3 Yankees college baseball draft targets to watch during MLB lockout

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Tennessee’s Blade Tidwell (29) pitches against Florida /

2. Blade Tidwell, University of Tennessee

If it’s a top collegiate arm who’s not injured the Yankees are after, the target could be Blade Tidwell. The Tennessee Volunteers star has rocketed up MLB Pipeline’s big board to No. 13, but Baseball America foresees him still being available when the Yanks select at 25.

Focusing on something other than how awesome Tidwell’s name is remains a Herculean task, but there’s a lot to like about his profile, too.

Amateur arms are particularly difficult to project, but Tidwell’s rock-solid, 6-4, 240-pound frame seems easier to forecast than a high schooler who’s still growing/gaining control of his breaking stuff. As a freshman, Tidwell started the clinching game that sent the Vols to their first College World Series berth in Omaha in 16 seasons, showing unique poise for his age. He also paired well with fellow top pick Ryan Weathers back in his high school rotation; Weathers (son of David, if you’re looking for Yankees ties) has since ascended to the big leagues at an extremely young age with the Padres.

This might shock you (it won’t), but Tidwell is also among the many amateur pitching prospects battling an injury right now. His shoulder soreness has caused him to miss the start of the season, but he will reportedly not need surgery to solve the issue, like so many of his other cohorts.

If and when Tidwell returns, the Yankees should cross their fingers that he slipped just enough to get to them as a draft-eligible sophomore, especially since there are so many other heavy-hitters at the back end of the first round (and you know Tidwell could be a Dodgers or Red Sox risk).