The New York Yankees have had a rather interesting approach to the 2016 MLB June Amateur Draft.
They started things off on Thursday night by using their top two draft picks to select a pair of position players, 19-year old outfielder Blake Rutherford (18th overall) out of Chaminade College Prep in West Hills, California and 21-year old second baseman Nick Solak (62nd Overall) out of the University of Louisville.
While Blake Rutherford is a potential top-five talent, the biggest concern that comes with drafting him or any other high-school player for that matter is losing them to college ball should they elect to head to school instead signing an entry-level deal. That said, Rutherford is currently verbally committed to UCLA, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he choses to play a few season with the Bruins in Southern California before re-entering the draft later on in his career at 22-years old.
Also, because Rutherford’s bat draws comparisons to guys like Mickey Moniak (1st overall, Phillies), Corey Ray (5th overall, Brewers) and Kyle Lewis (11th overall, Mariners), Rutherford and his potential agent could command an above-slot signing bonus similar to the aforementioned players drafted before him.
Keith Law on Blake Rutherford:
When all is said and done, if the Yankees can somehow manage to sign Rutherford, it would an absolute steal, but it might also mean the Yankees are ready to give up on Aaron Judge and make Rutherford their next long-term project in right-field.
Nick Solak capped off an exciting night for the Louisville Cardinals, becoming the fourth member of their team selected over the course of the first two rounds.
However, I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t think Solak was an absolute reach.
Sure he finished his final season at Louisville with superb numbers (.380/.474/.576, 14 doubles, five home runs) and posted an impressive summer up in the Cape (.329/.438/.393), but I think the Yankees passed on a number of intriguing prospects when they would have had a shot at drafting Solak much later in the draft.
That said, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Yankees selected Solak to save some draft pool space so they can offer more money to Rutherford.
In round three and four, the Yankees used their 98th and 128th overall picks to select a pair of right-handed pitchers; 17-year old Nolan Martinez out of Culver City High School (verbally committed to San Diego State) and 20-year old Nick Nelson out of Gulf Coast Community College, who was previously drafted by the San Francisco Giants.
The Yankees used rounds five through ten to add another outfielder in Dom Thompson-Williams (South Carolina), a catcher in Keith Skinner (North Florida), a pair of first-baseman in Dalton Blaser (Cal State, Fullerton) and Tim Lynch (Southern Mississippi) and southpaw pitcher Trevor Lane (UIC), but perhaps their most major-league ready draftee is 22-year old relief pitcher Brooks Kriske, who was selected 188th overall out of the University of Southern California.
Kriske, coming off his senior season with the Trojans is a hard-throwing right-hander with a fastball that sits in 95-96 mph range and an impressive 10.7 K/9 ratio out of the USC ‘pen.
Complete List of the Yankees 2016 Draft Picks Round 1-10:
1 (18) — Blake Rutherford, OF, Chaminade College Prep (West Hills, Calif.)
2 (62) — Nick Solak, 2B, Louisville
3 (98) — Nolan Martinez, RHP, Culver City HS (Calif.)
4 (128) — Nick Nelson, RHP, Gulf Coast CC
5 (158) — Dom Thompson-Williams, CF, South Carolina
6 (188) — Brooks Kriske, RHP, USC
7 (218) — Keith Skinner, C, North Florida
8 (248) — Dalton Blaser, 1B, Cal State Fullerton
9 (278) — Tim Lynch, 1B, Southern Mississippi
10 (308) — Trevor Lane, LHP, UIC
Rounds 11-50 of the MLB Draft will resume later on today.