Love him or hate him, you must admit that the Yankees did take a step forward in adding left-handed offensive talent to their farm by selecting shortstop (maybe) Trey Sweeney in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft.
But where was the pitching, collegiate or otherwise? No interest in Texas ace Ty Madden? Local high-school lefty Anthony Solometo?
It’s easy to get angry at the nebulous “analytics department,” but considering the Sweeney pick was made mainly off his pre-draft StatCast measurables, this pick will certainly live and die based on Sabermetrics.
It also can’t throw a ball off the mound successfully to the catcher, something the Yankees can always use.
Luckily, on Day 2, the Yankees attempted right off the bat to address two of their most glaring needs: experienced pitching that could move quickly, and someone who has any idea how to back up their trash talk for more than 24 hours.
Fresh off blowing a five-run lead in the ninth inning against the Houston Astros after adopting the jersey tug, the Yanks could draw some inspiration from second-round pick Brendan Beck, who insisted on wearing all-black jerseys to Texas Tech’s funeral this season before summarily executing Texas Tech.
Yankees Second-Round Pick in 2021 MLB Draft: Brendan Beck, RHP, Stanford
Even if Beck never pans out, we appreciate the effort.
According to MLB.com’s wild stab, there could be a Shane Bieber comp here for the late bloomer who touches 94, but it feels like every west-coast ace with good control is getting that comp these days, so who knows? We like Beck’s attitude, we like his stuff, and we love that the Yanks took a steady hand here.
Yankees Third-Round Pick in 2021 MLB Draft: Brock Selvidge, LHP, Hamilton HS (Arizona)
From the same source as Cody Bellinger, the Yankees went with a prep arm in Round 3, which is probably the safest place to “go for it” with a high school hurler. An LSU commit, the Yanks will now attempt to woo Brock Selvidge off campus.
Work-in-progress curve with a nasty slider profiles as a reliever to us at this point, but who knows? Lay down the bonus cash and find out instead of losing Selvidge to the Bayou.
Yankees Fourth-Round Pick in 2021 MLB Draft: Cooper Bowman, 2B, Louisville
Not the first Louisville second baseman the Yankees have selected in recent years! They love the program. You might remember Nick Solak, and going back a little bit, you also might remember 11th-round pitcher Josh Rogers from 2015, part of the Zack Britton trade.
Cooper Bowman, chosen with the Yankees’ fourth-round pick, might be a player without a position moving forward, but he can certainly hit. Unfortunately, he trended downward in that aspect of his game this year, too — he started the season blazing at .395 in his first 14 games, then slid to .263 in his next 34.
Yankees Fifth-Round Pick in 2021 MLB Draft: Tyler Hardman, 1B, Oklahoma
How can you get mad at the Yankees drafting a literal “Hardo” in the fifth round? We certainly cannot. We could use any extra punch we can get.
First baseman Tyler Hardman out of Oklahoma unfortunately is a potent righty instead of a lefty bat, but he powered through the Big 12 last season, destroying the baseball to the tune of a .397 average and 89 hits; both marks led the conference. Hardman also fell inside the top 10 in homers, doubles and RBI.
Oh, and he also hit for the cycle, capping his effort with a triple:
Yankees Sixth-Round Pick in 2021 MLB Draft: Richard Fitts, RHP, Auburn
(Gobi from SNL’s “Jarrett’s Room” voice) Dick. Fitts.
This is a particularly weird one. The Yankees got Auburn’s supposed ace at pick No. 183 after a horrid season in which he ended up with a 5.88 ERA after early-season top 10 projections.
Like, top 20 overall.
Fitts got into the upper 90s in the fall, prepared for a monster year in the SEC. Even though things didn’t pan out, there’s plenty of arm talent here.
Especially in the sixth round.
Yankees Seventh-Round Pick in 2021 MLB Draft: Robert Ahlstrom, LHP, Oregon
Another PAC-12 pitcher! Why did we decide in 2021 that we love those? Who knows? Regardless, Ahlstrom’s funky profile is impressive.
The Oregon Duck’s violent delivery resulted in a conference-leading 2.41 ERA and a 5.73 K:BB ratio. He thrived as a mustachioed local boy in Eugene, and he seems to have the right amount of quirk to tackle the big city.
Yankees Eighth-Round Pick in 2021 MLB Draft: Will Warren, RHP, Southeastern Louisiana University
Another pick, another right-handed pitcher, another dude whose delivery kind of looks like David Robertson’s!
Since we like to stoke rivalries here whenever possible, here’s an example of MLB Pipeline wildly diverging from Baseball America with their prospecting assessment. MLB.com didn’t rank Warren in their top 250, but BA had him all the way up at 160th overall. Intrigue!
Warren touches 97 with his fastball these days and has been able to maintain it deep into games. Not a reliever. Sorry, D-Rob.
Yankees Ninth-Round Pick in 2021 MLB Draft: Chandler Champlain, RHP, USC
Another collegiate righty! Another west-coaster! Another one!
The Yankees have ended up falling into a pattern as they approach the middle rounds, but hey, the more shots you take at finding The One, the better.
Champlain’s 6-5, 220-pound frame is enticing, and he worked out of the bullpen during the pandemic-shortened 2020 with impressive results (1.23 ERA). Perhaps that’s his future after struggling in 2021 (5.06 ERA, 1.48 WHIP).
Yankees 10th-Round Pick in 2021 MLB Draft: Benjamin Cowles, SS, Maryland
Hey, if the first-round collegiate shortstop doesn’t work out, perhaps the 10th-rounder will!
Benjamin Cowles is a New York native, hails from Newark (NY) high school, and we’ll keep this one simple. Hey, any idea who his hero growing up was?
Yeah, that’ll play.