Yankees make three selections on Day 1 of MLB First-Year Player Draft

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred - (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred - (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The MLB First-Year Player Draft marks the first step in making a kid’s dream become a reality: the chance to play in the Major Leagues. The Yankees made that happen on Day 1 for SS Anthony Volpe, LHP TJ Sikkema, and INF Josh Smith. Learn more about the newest members of the New York Yankees organization.

Selection No. 1: SS Anthony Volpe – Delbarton School, Morristown, NJ

With the 30th overall selection of the MLB First-Year Player Draft, the Yankees selected high school shortstop Anthony Volpe out of Delbarton School in Morristown, NJ. It’s great to see the organization pick a local kid from the Tri-State area.

Heading into tonight, MLB.com ranked Volpe as the 63rd overall prospect in the draft, while Baseball America penciled in the shortstop at 52nd. Volpe is listed at 5’11”, 180 lbs. and is currently committed to Vanderbilt University.

With statistics provided by NJ.com, the 18-year old hit .500 with 39 hits, seven home runs, and drove in 33 runs in 78 at-bats in 2019. Additionally, Volpe walked 11 times and accounted for 36 runs. On May 31st, Volpe and Delbarton School won the North Jersey, Non-Public A championship by a 2-0 margin over Don Bosco Prep.

According to MLB.com, the right-handed Volpe is currently ranked as a 50 overall on the 20-to-80 scouting scale, with running (55) and fielding (55) as his most polished tools at the moment.

The last time the Yankees selected 30th overall was in 2012 when the organization picked Ty Hensley, a high school pitcher from Oklahoma. Hensley dealt with multiple injuries and is no longer in the organization.

Other notable 30th overall picks include Adam Ottavino (St. Louis, 2006), David Wells (Toronto, 1982), and Mike Schmidt (Philadelphia, 1971). Whether Volpe honors his commitment to Vanderbilt or agrees to join the Yankees is unknown at the moment.

Selection No. 2: LHP TJ Sikkema – University of Missouri

At 38th overall, New York used their Competitive Balance Round A selection on University of Missouri left-hander T.J. Sikkema. The 6’0″, 217 lbs. junior is from DeWitt, Iowa and had never been previously draft.

The Yankees acquired the 38th selection in the offseason deal that sent Sonny Gray to the Cincinnati Reds. The 20-year old was ranked by MLB.com as the 57th overall prospect in this years draft, meanwhile, Baseball American ranked Sikkema at 81.

In 17 appearances (13 starts) throughout the 2019 season, Sikkema went 7-4 with a 1.32 ERA and struck out 101 batters across 88.2 innings. Additionally, opponents owned a .175 batting average against the lefty. The left-hander owns three-plus pitches (fastball, slider, changeup) and evaluators believe that Sikkema can stick as a back-end starter. However, he could also be envisioned as a reliever, with great deception throughout his windup.

According to the University of Missouri, Sikkema was named a Golden Spikes semifinalist, Second-Team All-SEC, and Third-Team All-American in 2019.

Selection No. 3: INF Josh Smith – Louisiana State University

With their third and final pick of the day, the Yankees chose infielder Josh Smith out of LSU with the 67th overall selection in the 2nd Round. A native of Greenwell Springs, LA, Smith was previously selected in the 38th round by the Detroit Tigers in 2016. Additionally, Smith bats left-handed and he throws right-handed.

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MLB.com ranked Smith as the 76th overall prospect in the draft while Baseball America narrowed in on the infielder at 68. The 21-year old has experience playing both third base and shortstop throughout his collegiate career. It should be noted that the 5’10”, 172 lbs. Smith missed most of the 2018 season due to a  stress reaction in his vertebrae.

In 63 games this season with LSU, Smith slashed .346/.436/.533 with 85 hits, 15 doubles, nine homers, and 41 ribbies in 246 at-bats. Additionally, Smith was successful on 20-0f-24 stolen base attempts.

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Scouts believe that the Smith has the ability to stick at short, but could also see reps at second base at the next level. On MLB.com’s 20-80 scale, Smith is currently a 45.