The 2023 MLB Draft is only about 3 weeks away with the combine starting today at Chase Field in Arizona. There’s always a buzz to who the Yankees are connected to, but let’s take a look at where the needs are for the Yankees. Something to keep in mind is that the Yankees have the second least bonus pool to work with: $5,299,400.
The 2023 draft values are as follows:
- 1st round (#26) is $3,065,000
- 3rd round (#97) is $692,000
- 4th round (#130) is $506,800
- 6th round (#192) is $285,400
- 7th round (#222) is $224,700
- 8th round (#252) is $188,000
- 9th round (#282) is $173,100
- 10th round (#312) is $164,400
The Yankees skip the 2nd and 5th rounds this year for signing RHP Carlos Rodon.
At a glance, there’s no need for shortstop. There’s solid depth from the FCL all the way up to AAA: Roderick Arias in FCL, Jared Serna in Single-A Tampa, Alexander Vargas in High-A Hudson Valley, Trey Sweeney in AA Somerset and Oswald Peraza in AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The outfield is equally deep in prospects from Jasson Domínguez to Spencer Jones and Anthony Hall to Brandon Lockridge, among many others.
Then you look at catchers: Agustín Ramirez in Single-A Tampa, Antonio Gomez and Ben Rice in High-A Hudson Valley, Austin Wells in AA Somerset and Josh Breaux and Carlos Narváez in AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Realistically, there’s always a need for more depth in every position in the event of trades, injury or the player just doesn’t work out.
All of that aside, let’s look at who would make sense for the Yankees. Keep in mind that this is just for fun. Given that they’re the second to last pick in the first round, a number of the names they are targeting will likely be gone.
There’s buzz that the Yankees are connected to Kevin McGonigle, a SS out of Pennsylvania prep school Monsignor Bonner, but I’m not buying it. He’s currently committed to Auburn, so the Yankees may have to go over-slot to convince him to sign, similar to how they did with Anthony Volpe, but it seems like he’d have to sign much more over slot than the Yankees may be willing to go. Like Volpe, McGonigle was on USA Baseball’s 18u team. The recent connection there with the Yankees is that FCL Yankees manager James Cooper was a coach on that team, so he would be able to provide input on McGonigle. MLB says that he will likely eventually move to 2B which may make more sense for the Yankees.
Kevin McGonigle (PA) has just flat out hit all week. Quick lefty bat, attacks pitches in the zone early in at-bats and uses all fields to hit. Has versatility to him, smooth defender up the middle. Committed to Auburn. pic.twitter.com/U7AUJQ71Q5
— Tyler Jennings (@TylerJennings24) July 5, 2022
I don’t think chasing another SS would make sense though. Where will he slot in? If they move him to 2B then he has an easier path to promotion, similar to that of Tampa’s 2B/SS Jared Serna.
The Yankees are also connected to Hurston Waldrep, a righty arm from the University of Florida who has some inconsistencies in his command and control, which is believed to be what is making him to be a lower selection in the 1st round. His plus fastball sits at 95-99 but he has command problems here. The Yankees have had success with getting control and command sorted out, especially once a pitcher gets into AA. He is also reported to have a plus split-change that induces a lot of swing-and-misses as well as a slider that sits upper-80s that’s an above-average/fringe plus pitch. You probably know how much the Yankees love sliders.
Hurston Waldrep's 11Ks thru 7. pic.twitter.com/otNH0bQro1
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 10, 2023
But for the 1st round, RHP Travis Sykora makes more sense to me. He’s a 6’6” Texas native from Round Rock HS with a reported plus fastball that can reach triple digits but lacks movement. His mechanics have a lot going on and I suspect the Yankees would want to slowly make that a more efficient wind-up. Sykora has a plus slider that dives upon reaching the plate to induce lots of whiffs.
Good morning, Travis Sykora.
Big-bodied Texan has been impressive so far. 93-96 T97 on heater with late life, CH at 85-87 has great separation and is catching guys out in front. Flashing SL, as well. Four strikeouts already. pic.twitter.com/RRcVXUNQk0
— Tyler Jennings (@TylerJennings24) July 2, 2022
OF Homer Bush, Jr. with a reported plus speed would be someone the Yankees may consider for their 3rd round pick at #97, especially given that speed is how his father made his debut in pinstripes in 1997. The Yankees have been using baserunning coach Matt Talarico to revitalize the organization and it’s paying off in spades as many of the minor league teams lead their respective divisions or leagues in stolen bases and even the major league team has seen a significant uptick in stolen bases. Bush, Jr. is reported to be a hit over power prospect and would more likely run out a dribbler in the infield than hit a long homer. That profile sounds a lot like what I’ve seen from Phillies prospect Justin Crawford.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) February 17, 2023
1B Brock Vradenburg would make sense for their 4th round pick at #130 (or maybe even 3rd round), especially because of the lack of depth there. Not many prospects in the system stand out, and having a 6’7” with good plate discipline is something the Yankees may chase. Vradenburg is also a lefty bat that can reportedly hit to all fields. Would the Yankees have an Anthony Rizzo-like prospect on their hands in that case?
While ya stretch, can take a look at the #VradenBlast by Brock Vradenburg that tied the game at 5-all in the top of the 7th!!
— Michigan State Baseball (@MSUBaseball) May 13, 2023
The Yankees’ 6th round, 192 overall pick may go to LHP Isaiah Coupet out of Ohio State. Coupet is scouted to have plus curveball and sliders and a below-average fastball that sits low-90s. Given that the off-speeds are his go-to pitches, Coupet would likely be a reliever. The fastball is reported to not have a lot of life, but the Yankees have been known to revitalize pitchers that enter the system with those kinds of pitches. Richard Fitts, a 6th rounder in 2021 comes to mind as he didn’t have much of a fastball going into the 2022 season and was a reliever at Auburn. Further, Brendan Beck, 2nd round pick in 2021, also has an average fastball but a plus curve and slider, similar to Coupet.
Isaiah Coupet (@CotuitKettleers | @OhioStateBASE | '23) has a knack for spinning the ball and showed off that ability in his return to Cotuit. SNK was 89-92, SL induced 10 whiffs and was 79-83 w/ varying shapes. CB was 73-76 and gets more depth, CH 84-86@B_Sakowski_PG #PGCape pic.twitter.com/6528REM39I
— PG College Baseball (@PGCollegeBall) June 13, 2023