, tallying 101 strikeouts and only had a .175 batting average against. Sikkema was also dominating in his high school, Central DeWitt, as he was a multi-sport athlete who also played basketball, football, and soccer. During his high school baseball career, the southpaw went 30-5 on the bump with a 0.83 ERA and 370 strikeouts.
Round 3 – Jake Sanford OF
This year in the third round the Yankees selected Jake Sanford an outfielder out of Western Kentucky University. Jake Sanford looks to have the potential to be an absolute steal in the third round. This is a center fielder who transitioned over from first base. His athleticism made the transition very easy. His best attribute is easily his hitting ability. Sanford was a walk-on at McCook Community College and was named back -to back First team All-Star. He hit a .356 batting average with a .424 OBP and slugged .671 over two seasons with McCook Community College.
Sanford then transferred to WKU. In his one season (56 games) with WKU Sanford raked for a .398 batting average with an OBP of .483 slugged a .805 and hit 22 home runs. To put this into comparison, Adley Rutschman the first overall pick by the Orioles out of Oregon State in his last season and his best season in college hit a .411 average slugged .751 and had an OBP of .575. The downside to Sanford is the fact that he started late. But, with numbers like that, it is clearly worth the pick, especially in the third round.
While the third and fourth round picks are not as noted as first or second picks. However, you can get some great players in these rounds. For example, Edwin Diaz and JT Realmuto were third rounders and Cody Bellinger and James Paxton were fourth rounders
Round 4 – Jake Agnos LHP
In the fourth round, the Yankees picked Jake Agnos a pitcher out of East Carolina University isn’t as noteworthy as Jake Sanford. Agnos’ last season was his best throwing a 2.29 era giving up 43 walks, striking out 145 in 102 innings through 17 games started going 11-3. Giving quick run through of the other two years in Agnos’ career. In 2017 had a 3.22 era with a 3-3 record in 16 appearances giving up 23 earned runs in 64.1 innings, in 2018 he had a 4.10 era going 4-4 in 22 appearances giving up 29 earned runs in 63.2 innings pitched. So not great numbers but for a fourth-round pick, it’s not a bad pick and obviously with the analytics team as deep as the Yankees have they know more than just the basic numbers and believe they can develop Agnos into a serviceable pitcher.
Round 5 – Ken Waldichuk LHP
The Yankees selected Ken Waldichuk from St. Mary’s College with pick 165, their third left-handed pitcher of the draft. Waldichuk finished his 2019 season with a 5-6 record and a 3.69 ERA, along with 106 strikeouts over 92.2 innings pitched. During his freshman year, Waldichuk had a 2.00 ERA over 45 innings and then played in the Cal Ripken League that summer, where he struggled a bit with a 3.42 ERA.
With his height at 6’4”, he is an exciting prospect regardless of some of the inconsistency he has shown. According to the MLB Pipeline, he sits around 90-91 miles per hour with his fastball “but can touch 93-94 mph and will show flashes of a slider, curve, and changeup. He misses a ton of bats with a lower slot delivery. While some think he might be a reliever, he does have the repertoire to start.”
Round 6 – Hayden Wesneski RHP
Wesneski has already signed a contract with the Yankees after being drafted out of Sam Houston State in Texas. He was the first right-handed pitcher to be drafted by New York, and the fourth pitcher overall to join the Yankees system in this year’s draft.
The 6’3, 21-year-old pitched to a 25-9 record in three seasons at Sam Houston State thanks to a 3.56 ERA and 224 strikeouts.
He throws from a 10 o’clock arm slot but lowers his arm angle for some of his breaking pitches. In 2016, he was throwing a 91 mph fastball with a slider/curveball combo in the low 70’s. The fastball has deceptive, late movement as well, which is required from lower velocity pitchers.
The life-long starter looks to have the makeup of a bullpen arm. With the path MLB is on currently, a switch to the bullpen could put Hayden on a faster track to the majors.
Featured Image: Mary DeCicco, MLB Photos via Getty Images