The New York Yankees only had three draft picks to use this year and they took three guys with major upside.
The circumstances surrounding the 2020 MLB Draft were strange, but at least we were able to watch something baseball-related. The New York Yankees, to the disappointment of fans, had it rough this year: they lost their second and fifth-round picks in the already-abridged draft after signing star pitcher Gerrit Cole.
The Yankees tried to make the most of what they had and while all three players they took have upside, things could’ve ideally gone better for them. Let’s take a look at their selections in this year’s draft.
First Round: Austin Wells, C
The Yankees have seemingly been stockpiling catchers over the past few years and have just added Wells to the collection. The Yankees took Wells in the 35th round of the 2018 draft, but he opted to go to college instead.
Offensively, Wells has been fantastic. He has a good swing and is praised for his power. In 71 collegiate games, Wells slashed .357/.476/.560 with a 1.035 OPS while recording seven home runs and 74 RBIs.
Like a true Yankee, Wells does have a bit of a strikeout issue but on the plus side, he draws his fair share of walks. In fact, he walked more times than he struck out during his college career.
The problem with Wells? His defense. He’s a below-average defensive catcher and his experience at first base and in the outfield may prompt the organization to switch his position.
He has a good arm but is inconsistent throwing-wise and is bad at framing pitches. To sum it up, Wells is bad with the glove, but his offense makes up for his poor defense.
Wells has drawn comparisons to Kyle Schwarber and if that is who he ends up resembling, the Yankees got it right with this pick.
Third Round: Trevor Hauver, INF/OF
With the 99th pick of the draft, the Yankees took 21-year-old Trevor Hauver out of Arizona State University. Hauver’s defensive placement is a little strange and confusing.
He played several infield positions in high school but was moved to the outfield (mainly left field) in college because ASU had better infield options.
Apparently, the Yankees ideally want to put him at second base and if that doesn’t work out, third base. Hauver is ranked as the 130th best prospect by MLB Pipeline.
He’s been highly touted for his bat more than anything else. He’s never been a particularly good defender and many scouts say he’ll be average, at best, in the field.
He has, however, shown the potential to be a solid leadoff hitter. Hauver has established good pitch selection and is able to hit for both average and power.
He’s drawn comparisons to Daniel Murphy. In 116 collegiate games, Hauver slashed .316/.426/.537 with a .964 OPS while recording 18 home runs and 77 RBIs.
Fourth Round: Beck Way, RHP
With the 129th pick, and their last selection in this year’s draft, the Yankees took 20-year-old right-handed pitcher Beck Way out of Northwest Florida State College.
Way’s size (he stands at 6-foot-4 and weighs 200 pounds) has some scouts believing he has a great deal of potential. With that frame, he can become a solid major league pitcher with the right training and conditioning.
He’s even projected to be a starter by many. Way had some command issues until this past spring when he seemed to figure it all out. His most dominant pitch is his fastball, which can reach 98 mph. He also has a plus slider.
Way doesn’t use his changeup much but that’s another pitch that has the potential to be quite good for him as he develops it. All three pitches in Way’s arsenal should be average at the very least.
Coming at 95 on MLB Pipeline’s prospect rankings, Way is even considered to be a steal. However, Way is committed to Louisiana State University’s elite baseball program, so the Yankees must be able to convince him to forego that commitment.
Again, the draft didn’t go as well as Yankees fans would have hoped. However, there wasn’t much the team could do with their limited picks. All in all, they did a decent job in making the most of them.
It’s still uncertain how these three youngsters will pan out in the long run or if they’ll even end up making it to New York’s major league team, but every single one of them has sky-high potential.