According to scouts, the Yankees had a very successful selection in the 2019 MLB Draft. So, let’s take an inside look at some of their top picks.
Every June, the MLB host a 40-round Player Draft and unless your team is in line to draft a superstar prospect the likes of Bryce Harper, no one pays attention. The reason for this is because many of the players drafted never sniff the big leagues and those that do typically take years to get there.
However, it goes without saying that the first few rounds of the draft typically produce the players we are most likely to see donning the Pinstripes one day.
With that being said, welcome the top members of the Yankees’ 2019 Draft Class:
Anthony Volpe – SS – Delbarton Prep School (NJ)
Round 1, Pick 30
With their first selection in the 2019 MLB Draft, the Yankees took shortstop Anthony Volpe from Delbarton Prep School in Morristown, NJ. It is difficult to evaluate draft picks out of high school but scouts across the country have raved over Volpe’s off-the-charts work ethic and excellent bat control at the dish. When you watch video of the Delbarton standout, his quick hands, and footwork in the field jump off the screen. Some evaluators have questioned if his arm strength will develop enough to play shortstop at the big league level so a move to 2nd base could be in the 18-year-old’s future.
Volpe is currently committed to Vanderbilt University; however, the $2.37 million signing bonus that typically comes with the 30th overall pick is expected to be enough for him to sign with the Yankees and forgo his college career.
T.J. Sikkema – LHP – University of Missouri
Competitive Balance Round A, Pick 38
When Sonny Gray was dealt to the Reds during the offseason, the Yankees received a pick in the Competitive Balance Round A as part of the compensation. With this pick, they selected T.J. Sikkema, a stocky left-hander from the University of Missouri. In his most recent collegiate season, Sikkema posted an incredible 1.32 ERA and fanned 101 batters through 88 and 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever out of the pen.
There were talks that the Yanks were going to pull the trigger on Sikkema early in the draft and I could not be happier about this pick. Scouts have praised the lefty for having the highest floor of any pitcher in the draft projecting him as at least a middle reliever in the big leagues with the potential of a sliding into the back end of a Major League rotation.
Josh Smith – 2B – LSU
Round 2, Pick 67
With the 67th overall pick in the second round, the Yankees selected 2nd baseman Josh Smith out of collegiate baseball powerhouse Louisiana State University. After suffering a back injury that limited Smith to 6 games last season, he returned this year and went on an absolute tear posting a slash line of .312/.421/.476 and has the Tigers poised for a great shot at the College World Series.
Smith’s ability to drive the ball consistently to all areas of the field combined with his above-average speed and base running makes him a very well rounded offensive threat.
Jacob Sanford – CF – Western Kentucky University
Round 3, Pick 105
This is one of the most interesting players you will hear about out of this draft class. Hailing from Nova Scotia, Jacob Sanford had absolutely zero scouting or recruiting interest to play baseball after his high school career—in fact, his only collegiate offer was to play volleyball. Unwilling to give up on his dream, Sanford enrolled at McCook Community College in Nebraska and walked on to the baseball team where he went on to break the school’s slugging record two years in a row.
The following year, he enrolled at Western Kentucky University where he was still a fairly unknown prospect in the scouting world. In his only season with the Hilltoppers, he hit .398 with a .805 (!!!) slugging percentage and became the first Triple Crown winner in the history of the Conference USA. It’s almost impossible not to root for a kid like this and I hope to see him in Pinstripes sooner rather than later.