New York Yankees Will Select 18th Overall in 2016 MLB Draft
When Ian Desmond decided to sign with the Texas Rangers, the 2015-16 free agent season officially came to a close in terms of draft implications. Once Desmond put pen to paper, the Rangers gave up the 19th overall pick, which officially gives the New York Yankees the 18th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur draft.
Last season the Yankees were fortunate enough to secure the 16th overall pick, and with it they selected RHP James Kaprielian out of the University of California.
Related Story: Will Kaprielian Pitch for the Yankees in 2016?
Despite picking in the top 20 last summer, 2016 will mark just the third time in the past 23 years in which the Yankees own a top 20 draft pick. (James Kaprielian – 2016, C.J. Henry – 2005, Eric Milton, 1996)
As you can tell by two of the three aforementioned names, the MLB draft is usually hit or miss, but historically speaking, the first round does offer major league clubs the best shot at selecting an eventual big leaguer.
As Matt Provenzano of SB Nation pointed out, the first five to ten picks of recent drafts have turned out to be studs while recent mid-round picks yield mixed results. When taking a look at just the 18th overall pick in recent drafts, some of the players selected include Corey Seager (2012), Sonny Gray (2011), Ike Davis (2008) and current Yankees utility-man Pete Kozma (2007). As you can see, mid-round picks are a toss-up, but as of late they’ve produced either elite prospects like Sonny Gray or average major leaguers like Davis and Kozma.
The good news for the Yankees is that the 2016 draft class is supposed to offer the best pool of prospects in quite some time, so it’s important they don’t miss with their pick.
According to MLB.com’s Top 50 Draft Prospect of 2016, high school senior William Benson out of The Westminster School in Georgia is projected to get drafted 18th overall. The 6’6″ outfielder offers 60-grade power and a 50-grade profile, and most scouts compare him to MLB standout Jason Heyward. The problem with drafting high school students is that they may elect to go to college instead of signing an entry-level contract with the team that drafts them, and in this case, Benson is verbally committed to Duke University.
Other prospects projected to get drafted in the middle of the first round include third baseman Drew Mendoza out of Lakeland High School in Florida, RHP Cal Quantrill (son of former Yankees reliever Paul Quantrill) out of Stanford University, southpaw Matt Krook out of Oregon and of course RHP Kyle Funkhouser out of Louisville, who was the highest player selected in the 2015 draft (35th overall) to return to school after turning down a reported $1.7 million signing bonus from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Obviously a lot can change between now and June, especially with the current NCAA and high school baseball seasons just starting to get under way, but I’m already anxiously awaiting the 2016 Draft, especially with the Yankees possessing their second top-20 pick in as many years.
Get psyched Yankee fans!