New York Yankees 2022 Draft Review

dronepicr, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Yankees had a solid draft, surprisingly drafting all 20 players from the college ranks. This was likely done so the players can rise quickly through the system and it will hurt less with the impending loss of certain players in the Rule 5 Draft and any trades. The Yankees drafted a total of fifteen pitchers, three outfielders, one shortstop and one third baseman. You will see a theme here as well. Here, I review all of New York’s draft picks from the 2022 MLB Draft. All the players have signed and will be assigned to a team relatively soon.

Round 1, Pick No. 25: Spencer Jones, OF, Vanderbilt
Jones was a two-way prospect in high school but he hurt his arm as a senior and ended up undergoing Tommy John surgery in July 2020, ending his pitching career. Fortunately for him, he has upside as a position player. Jones is 6-foot-7 220 pounds with big time power and exit velocities. He hit .370 with 12 home runs, 14 steals and a 1.103 OPS in 61 games this past season. He has brought his strikeout rate down from last year, which was 30 percent, but he still swings and misses in the zone too often. Jones is extremely athletic with good speed for his size and may be able to swipe a few bags. He can play all three outfield positions plus first base. The Aaron Judge comparison is obvious, both are huge athletic outfielders, who make hard contact and run well for their size. Jones has clear All-Star upside, but he’s a ways from that right now. With the outfield depth in the system, he may be relegated to first base for now, which is a position he can move more quickly up the system.

Round 2, Pick No. 61: Drew Thorpe, RHP, Cal Poly
Thorpe went 10-1 with a 2.32 ERA this past season and was second in the nation with 149 strikeouts in 104.2 innings pitched. Thorpe’s changeup is plus and maybe the best in the draft class and his slider isn’t far behind. His fastball is only 87-92 mph and raises some concerns that it will be below average. He has a very short, simple arm action that he repeats extremely well which results in plus command and control, evidenced by just a 6.3 percent walk rate this spring. His fastball might limit his ceiling, but it’s enough to make him a back-end starter. With his projectable 6’4” frame, he could be the ideal pitcher for Matt Blake to work with since he has very good control, very good secondary pitches, and plenty of room to grow and build his velocity.

Round 3, Pick No. 100: Trystan Vrieling, RHP, Gonzaga
Vierling likes to outthink his opponents as a meticulous pitcher. He had 107 strikeouts in 80.2 innings with a 4.91 ERA with the Zags last season. He improved his stock on the Cape with a 1.04 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 17.1 innings (7 games, 2 starts). Vrieling has a short arm action and hides the ball. He owns a low to mid 90s fastball with big velocity upside but currently lives by his off speed stuff, throwing a curve, high spin rate slider (that sometimes turning cutterish) and a plus changeup. He has success with his fastball because he commands it to all four quadrants and it plays up that way. Everything that’s not a fastball is more effective than the heater for him at this time. He’s 6′ 4″ with a starter’s build and has the weapons that working with the Yankees coaching will only improve. He has a very big ceiling.

Round 4, Pick No. 130: Anthony Hall, OF, Oregon
A left hand hitting centerfielder, Hall hit .333/.402/.640 with 14 home runs and 24 walks to 43 strikeouts in 60 games this past spring for the Ducks. Hall has plus raw power, which even though is mostly to the pull side in-game, he also has a good ability to hit the ball to all fields. He crushes fastballs, but he needs to continue to refine his recognition of softer stuff. Hall is also a very solid runner. He projects to be more of a corner outfielder than a centerfielder even though he has the wheels presently for centerfield.

Round 5, Pick No. 160: Eric Reyzelman, RHP, LSU
Reyzelman owns a big fastball that reaches up to 99 and usually sits in the mid 90s. He also owns a cutter, curveball and slider. Eric pitched to a 4.04 ERA with 66 strikeouts in 42.1 Innings with the Tigers. He transferred from San Francisco and underwent Tommy John surgery in 2020. He’s a reliever right now but the Yankees can stretch him out. Reyzelman reminds me of former Yankees prospect Hayden Wesneski.

Round 6, Pick No. 190: Chase Hampton, RHP, Texas Tech
Hampton owns a fastball that touches 99 and usually sits in the mid 90s. He also owns a changeup, curveball and slider. The slider is his put-away pitch. In 56.2 innings pitched, he had a 4.29 ERA with 72 strikeouts splitting time as a starter and reliever. He has a lot of potential as a power arm late in games. All his pitches light up the data sheet they just have not gotten the ratio results he is looking for.

Rd. 7, Pick No. 220: Cam Schlittler, RHP, Northeastern
Cam is big kid at 6′ 6” 210 pounds, who owns a low 90s fastball, slider, changeup and curveball. He took a step back this year after posting a 1.88 ERA in 2021 for the Huskies, earning himself Freshman All-American honors. He posted a 3.44 ERA this past year with 85 Ks in 91.2 innings over 15 starts.

Rd. 8, Pick No. 250: Brett Barrera, SS, Stanford
Barrera played second base for Stanford this past season, but was drafted as a shortstop. He hit .351/.394/.575 with 11 home runs, 53 RBI and 33 extra-base hits total in 63 games for the Cardinals. He has a good hit tool and good pop to all fields.

Round 9, Pick No. 280: Matt Keating, RHP, USC
He spent his freshman year at Southeast CC In Nebraska, where he was an NJCAA Division I All-American and Region IX Player of the Year as an infielder, where he hit .404 with 19 home runs. He moved to the mound as a sophomore at USC, and was 2-3 with a 3.60 ERA and seven saves to go along with 44 strikeouts in 30 relief innings as their primary closer. Keating owns an elite breaking ball that has great spin (2600 rpm) with a downward break in the low 80s along with a low to mid 90s fastball.

Round 10, Pick No. 310: Will Brian, LHP, Eastern Kentucky
Brian was a starter his first two years at Eastern Kentucky before missing 2020 and moving to the bullpen due to injuries in 2021. In the bullpen as Eastern Kentucky’s closer, he turned into one of the best relievers in D1 baseball where he was First Team All-ASUN as a senior. Posting a 1.83 ERA, 15 saves, and 53 strikeouts in 39.1 innings this past season, his 15 saves were third in the nation. He is an inspirational story after suffering a scary seizure in November 2021 and other injuries including an elbow injury in college and working his way back to being an MLB draft pick this year.

Round 11, Pick No. 340: Ryan Harvey, RHP, UC Santa Barbara
The hard-throwing right-hander was UC Santa Barbara’s closer in 2022, posting a 3.68 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 29.1 innings to go along with 11 saves. He also started for the Ridgefield Raptors, a summer wood bat league, between 2021-22, and posted a 2.50 ERA with a 9.5 K/9 in 50.1 innings. He owns a very nice fastball-curveball mix with the fastball sitting low to mid 90s and the slider needing some work to unlock his full potential.

Round 12, Pick No. 370: Jackson Fristoe, RHP, Mississippi State
The big righthander stands 6’4” 210 pounds. Fristoe pitched for the 2021 College World Series Champions this past season. Fristoe owns a low to mid 90s fastball, a harder slider, and an average curveball. Fristoe registered 48 strikeouts in 37.1 innings being used primarily as a reliever after being a starter during his freshman season. He will need to work on his control after averaging 4.6 BB/9 in 2022 and 6.8 BB/9 in 2021. His career ERA was 6.67 with a 1.633 Whip in college. He could be a wild card in this draft class. Fristoe pitches with a lot of fire and emotion.

Round 13, Pick No. 400: Geoffrey Gilbert, LHP, Clemson
A Two-Time All ACC Academic Honor Roll Member, the left handed Gilbert pitched exclusively in relief his first two college seasons and started five games this past season. He ranks fourth in Clemson history in K/9 rate (10.8) after posing 56 strikeouts in 45 innings in 2022. He took a step back in most departments this past season pitching to a 5.20 ERA in 45 innings with a 1.33 whip. His career college ERA was 3.35. It is worth noting in 2 of his 5 starts this past season he gave up 9 runs in 5.2 innings which affected his ultimate stat line.

Round 14, Pick No. 430: Kris Bow, RHP, College of Southern Nevada
Bow is a JUCO pitcher who had a 2.16 ERA with 64 Ks and 5 saves in 41.2 innings, earning Reliever of the Year honors in his region. Then, he shined in the Cape Cod League this summer with a jump in better competition, posting a 2.12 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 17 innings pitched. He owns a low 90s fastball with good spin and a low 80s slider. He can get wild at times evidenced by his 4.9 BB/9 in 2022, but he is a great project.

Round 15, Pick No. 460: Tayler Aguilar, OF, Grand Canyon University
The left hand mashing Aguilar hit .326/.397/.719 with a school record 23 home runs, 13 doubles and 75 RBI this past season in 59 games good for a 1.116 OPS. Aguilar was a first-team All-WAC selection and NCAA Division I West All-Region second team selection. The Western Athletic Conference isn’t the best in college baseball, but those numbers were worth attention. He is strictly a corner outfielder with good pop and high walk rates and low strikeout rates.

Round 16, Pick No. 490: Shane Gray, RHP, Evansville
Gray had an 8-3 record with a 4.39 ERA and 95 strikeouts against 25 walks in 15 starts in 98.1 innings in 2022, earning him All-Missouri first team honors. He started for two years while in college. Gray owns plus command of all his pitches with a solid fastball that has good movement along with a slider, change up and curveball/screwball.

Round 17, Pick No. 520: Hayden Merda, RHP, Azusa Pacific U
The 6’5” 220-pound Merda had a 4.15 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 43.2 innings in 2022 as a reliever. Gray owns a solid fastball in the mid 90s with breaking action as his bread and butter. He was mainly a reliever in college and will likely stick there in the pros.

Round 18, Pick No. 550: Sebastian Keane, RHP, Northeastern
Keane was drafted in the 11th round by the Red Sox last season and returned to school. He was Baseball Americas Freshman of the year in 2020. He pitched to a 5.99 ERA this past season with 50 strikeouts in 70.2 innings in 2022 taking a step backward from his 2021 season. In the 2021 season he posted 73 strikeouts and a 4.09 ERA in 70.1 innings. He owns a solid mid 90s fastball and slider mix, his slider being the best of the two. He has a ton of projectability once he gets into the system with his 6’3” 190-pound frame. He was worth the gamble as a project here, and he has the potential to add velocity. Of note, Keane was born in Massachusetts and was born and raised a Yankees fan!

Round 19, Pick No. 580: Beau Brewer, 3B, Paris JC
Another JUCO player, he absolutely destroyed the ball this past season with Paris JC, hitting .419 with 3 home runs and 30 runs to go along with 11 steals. At one point, he went 92 straight plate appearances without a strikeout! He also played for the Savannah Bananas in the college offseason and hit .333 in 33 games. Brewer fits the mold of recent Yankees selections: hit strikes hard, make good swing decisions, and steal bases. He is a very fun player to watch with his heart and hustle on the diamond. I believe he could be a steal in this draft!

Round 20, Pick No. 610: Trevor Kirk, RHP, Elon University
The right handed Kirk is 6’5” 210 pounds. He registered a 3.28 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 35.2 innings in 2021. He then took a step backward in 2022, where he registered a 6.49 ERA, allowing 48 hits and 13 walks in just 34.2 innings out of the pen. His 11.8 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in his college career is what was most attractive. As a project, reaching a serviceable reliever in the future is very possible.

Paul Woodin is a huge sports fan who leads the New York Yankees minor league farm system coverage for the Prospects1500 team. Growing up playing and watching baseball while collecting baseball cards, Paul developed a love for the game. Born and raised in Connecticut between Yankees and Red Sox territory, Paul become a Yankees fan because of Don Mattingly and Derek Jeter. An avid sports card, memorabilia and autograph collector, he participates in redraft, dynasty and prospect-only fantasy baseball formats during each season. Feel free to reach out on Twitter

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