A review of the Yankees 2015 draft


In the past I have covered the draft as thoroughly as possible, but unfortunately I don’t have the time for that these days. So I’ve called in the help of a friend. The following article is a contribution from PinstripedProspects.com‘s draft guru Jacob Hopkins that gives a quick overview of every player the Yankees drafted during the 2015 Amateur Draft.

The first year player draft has come and gone. The Yankees had the sixth largest draft pool of any teams in the draft. They had $7,885,000 in draft pool money to spend on their picks. With that being the case most people would have thought the Yankees would have been aggressive in the draft process.

That wasn’t the case at all as they were very conservative with their draft. 85% of their picks were via college which is a very conservative approach. Most teams tend to be 50% to 60% college picks with the other being high school picks.

As was the case in previous draft classes the Yankees went with some guys who they liked better than what the industry had. When those picks hit they look like genius. When they don’t Yankees fans complain just as they still do about Cito Culver.

1st round pick James Kaprielian RHP
Why he was taken: Kaprielian isn’t a sexy pick but he has a high floor of a number four starter at the MLB level. His ceiling is that of a number two starter if his velocity uptick at the end of the year keeps. With plus secondary offerings in a very good change up and curveball he is a fast mover that has a potential to make the majors in 2017.

1st round supplemental pick Kyle Holder SS
Why he was taken: Kyle Holder can do one thing that teams are valuing very highly right now and that is play defense. This is especially true at the SS position. There are concerns about his bat and his ability to hit. If he can be close to an average hitter he would be a steal at this pick as scouts love his defense that much.

2nd round pick Jeff Degano LHP
Why he was taken: Degano has the makings of a very good starter. While he has had Tommy John surgery his stuff has come back well. From the left side he will show two above average pitches. At worst he could be a great reliever. The Yankees will do everything possible to develop him as a starter.

3rd round pick Drew Finley RHP
Why he was taken: Upside and make up. Finley was drafted because he has some good upside as if his velocity can become more consistent he looks to be a very good starting pitcher. Also his makeup is off the charts since his dad is an executive in the Dodger’s front office. Finley had the best rotation on his curveball as any drafted player in the high school ranks.

4th round pick Jeff Hendrix CF
Why he was taken: Hendrix was a lower slot pick the Yankees. While he plays for a major college program he isn’t that much of a prospect. He has some speed and from all accounts he plays a very good centerfield. This is a pick similar to Michael O’Neil.

5th round pick Chance Adams RHP
Why he was taken: Adams isn’t a big kid and that is why he lasted this long. He was actually the third reliever drafted from his college team’s bullpen. While he was the last one drafted he has the best present stuff and performs. This is the fast moving reliever that the Yankees always draft.

6th round pick Brandon Wagner 2b(maybe)
Why he was taken: Power. There is a chance Wagner moves to a different position. The question is what that position is. What isn’t questioned is the thunder that’s in his bat. He has power and the Yankees drafted him for that.

7th round pick Jhalan Jackson CF
Why he was taken: As a senior he has no leverage so the Yankees will probably sign him for amount between $10,000 and $20,000. He does have some power but this is more of an organizational filler signing.

8th round pick Donny Sands 3b
Why he was taken: He was a workout warrior when it mattered most. The Yankees brought Sands in and from all reports destroyed that workout. The Yankees seem to be extremely impressed with his makeup and his mental approach to the game, which is why he was taken in the top ten rounds.

9th round pick Ryan Krill 1b
Why he was taken: Power is Krill’s calling card. He destroyed baseball this year and as a senior he doesn’t have much leverage. He will have to prove he wasn’t just a senior sign but right now he is a pick that will save the Yankees some money.

10th round pick James Reeves LHP
Why he was taken: as a senior he doesn’t have much leverage so the Yankees will save some money. He also is left handed so he has that going for him. With a funky delivery don’t expect him to get challenged till AA.

11th round pick Josh Rogers LHP
Why he was taken: He is left handed, already had Tommy John surgery and has some decent offspeed pitches. There is potential to develop into a back of the rotation starter. He also has a little more leverage as a draft eligible sophomore.

12th round pick Terrance Robertson CF
Why he was taken: He has top of the scale speed and plays a very good centerfield. The Yankees are hoping with professional coaching he can develop his bat.

13th round pick Trey Amburgey CF
Why he was taken: Playing centerfield with some tools that looks like they are on the uptick. A boom or bust prospect at this point until he develops more baseball skills.

14th round pick Will Carter RHP
Why he was taken: A reliever that can miss some bats because he has a good fastball. Problem is he doesn’t have great command and breaking ball is only ok which is fine for a 14th round pick.

15th round pick Bret Marks RHP
Why he was taken: He is a relief pitcher that can help out a minor league squad.

16th round pick Kolton Mahoney RHP
Why he was taken: Upside, Mahoney is a Mormon and took a few years off to go on a Mormon trip. So he is an older prospect. But he has good stuff and an idea of what he’s doing. If he was two years younger he would have probably gone in the top 10 rounds.

17th round pick Brody Koemer RHP
Why was he taken: Koemer has a super heavy sinker that just eats up bats and generates a lot of ground balls.

18th round pick Zach Zehner OF
Why he was taken: Swing adjustments might have this senior as an actual prospect. Only time will tell.

19th round pick Makr Seyler RHP
Why he was taken: Bullpen arm that will be an organizational player that you will see in the system for a few years.

20th round pick Isiah Gilliam 1b
Why he was taken: He has huge power and hit a ball out of Petco during a showcase game in high school Also even thou he was a junior college pick he also is only 18 as he graduated early.

21st round pick Josh Roeder RHP
Why he was taken: A reliever who has a perfect career saves record at powerhouse Nebraska. He has a decent fastball and looks like a bulldog on the mound.

22nd pick Cody Carroll RHP
Why he was taken: Big time velocity but has no clue what he’s doing with it. He has an average changeup but no secondary pitches as his slider is only ok on the best of days.

23rd pick Garrett Mundell RHP
Why he was taken: He is a relief prospect that will help a minor league team.

24th round pick Patrick O’Brien RHP
Why he was taken: A converted catcher that has a good fastball. Most converted catchers have a funky delivery that with plus stuff makes it play very much up. This is an interesting selection and one that could turn into an actual prospect.

25th round pick Austin Afenir C
Why he was taken: He’s a catcher, period.

26th round pick. Icezack Flemming RHP
Why he was taken: Great name and can help a minor leagues roster as a reliever.

27th round pick Michael Hicks 1B
Why he was taken: The Yankees have had great luck with Aaron Judge so why not take another 6’7” prospect. Big time power but huge frame could be problematic.

28th round pick David Sosebee RHP
Why he was taken: Guts and team leadership. Is a guy organizations value and will play longer than most of these kids because of those traits.

29th round pick Kane Sweeney 1b
Why he was taken: A big time college performer who isn’t much of a prospect. He will help fill a leadership and minor league roster spot.

30th round pick Chad Martin RHP
Why he was taken: Another senior sign that will help fill a roster spot on a minor league team.

31st round pick Hobie Harris RHP
Why he was taken: Just as above a senior sign that will help a minor league affiliate.

32nd round pick Alex Robinett RHP
Why he was taken: Groundhog day all over again as he is just like the two guys taken before him.

33rd round pick Christian Morris RHP
Why he was taken. Reliever that can help a minor league team, is there an echo here?

34th round pick Andrew Miller LHP
Why he was taken: This is an upside pick as if the Yankees have some extra pool money they will go after Miller. He has a funky delivery and while he has the same name as the Yankees closer he is smaller than that Miller. If the Yankees can sign him this would be a great late round signing.

35th round pick Alex Bisacca RHP
Why he was taken: A reliever that will help a minor league affiliate.

36th round pick Dustin Cook RHP
Why he was taken: A reliever that will help a minor league affiliate. Yes there is definitely an echo.

37th round pick Matt Schmidt 3b
Why he was taken: Just like Miller if the Yankees have some extra money they might make a run at Schmidt. But it will be hard to get him away from Texas. He probably would be better going to college and coming out in three year being a top five pick

38th round pick Mike Garzillo 2b
Why he was taken: He hit a bunch of homeruns after tweaking his swing. More than likely unless the Yankees offer him a good amount he goes back to college to show this year and the power increase wasn’t a fluke.

39th round pick Deacon Liput SS
Why he was drafted: Playing a good short stop he has the ability to stay at the position. While there are some questions about the bat not many people question the athleticism. There is a good chance the Yankees sign him with extra money as they love their athletic shortstops.

40th round pick Will Albertson C
Why he was drafted: He can catch and will probably be in the organization for many years because of this skill.

Overall: It was just an ok draft class as the Yankees really didn’t go after a ton of upside. Finley has the most polish and upside of the high school players. Holder is the big wild card. If the Yankees nail that pick this draft class goes from being ok to great very quickly. I can see Kaprielian being a starter for a long time and making a lot of money. We will really know in about four to five years how the Yankees did with this class.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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9 Responses to A review of the Yankees 2015 draft

  1. scooter10 says:

    I'm most hopeful about Kap and Finley.

    Guessing it will take $1m signing bonus for Finley (3rd round, pick 92) to give up his commitment to USC. That's the exact amount we paid DeCarr (3rd round, pick 91) last year. Also think we could end up with a wild card with Wagner's power potential.

  2. wally says:

    Thanks for this draft recap.
    I would like to make a point about James K., the first pick.
    IMO he is getting extremely bad advice from Scott Boras. Obviously, they're trying to squeeze every last dime out of Yanks but its a very foolish tack to take.
    Here's why: Even if they manage to suck up an extra $300,000 this number positively pales next to the offsetting loss of development time. By signing so late, Kapirelian is probably delaying his big league debut by a year. This means that each of his arbitration years, he will be earning less than he might if he signed quickly. Instead of reaching arb, say in 2020, he reaches it in 2021. The losses amount to millions– perhaps many millions — if he's any good.
    Of course, Boras continues to sign up these foolish kids, who don't understand that he operates in his self-interest, not theirs. Boras figures he looks good if he maxes out signing bonus. But it will cost Kaprielian big time down the road.

    • The deadline to sign has changed. I'm not exactly positive on when it is, but it's sometime within the next week or two. That means that even if he goes down to the final minute, he would have only delayed the start of his career by about a month and not a year. In the long-term scheme of things a month won't make a big difference either way.

      • wally says:

        By the time he gets back in shape, minor league season will be virtually over. Essentially, he loses the year, even granted that it is a short one.

  3. wally says:

    So now the Yanks have spent the few extra hundred grand Boras and James K. hoped to squeeze out of the team. Now he either goes back to school and has zero leverage — and tons of injury risk – as a senior next year, likely to be offered far less than what he gets this year.. Or he signs for what he was going to get without Leech Boras — and misses most of what would have been a development year. Probably sets his earnings back for several years once he makes it. Just seems to me like this one of those instances (and there aren't enough IMO) where greed clearly backfires. Would be nice to think this kid learns from his mistake — but we'll see.

    • I think you are overstating the importance of short-season baseball. Not that it's irrelevant, but I would have to see some real instances where you can point to a player not playing SS ball and then having it hurt him on the back end.

      Also, have you read anything to make it sound like Kap won't sign? Any rumors? I'm honestly asking because I haven't and your concern is suddenly making me nervous. I know he has Boras as an agent, but usually there is a bit of indication that a player might not sign if he isn't going to. Like with Cole, there were a lot of rumors that he wouldn't sign right off the bat.

  4. tom says:

    Wow… Either Yankees sign J.K. for at least slot money or fail to sign him at all, Yankees will lose their original 1st round pick next year. No pick if signed. 17th overall compensation if not signed for 2016's draft.

    J.K. needs to agree to sign the deal for less than 2.53m (out of 2.54m slot) in order to avoid losing the 2016's original 1st round pick for Yankees. Since he is a junior and his agent is freaking Scott Boras, Yankees needs a serious miracle there.

    • They have a little bit of room, not much, to go over slot. I have heard nothing to believe there is serious reason to think he won't sign. Everybody seems scared of Boras though.

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