The 2014 MLB draft was just over a month ago, and already certain players are showing themselves to be great picks. The Yankees selected Mark Payton from the University of Texas with the 212th overall pick in the 7th round. As you may remember, the Yankees picked all pitchers to start the draft, and Payton was the first position player taken. While he showed a lot of promise, he is a 5’8″ lefty. So, he cannot play at first, because he is too short and he cannot play anywhere else in the infield because he is a lefty. To the outfield goes Payton.
Aside from his height, his largest issues are that he lacks power and is not especially fast. He plays like Brett Gardner without the speed. Pre-draft, multiple scouts agreed that he could be a team’s 4th outfielder. Aside from his power, his tools are all relatively average. Nothing is out of this world fantastic, but nothing is especially lacking either.
After the draft, the 22-year-old was sent to the Charleston RiverDogs, the class-A affiliate of the Yankees. Through his first 11 games he has been on a tear, hitting .362 with a .452 OBP. Through 42 plate appearances, he has scored 5 runs, hit two doubles, a triple, hit 4 RBI, and walked 6 times. Being a smaller player, his walks will be a huge advantage for him if he can continue to harness his eyes at the plate. He ended his college career by getting on base at least once in his final 101 games played. If that doesn’t scream disciplined hitter, I don’t know what does. At the time of the draft, he was the active leader in on base percentage in the Big 12 Conference.
Payton is a player that can force himself into playing time, even if his frame does not scream baseball player. Between his ability to walk, and his solid all-around game, Payton could become a player we will hear a lot more about as he is developed through the Yankee system.