Yankees sign intriguing UDFA slugger with big bonus after MLB Draft wraps

Yes, that man with the traffic cone on his head.

Jun 12, 2021; Nashville, TN, USA; East Carolina Pirates infielder Josh Moylan (66) has a traffic
Jun 12, 2021; Nashville, TN, USA; East Carolina Pirates infielder Josh Moylan (66) has a traffic / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

While it looks like the Yankees might have trouble securing their man in electric fourth-rounder Roc Riggio, they appear to have added some collegiate power from a different source.

On Saturday, MLB draft expert Jim Callis reported that the Yankees had signed ECU first baseman Josh Moylan as a UDFA, lured with a $150,000 bonus. Per Callis, that was the largest bonus of the cycle (though it would seem possible that it took the Kansas City Royals more unreported money to lure walk-on Kansas cornerback Noah Barber into baseball instead).

The UDFA game earned more focus back in 2020, when the draft was limited to just five rounds, allowing teams like the Yankees to secure players like OF Elijah Dunham -- an obviously draftable talent -- without having to worry about being outmaneuvered. All they had to make certain was that they were not outbid.

Now that the draft has been expanded once more, it's obviously tougher to find untouched talent. The Yankees seem to think they have something in Moylan, though, a lefty slugger (which should immediately raise eyebrows) with plus defense.

Yankees sign East Carolina's Josh Moylan after 2023 MLB Draft

Now ... why wasn't he drafted? Was it the traffic cone?

Moylan was a fairly big deal entering the draft, ranking among the Top 500 draft prospects, per 247 sports. Somehow, he escaped 20 rounds untouched, and will now join his fellow ECU teammate Josh Grosz with the Yankees. You may remember Grosz from feeding his teammate a sandwich and getting suspended.

Moylan's 2023 was a career year; he finished right on the cusp of a 1.000 OPS, finishing with a .999 mark, while ending up with a .412 OBP and 70 RBI. Anecdotally, his defense also earned plaudits.

His collegiate career followed a familiar path: freshman stardom, sophomore slump, junior year breakout when consistent at-bats were presented. Somehow, despite all eyes being on him throughout the college season (ECU was notable, participating in an NCAA regional), he managed to slip through the cracks -- until the Yankees' financial scouts found him.

If the team fails to secure Riggio, that'll be a big blow to their draft haul, especially considering they have $786K remaining in the pool, which should've been more than enough. Adding Moylan -- from the left side -- helps a little, though.