Yankees Mock Draft: Is New York set on selecting Anthony Volpe 2.0?

Could the Yankees go back to the local shortstop well in the 2023 MLB Draft?
New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game Two
New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game Two / Winslow Townson/GettyImages

If you've attempted to forecast the Yankees' first-round pick (or international signing preference) the past few years, you could do worse than just yelling, "Shortstop!" and exiting the room.

"Advanced bat!" could do the trick, too, considering the team's past four first-rounders include two shortstops (Anthony Volpe, Trey Sweeney) and two big, hulking dudes who can whip the lumber around (Austin Wells, Spencer Jones).

This time around, as the intel dust settles and Mock Drafts stop being polite and start getting real, it seems the Yankees are fairly locked in on a player we'd heard casually tossed their way several weeks ago.

According to Keith Law of The Athletic, it seems more likely than not that the team's pick at No. 26 will be shortstop Sammy Stafura of Walter Panas High School in Westchester County (Cortlandt, New York, to be specific). Per Law, the Yankees have attended a large number of his games, and have been "linked to him as strongly as any team picking after the Giants is linked to any one player."

Yankees Mock Draft: Sure sounds like NYY zeroing in on Sammy Stafura

Either this is one of the world's strongest smokescreens and the Yankees are trying to tempt another team into taking Stafura, or the Bombers are rearing up on their back legs and attempting to scare away the field pre-draft. Clearly, they're connected to him, and now only have to worry about the mid-20s teams ahead of them like the Guardians, Padres and Braves jumping the line.

For what it's worth, Law also sees the Guardians taking a high school shortstop at 23, and theorizes that the Braves will select College World Series slugger Brock Wilken at 24. Wilken's been a name that's been casually connected to the Yankees over the past few weeks, but, again ... things are getting real now. Wilken would be a nice fit. Stafura, it seems, would be their preferred fit.

Stafura is currently a Clemson commit participating in the MLB Draft combine down in Arizona, three weeks prior to the big night in Seattle between All-Star Game events. According to those on the scene, he had the best infield actions of any prospect who took grounders on Tuesday, "exuded calm," and reminded those on site of Volpe. His helium has reportedly pushed him into the late first round. If this, plus Law's expert opinion, doesn't scream, "Welcome to Tampa, then quickly Hudson Valley," we're not sure what does.

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