3 recent first-round draft picks Yankees definitely wish they could do over
By Adam Weinrib
The Yankees have a few first-round misses in recent years that could’ve REALLY helped the roster if they’d gone a different way.
Two things can be true at the same time: The Yankees have built an annual American League contender despite never selecting very high in the first round, and they could feature a much stronger roster if they’d drafted better over the past five years or so.
International signings? The Yankees clean up! They have a prestige brand, a large budget, and a lot of top talent wants to join the organization year in and year out. That’s why The Martian, Jasson Dominguez, exists wearing the interlocking NY on his head.
But draft-wise? For all the player development kudos the Yanks usually get, they’ve been surprisingly lackluster in this department, often bucking consensus to no avail. More often than not in the past five years, the team has unfortunately bet on the wrong horse.
We hate to redraw these boundaries and make you depressed, but hey, that’s what we’re here for. A few of the Yankees’ holes could’ve already been filled if they’d made the correct draft calls.
3. Anthony Seigler Over Many Options in 2018
The Yankees took iffy catcher Anthony Seigler 23rd overall, while many of their rivals grabbed MLB-ready pitchers.
It’s time for the Yankees to stop treating the first round like a luxury item and more like a team-building necessity.
We’re not sure what possessed the Yanks to select fringe catcher Anthony Seigler 23rd overall in 2018. Were they drafting for need? Not really; at the time, Gary Sanchez wasn’t a hole that needed to be filled, and there was no reason to project he’d be gone by, say, 2023 when Seigler would supposedly be ready. Were they drafting because they valued his skills so highly?
Um, we guess?
Because thus far, they haven’t translated in even an extremely limited sample of minor league appearances. Seigler hit .175 without a homer in 120 plate appearances in Charleston in 2019 before watching his 2020 season get washed out for reasons beyond his control. Unfortunately, he’s barely even on the map right now.
Where could the Yankees have gone if they’d looked elsewhere? Cubs infielder and 2019 sensation Nico Hoerner went 24th, the very next pick. He might’ve been a nice depth fit. Triston Casas, the Red Sox slugger and one of their few elite prospects, went 26th.
Want pitching? Shane McClanahan, who you may remember from the ALDS, went 31st overall. Jackson Kowar, Daniel Lynch and Kris Bubic all went to the Royals in the next 10 picks (yeesh, what a coup). The story of the 2018 class is still unwritten, but the Yanks are certainly not in a strong position here.
Hey, could be worse, though. They could’ve taken Kyler Murray ninth overall!