2021 MLB Draft Recap: New York Yankees

It’s obvious that the Yankees really struggled way below expectations in the first half. When the pitching was on, they lacked clutch hitting, and vice versa. In the MLB Draft, they focused on several positions that will help them add depth. Their farm system has been really strong this year and has gotten even stronger with the selections they made.

Draft Selections 

Round 1, Pick 20: Trey Sweeney, SS, Eastern Illinois

Sweeney’s stock rose later in the year and could very well have gone earlier if he played in a power five conference. As a left-handed batter with an impressive hit tool, he is made for Yankee Stadium and could move through the farm system rather quickly. 

Round 2, Pick 55: Brenden Beck, RHP, Stanford

Beck was an outstanding four-year starter at Stanford, and he struck 143 and walked just 26 in 108 2/3 innings as a senior. He has a four pitch arsenal, including a fastball that tops out at 96-97 mph. The right-hander insisted on wearing Stanford’s black jerseys in 106 degree heat because “it was going to be Texas Tech’s funeral” in the Super Regional. Yankees’ Vice President and Director of Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer believes Beck will be a fast riser and that he “probably just needs build up innings”. 

Round 3, Pick 92: Brock Selvidge, LHP, Hamilton High School

After going the college route with their first two picks, the Yankees decided to shift to grabbing a prep arm in the third round. Selvidge has a fastball that sits around 90-92 mph and can top out at 96 mph. He went to the same high school for Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfielder Cody Bellinger. The left-hander mainly uses a slider and curveball as his secondady pitches, while he also has a changeup. Selvidge has a commitment to LSU, but the Yankees should have enough pool money to sign him, as they did with Beck Way last year as a fourth round pick.

Round 4, Pick 122: Cooper Bowman, 2B, Louisville

The Yankees went back to the infield to select another college bat in Bowman. He only played one season at Louisville after playing two seasons at Iowa Western Community College. During his two years at community college, he was 44-for-50 in stolen base opportunities. He stole 20 bases at Louisville while also mashing eight homers. Bowman has a smooth swing and calm approach at the plate. He adds another middle infielder to the stash the Yankees have in the system.

Round 5, Pick 153: Tyler Hardman, 1B, Oklahoma

Filling a position of need throughout the system, the Yankees selected a 22-year-old slugger that led the Oklahoma Sooners in nearly every statistical category. Hardman led the Big 12 Conference in batting with a .397 batting average along with hitting 12 homers, 19 doubles and 49 RBI.

Round 6, Pick 183: Richard Fitts, RHP, Auburn

Round 7, Pick 213: Robert Ahlstrom, LHP, Oregon

Round 8, Pick 243: Will Warren, RHP, Louisiana University

Round 9, Pick 273: Chandler Champlain, RHP, USC

Round 10, Pick 303: Benjamin Cowles, SS, Maryland

Round 11, Pick 33: Jack Neely, RHP, Ohio State

Round 12, Pick 363: Ben Rice, C, Dartmouth

Round 13, Pick 393: Zach Messinger, RHP, Virginia

Round 14, Pick 423: Sean Hermann, RHP, Durant High School

Round 15, Pick 453: Danny Watson, RHP, VCU

Round 16, Pick 483: Cole Ayers, RHP, State College of Florida Manatee

Round 17, Pick 513: Grant Richardson, OF, Indiana

Round 18, Pick 543: Bailey Dees, RHP, Penn State

Round 19, Pick 573: Dominic Keegan, 1B, Vanderbilt

Round 20, Pick 603: Sean Hard, RHP, St. Joseph Regional School

Best Pick 

Round 2, Pick 55: Brenden Beck, RHP, Stanford

Since Beck should move quickly through the system and could be up in the Bronx by late 2022 or ealry 2023 – if not sooner – that adds more value to the pick. He doesn’t have one pitch in his four pitches that stands out from the others, but he commands all of them very well; there is room for growth with all four pitches. With the Yankees always shooting for the World Series, they need almost immediate gamechangers, and Beck could be one of them. 

Worst Pick 

Round 6, Pick 183: Richard Fitts, RHP, Auburn

It’s really hard to say any picks in an MLB Draft are bad when we likely won’t see any of these guys for a good three to five years at the least. But in terms of risk, Fitts has some of the highest especially considering he was drafted earlier in the draft – in the sixth round. The right-hander was a preseason second-team All-American and was viewed as potential first round pick.

But then a March foot injury cost him significant time and he had mixed results in the limited time he saw. It’s hard to tell how he will bounce back from the injury, but the good news is that it wasn’t an arm injury. If he reaches his floor, he can be a solid backend bullpen arm to add to the talented arms already in the Yankees system. A sixth-round pick would be of very high value if he can show out. 

Draft Grade: B-

All in all, the Yankees had a fairly solid draft while adding depth to a number of positions. They focused heavily on adding more arms in the middle rounds. As they say, you can never have too much pitching. A number of the guys they picked could be swift movers in the system and have an impact on the big league club sooner rather than later. That could mean on the team or being involved in trades down the line. 

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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