Yankees MLB Draft Predictions

Keith Allison, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I want to highlight names the Yankees should be interested in drafting at 20th overall in the 2021 MLB Draft and if any are there in the 2nd round at pick #55. The Yankees have $6,943,700 as their allotted pool money. They have not had a top 10 draft pick since 1992 when they drafted Hall of Famer Derek Jeter. Let’s not talk about 1991 when they picked number 1 overall and the pick was Brien Taylor. Imagine if they would have stayed local and drafted the New York kid Manny Ramirez, but I digress. I expect the Yankees to draft for upside and not reach in the draft, and I can still dream on the first player I mention in the article.

Jack Leiter, RHP – How amazing Leiter would look in Pinstripes, his mid-90s mph fastball missing bats, and his plus curveball pitching in Yankees Stadium. Not to mention his above-average slider and changeup. Leiter was considered a top prospect in the 2019 Major League Baseball draft, but due to his strong commitment to Vanderbilt University, was not selected until the 20th round by the Yankees (615th overall) and he didn’t sign. He should be a high draft pick in 2021.

Gunnar Hoglund, RHP – This is my prediction of who is selected by the Yankees if he is still there at number 20. The Yankees have shown in the past, as recent as 2017 with Clarke Schmidt, that they are not scared of selecting pitchers that have had Tommy John Surgery while in college and waiting a year for them to pitch. Hoglund was ranked the number 3 pitching prospect coming into this draft prior to needing Tommy John, behind the Vandy boys Leiter and Kumar Rocker in multiple places. Hoglund owns a mid-90’s fastball and also displays a tight hard slider he throws at 84-86 mph. His low-80s changeup serves as a solid third pitch and he also owns a curveball that he occasionally uses when he needs to. With his durable 6-foot-4 frame, easy delivery, and a history of throwing strikes, Hoglund already has a high floor as a back-of-the-rotation starter. Although he offers less upside than other pitching prospects, there is a high chance he develops into a mid-rotation starter quickly once healed from his Tommy John.

Anthony Solometo, LHP – Where should we start? Solometo is 6’3″ and left-handed. He owns a high kick and a Bumgarner-esque three-quarter delivery. Solometo’s fastball sits in the 90-94 mph range with good power and life. His breaking ball is at its best when it’s more of a true slider, and though it can get big at times and become slurvy, it still plays well off of his arm slot. He has an average changeup but with improvement to it, he has the chance to have three above-average pitches in the future. He has outstanding command of the pitches, already showing the ability to challenge right-handed hitters inside. The funk in Solometo’s delivery adds a ton of deception, making his already good stuff play up even more. He repeats his delivery well and has a good idea of how to use his stuff. Adding a left-handed pitcher in the Yankees system would be a great fit. If Hoglund is gone at 20 I think this could be the Yankees pick. Solometo’s ceiling is a mid-rotation starter and his floor is a back-end of the rotation type guy.

Andrew Painter, RHP – Painter delivers a legitimate four-pitch mix with his 6’6″ frame. Utilizing both a two and four-seam fastball in the mid-90s he elevates them well to get swings and misses up in the zone. He also throws a 12-to-6 type curveball in the upper 70s, a mid-80s slider and he has shown a potentially plus changeup. With this combo, he delivers the ball extremely well and throws all four pitches for strikes. He already has plus command but his command and control should be even better in the future. Painter is committed to Florida and I wonder if he is drafted too late if he will sign or if a bigger bonus could pry him away.

Michael Mcgreevy, RHP – In 16 starts in 2021 he had an incredible 115/11 K/BB ratio over 101.2 total innings, while averaging over 6 innings per start. Command and control are his calling cards, walking a total of 31 batters in 189.1 total innings in his college career. His fastball sits around 93 mph but hits 96 mph consistently, and is thrown with good sinking movement. McGreevy has a solid slider which is a touch ahead of his developing curveball, and adds an average changeup to the mix. In many ways, McGreevy sounds like a safe pick with his great control and good frame. A mid-rotation starter is the ceiling and a back of the rotation starter sounds like the floor.

Bubba Chandler, RHP/SS – Originally committed to Georgia for baseball, Chandler ended up going to Clemson last May when the Tigers offered him a football scholarship as a quarterback. His future looks brighter in baseball though, as he’s a potential first-round pick as a pitcher and shortstop! Operating at 92-95 and touching 97 this spring. He possesses a quick arm and has added power to his curveball, which resides in the upper 70s. He shows trust in his low-80s changeup which is developing. His less-used slider gets up to 85 mph and could become a weapon. Chandler’s athleticism and clean arm action and delivery bode well for his control and command, though he’s still learning to harness his stuff. Chandler is also an intriguing prospect as a switch-hitting shortstop with solid power potential and speed. Some scouts believe he shows more promise at shortstop. He’s believed to prefer baseball, though it remains to be seen how Clemson football will affect his signability. An interesting prospect but I don’t think the Yankees gamble here but never know with how athletic he is.

Joe Mack, C – Mack has the chance to be an impact player on both sides of the ball. The left-handed hitter could become an above-average hitter, showing off an advanced approach. He has shown a impressive ability to pick up base hits with two strikes. Mack has more alley-to-alley gap power right now. He has the strength and bat speed that point to at least average power in the future. Mack has also showed off plus pop times to second base, consistently under 1.9 seconds. He’ll need to keep working on his overall defensive game, but given his baseball awareness, there’s little question he’ll be at least a solid average receiver. This gives teams a complete package to consider signing away from his commitment to Clemson. He also runs very well for a catcher. Teams could also use extra catching depth but the Yankees seem to have plenty of it right now.

Matt Mclain, SS – Mclain has very good bat-to-ball skills with surprising power. He has the ability to cover the entire plate, driving the ball to all fields with authority using a quiet, compact approach at the plate with a narrow stance. A plus runner with good overall athleticism. Mclain worked hard on his defense in college and owns a strong arm with good hands and footwork helping scouts think he has a good chance to stick at shortstop. The Yankees have a ton of middle infield prospects so he would be a nice add but not necessary.

Jud Fabian, OF – Fabian just has tools across the board. He owns a short swing and good angle with loft and good balance at the plate. He has shown good power with more untapped potential. Swing and miss in part of his game as he has struggled at times with adjusting to breaking balls. This helped his K rate rocket to about 30% for most of the 2021 season. His above average speed helps steal a base or get the extra bag. It should also help him stay in centerfield long term. I’d love for him to fall to the Yankees in round 2 (pick 55) and them to roll the dice on Fabian. If he can figure out how to hit the breaking ball or lay off them he could be a very solid player in the near future.

Will Taylor, OF – Poor Clemson. They could lose two quarterback recruits. Like Chandler, Taylor was recruited by Clemson for both baseball and football (as a QB in football). There are currently no reports that say he won’t sign with an MLB team that drafts him. Taylor has a loose right-handed swing and makes consistent contact. He possesses a great natural feel for the barrel and can recognize breaking balls with ease. The biggest question is how much impact power-wise will he have at the plate. While he does have some wiry strength, he should develop into at least a 15-homer threat with more pop possible if he adds some loft to his stroke. Taylor’s athleticism, plus speed, and feel to hit and fits the mold of “bat over power”. His best tool is his speed that helps produce plus to top-of-the-scale run times. He plays with an aggressive mindset, wreaking havoc on the bases. His speed also helps him cover lots of ground in centerfield. The hope here is that once Taylor commits to baseball full-time he can grow even more and further develop his approach at the plate. He combines upside with good instincts and a decent floor. The Yankees can afford this gamble with the depth at outfield in the system already. I just question if the Yankees or any team can convince him to play and drop football.

These last three picks are picks based on pure lack of depth at third base in the Yankees farm system. I do believe any of these players would help the system.

Colson Montgomery, 3B – Though he played shortstop in high school given his size 6-foot-4, projectable frame and fringe speed, it’s easy to see why he would be moving to third. Montgomery has an athletic frame with a strong, sturdy lower half and immense physical projection. Montgomery’s good left-handed swing should allow him to hit for average and power. He’s most effective when he uses the entire field. He has shown a knack for spraying line drives up the middle rather than trying to pull pitches out of the park. Montgomery never gets cheated when he swings with his above average bat speed. Though he can get a little pull-happy at times, but that’s where most of his power currently is. Montgomery already has the natural leverage and easy loft necessary to hit for power. He moves well for his size and should become at least an average defender with a solid arm at the hot corner. Colson is currently an average runner. I think the Yankees think long and hard about Montgomery at 20 but select elsewhere.

Izaac Pacheco, 3B – Pacheco’s carrying tool is the outstanding power. He may offer more left-handed juice than anyone in the 2021 Draft. Creating plus-plus raw pop with strength, bat speed, leverage and loft. Pacheco is really sturdily built with a lot of strength in his lower half. His great bat speed and attack angle really excel on pitches at the letters. He’s got a naturally steep bat angle to his swing and can handle the pitches high-and-tight, as well as drive pitches low and away into the opposite-field gap. Pacheco looks every bit the profile of a guy who should hit 30+ homers per year at his peak. I’m genuinely mesmerized by the bat speed and ease of violence in his swing. If the hit tool can keep up, watch out. Sounds like a Yankees kind of prospect to me!

Wes Kath, 3B – Kath is a bit of a sleeper at 6-foot-3, 200-pound he is a left-handed hitter who hits for average and power. He played shortstop in high school but like Montgomery, he has outgrown that spot.  He showed the ability to impact the baseball with good contact over being a power hitter. Kath possesses quick hands and some natural loft in his swing. With his size and strength, he should develop more power at the plate as he matures. He will have to continue to be aggressive at the plate sometimes he is more of a defensive hitter. In the 2nd round Kath makes a great pick for the Yankees and someone you can dream on.

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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