With the draft quickly approaching, I will be highlighting some of the bigger names that the Yankees might be able to snag in the second round of the draft. These reports are meant to give readers a brief preview of potential future Yankees.

The Yankees have the 55th pick in this year’s draft, so I felt that it would be appropriate to have an article that looked at 55th best rank prospect. Obviously there is disagreement on who the 55th best prospect is so I am going to cite who BA, MLB.com, ESPN (Keith Law) and minorleagueball.com (Matt Garrioch), feel are the 55th best prospect.

Ti'quan Forbes: Baseball America’s 55th best prospect.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1Awy_ZD13c#t=12

Forbes is a high school shortstop from Mississippi, who is described by MLB.com, BA and most others as a highly projectable player. He has a big 6 foot 4 frame that suggests he can develop more power. He is currently a shortstop, but would probably need to switch to third or center when he reaches his full strength.

Forbes is a right handed hitter that crawfishboxes.com states “shows promise at the plate, with a loose swing and lightning fast bat speed. He does a good job of keeping his hands back and driving the ball. He's currently a line drive hitter with power to the gaps, but more pop is surely on the way. He takes a big stride into the ball and a lot of his lower body action could be quieted down, as could his lean into the baseball, but his athleticism is on full display in his swing”.

Scouts believe he is a plus runner and has the potential to develop above average power. He also has above average bat speed. BA doesn’t seem to love his arm, but MLB.com called it a plus tool and others have said his throws have some zip. The general consensus is that he has the tools to go in the first round, but might not be polished enough to be taken that early.

He is committed to attend Ole Miss, but would probably break the commitment if he got enough money. Teams will have to go over slot to sign him. He is one of the youngest players in the draft, and would be a project, but he would be a great pick in the second round. The Yankees have taken projectable players like him in the past, and he truly is the type of talent that the team would never be able to draft again if he went to college.

The team used the same logic when they drafted Cito Culver, and it is more probably more applicable here. You take him now, if you can, because the team won’t be able to get this type of talent coming out of college.  That’s of course assuming the team think he is a big potential player.

Other Rankings:

Scout.com- 34

ESPN- 39

Minorleaguebaseball.com-37

MLB.com: 51

***A.J. Reed: Ranked 55th by Scout.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF6puff06rM

Reed is a former New York Met draft pick that decided to attend the University of Kentucky rather than signing. Reed is regarded as one of the best two-way players in this draft, but scouts like him a lot better as a hitter. As a hitter he seems destined for the first round, but I suppose there’s a chance he falls to the Yankees pick.

Reed is a power hitting first baseman, who has a good patient approach at the plate. BA doesn’t think he’d have the speed to move to the outfield and have noted that some question his bat speed. He could also end up pitching if hitting fails, but his ceiling as a pitcher is nowhere near as high. He hit 23 homers in 203 at bats this season, he is considered to be a plus power type player, something’s that’s pretty rare in today’s game.

There aren’t many legitimate first base prospects in baseball, so Reed might be considered one of the top first base prospects in the game. The Yankees already have a good first base prospect in Greg Bird, but Reed wouldn’t start in High-A so they wouldn’t interfere with one another. With that said the Yankees don’t generally take college bats early, and it really doesn’t seem like he’s going to fall to them anyway.

Below is a list of accolades he has won in college, he is also in the running for college player of the year.

• 2014 Perfect Game Midseason NCAA Player of the Year (4/3/14)

• 2014 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List

• 2014 Baseball America preseason All-America

• 2014 Perfect Game preseason All-America

• 2014 Louisville Sluger preseason All-America

• 2014 Baseball America Preseason NCAA Top-100 Players (No. 85)

• 2014 Perfect Game preseason All-SEC

• 2013 No. 28 prospect in the Cape Cod League (Perfect Game)

• 2013 USA Collegiate National Team trial roster

• SEC Academic Honor Roll (2013)

• 2013 first-team All-SEC (DH)

• 2013 NCBWA National Hitter of the Week (3/5/13)

• 2013 SEC Player of the Week (3/4/13)

• 2013 Baseball America preseason All-America

• 2013 Perfect Game preseason All-America

• 2013 NCBWA preseason All-America

• 2013 SEbaseball.com preseason All-SEC

• 2013 College Baseball Daily preseason All-SEC

• 2012 No. 34 prospect in the Cape Cod League (Perfect Game)

• 2012 All-SEC Freshman (DH and 1B)

• 2012 Baseball America first-team Freshman All-America

• 2012 Louisville Slugger first-team Freshman All-America

• 2012 NCBWA first-team Freshman All-America

• 2012 Perfect Game USA first-team Freshman All-America

• 2012 College Baseball Hall of Fame John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year semifinalist

• 2012 SEC Freshman of the Week (4/2/12)

• 2012 College Baseball Hall of Fame National All-Star Lineup (4/2/12)

• 25th round draft pick in 2011 (Mets)

Other rankings:

BA 33

Minorleagueball.com: 24

ESPN: 37

MLB.com: 48th

***Michael Kopech: ranked 55th by Minorleagueball.com

http://m.mlb.com/video/v31230529/draft-report-michael-kopech-hs-pitcher

At 6-foot-3, and 190-pounds Kopech has one of the best pitching frames in the draft. .Kopech is a hard throwing Texas right handed starter. BA consider him the third best prospect in the state—though it’s a down year—and they think he has the stuff to start. He has a hard fastball and two breaking pitches. His slider and changeup still need to be developed but BA feels that they could be average or above average offerings. His curve is 11-5, and could also be an average pitch.

BA likes him because the ball jumps out of his hand and gets on hitters quickly, but they state that his mechanics has led some to question whether he can remain a starter.

Baseball prospectus released has this to say about him earlier on in the year (since this report his MPH has increased). “Kopech throws with a loose, whippy arm and creates good deception with his mechanics, making it difficult for hitters to pick up his pitches until late in their path. His four-seamer sat 91-93 mph out of the full windup and his two-seamer in the 89-91 mph range; each pitch drops one to two miles per hour out of the stretch.”

Bigleaguefuture scouting report seems to backup BA’s and BP’s take.

“Mike is the big ideal athletic frame that you look for in the new age pitcher, long, lean, and fast arm speed.  Highly projectable down the road, he could fill out a bit more into the 215 range; he looks the part of Shane Reynolds.  Mechanically, he moves around a great deal, bit inconsistent in the footwork, repeating the slot.  He does collapse his delivery at times, shows a bit of arm wrap and could hide the ball a bit better on the back end.  He is long, loose, and these are timing issues that needs tightening to improve command, improve balance and rhythm”.

Accolades

    2013 Area Code Games

    2013 USA Baseball Tournament of Stars

    2013 Perfect Game Underclass All-American 1st Team

    2013 1st Team All-District

    2012 Area Code Games

    2012 Perfect Game East Cobb All-Tournament Team

    2012 1st Team All-District

This draft is deep in starting pitchers so there’s a chance that he drops to them.

Ranked Elsewhere:

BA: 39

Scout.com: 46

ESPN: 36

MLB.com: 45

Brett Graves: Ranked 55th by ESPN

http://m.mlb.com/video/v32371883/draft-report-brett-graves-college-pitcher

Coming out of high school Graves was undervalued because of his size, but scouts always loved his stuff. Now after a couple of up and down years in college, the 6’1’’ 190 pound right hander has established himself as a legitimate pitcher that will probably go in the first two rounds. His repertoire features a fastball at 92-96, that general sits at 93. He gets grounders and K’s with his fastball, and maintains his velocity deep into games. He also throws a slider and a changeup. His change has plus potential, but like his slider it is still a work in progress. BA notes that as a “fan of former Missouri pitcher Max Scherzer, he tries to emulate Scherzer’s delivery, which has helped him incorporate his lower half more.” BA and MLB.com seem to disagree with his ceiling, but both have him as a starter. Minorleagueball had this to say about him: “not imposing but features fastball that can touch 94 MPH; Slider shows flashes above average but needs to work on changeup;”. He should be there when the Yankees pick, but the team has always seemed to prefer high school talent.

Other Rankings:

BA: 60

Minorleagueball.com: 73

Scout: 71

MLB.com: 74

Matthew Railey: Ranked 55th by MLB.com

Railey is a 19 year old high school outfield prospect from Florida. He missed his sophomore year with a torn labrum in his non-throwing arm but has been fine for the past two years. His stock has risen this spring, and many feel he will be taken in the second round. He has a nice left handed swing, and no one really questions his ability to hit. According to MLB.com:

 “He has an easy, loose swing and uses his quick hands and natural strength to drive the ball. He squares the ball up well and hits plenty of line drives. He is an average runner, which may eventually force him to move off of center field, but his athleticism and improving feel for the game help make him a solid defender.”

BA agrees with most of this report and feels that he could have average power, average speed—despite a plus 60 time--- and could be a good corner outfielder. The biggest question mark that he has is if he has enough power for a corner spot. Other than that he seems like the type of guy the Yankees would pick. He is committed to Florida State, but they could probably buy him out of that.

Other Rankings:

BA: 56

Scout: 47

ESPN: 60

Minorleagueball.com: 48