(You could say it was "Judge"ment Day at that HR Derby. Thanks, I'll be here all week)
Last night was a big night for the Yankees and the future of their farm system. They were armed with 3 picks in the 1st round of the MLB Draft after getting compensation for losing Swish and Sour Puss to free agency this offseason and needed to make a splash. The Yanks have been criticized for going off the board on talent in the 1st round of recent drafts and focusing on guys with good makeup and intangibles, something they kinda, sorta started to move away from last year with Ty Hensley. While there were no bad apples in the bunch of picks last night, the Yankees were clearly looking for impact talent and most early analysis shows them to have succeeded in adding that talent. After the jump, get acquainted with the newest possible future Yankees.
1st Round, 26th Overall- Eric Jagielo, 3B, Notre Dame
Jagielo was just the type of polished college hitter the Yanks were rumored to be looking for at 26. He's looked at as one of the best and most well-rounded college bats in the draft and possibly the best left-handed college hitter in the entire draft. Jagielo boasts both power and patience, the latter more recently added to his offensive makeup than the former, and refinement of his swing could propel him to 30-HR territory. Defensively he's got range and arm strength to handle the hot corner, although there are still some lingering doubts about his ability to stay there long-term.
1st Round, 32nd Overall- Aaron Judge, OF, Fresno State
If Jagielo was the steak of the college hitter selections, Judge was the sizzle. If he were an NBA or NFL draft prospect, you'd hear the term "physical specimen" thrown around a lot. The fact that he's playing baseball makes that description even more apt, as Judge is 6'7"/250 and had enough speed and agility to play center field in college. He's likely ticketed for an outfield corner in the pros, where Keith Law believes he could have a defensive profile similar to Jason Heyward, but Judge's calling card is his tremendous power. It project as legit 30+ HR power and could grow to more than that if Judge is able to adjust his swing mechanics to better pitching and cut down on his strikeouts. Bottom line is he's a really, REALLY interesting prospect with a real high ceiling because of his tools.
1st Round, 33rd Overall- Ian Clarkin, LHP, Madison HS in CA
On some boards, Clarkin was rated as high as the 3rd-best HS pitcher in the entire draft, so getting that kind of talent at the last pick of the 1st round is a huge plus. He's a good-sized lefty at 6'2"/195, with a 3-pitch mix of fastball-curveball-change, and at age 18 there's room to add bulk and velocity to his frame. His fastball lives in the low 90s, his curveball has shown signs of being plus, and along with his changeup all 3 pitches need the kind of command improvement expected for a prep arm. He might be tough to sign as a Cali kid committed to San Diego, but if the Yanks get him he's a very good get.
2nd Round, 66th Overall- Gosuke Katoh, 2B, Rancho Bernardo HS in CA
This is the one pick that had people scratching their heads a bit. Katoh is a defense first second baseman who, while being regarded as a real prospect at the position, isn't looked at as much more than a slap hitter offensively. He also doesn't have a very strong arm, so moving him to SS or third isn't an option, and with Robinson Cano still at second and plenty of other 2B prospects ahead of him in the system, his path is going to be slow. Katoh is committed to UCLA and it probably wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if he didn't sign.
Regardless of what they did with that 66th pick, last night was going to be considered a success because of what the Yankees did with those top 3 picks. They got 3 really good 1st-round talents, players with upper-tier tools and projectability for their positions. Any time you can add polished players with upside to your system, you've done good. There's also a good chance the Yankees sign all 3 guys, with both Jagielo and Judge being likely to sign for below-slot money as college hitters. In a year where they needed to make a splash in the 1st round, the Yankees did just that last night.