Written by: Jake Tillinghast
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1st Round: C/1B/LF Austin Wells – Arizona
3rd Round: 2B/LF Trevor Hauver – Arizona St
4th Round: SP Beck Way – Northwest Florida State JuCo
The Yankees had just 3 picks in the 2020 MLB Draft after losing their 2nd and 5th round selections due to the signing of Gerrit Cole over the off-season. They also had the 2nd smallest bonus pool in the entire Draft. Putting them in a tricky situation heading into draft night.
But they came out pretty well in my eyes all things considered.
Austin Wells is a very advanced college bat that should move fairly quickly through the system. Trevor Hauver doesn’t have big potential or any standout flashy tools, but has a decent floor as carving out a role as a platoon guys vs RHP, capable of playing a few positions, mainly 2nd base and LF. Beck Way was my most interesting pick of the AL East, as I mentioned on our AL East Recap Podcast. I am really excited to see what he can do in pro ball.
1st Round: C/1B/LF Austin Wells – Arizona
Bat: L – Throw: R – Height: 6-2 – Weight: 220lb – 20 Years Old
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The Yankees and Austin Wells have a little bit of history together. Previously drafted in the 35th round by the Yankees in 2018 out of Bishop Gorman HS in Las Vegas, Nevada. Able to enter the draft as a draft eligible sophomore, the Yankees had to be ecstatic to see his name on the board when their selection came up and were able to re-draft the kid they saw some potential in coming out of High School just were unable to sign him away from him commitment.
If not for the defensive question marks at catcher, we might be looking at a mid 1st round talent. But due to those question marks, and some in the industry have questions on his ability to consistently tap into that RAW PWR in game, I however, am not one of them. The bat profiles anywhere, the question for most is where he fits defensively.
I absolutely LOVE the bat, and the fit. He gets the ball in the air consistently with authority. Generates a whole power to all fields with his good bat speed, and ability to stay inside the ball well. And will continue to be a force moving forward and the fit in Yankee stadium is a dream landing spot for Wells. He is looking to hit the ball out of the park with that natural loft in his swing, and good extension, just what the Yankees are looking for with that short porch in right.
He has shown a good eye at the plate and looks like a hitter who is going to draw a whole lot of walks at the big league level and produce strong OBP numbers with it. Picking up spin really well and laying off some tough pitches, and battling off some tough ones to extend some At Bats. He does strikeout a good bit and is a slight cause for concern heading forward as he faces advanced pitching night after night, but I think the Ks are honestly fine, especially if he is walking as much as he does.
His swing has shortened up, and has shown an ability to hit just as well (if not better) with the wood bat. I think over time, he will find a way to produce more consistent hard contact with those abilities mentioned above.
He killed it in the cape. So much he gave #7 overall pick Nick Gonzales a run for his money for Cape Cod League MVP.
Wells slashed .308/.389/.526, 7 HR, 8 SB, while playing the OF just as much as he played Catcher. Answering some of those PWR question marks some had with him. But also showing his athleticism, and ability to move to the outfield if teams didn’t think he had what it took to move up the ladder as at least a league average defensive catcher.
But also during the time on the cape, a new issue started to shine. Strikeouts up. Walks down.
Wells did show a much higher swing and miss, and lower walk rates during that time in the cape (46/22, K/BB), then he showed in his freshman year (43/46, K/BB) which are a cause for concern, but in 2020 was right back on track with (14/17 K/BB) ratio in 15 games before the shutdown. The swing looked shorter, he was starting to use the opposite field a bit more starting in the Cape driving the ball the other way with authority (As you will see in the video below). He made the necessary adjustments to start tapping into a bit more consistent power
I don’t think he sticks at catcher, but do think I think he is more then athletic enough to be a fit out in LF and if not, 1B is an easy fit for him. Each of which he has gained some experience at during his time at ASU, also getting a few games in at RF and CF during his time on the Cape prior to the 2020 season. Not that he has any chance of playing CF moving forward or anything, or probably even RF for that matter.. But it speaks to his athleticism the team was willing to send him out there at all.
The bat profiles anywhere, the question is where he fits defensively.
Reminds me a lot of Cubs Kyle Schwarber, but has a little bit better hit tool, slightly less game Power, but has the potential to tap into it.
3rd Round: 2B/LF Trevor Hauver – Arizona St
Bat: L – Bat: R – Height: 6’0″ – Weight: 205lb
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Interesting player, but not all that flashy. With some adjustments to the swing and approach, he could turn into a solid hitter, but its going to take some work. Below average defense, arm, athleticism and speed, he is going to need to hit to make a name for himself.
Starts his stance with a wide base, that goes into a big leg kick that gets him out in front, and loses some power due to it. He doesn’t use his lower half all that well, and has some trouble against breaking balls, and fastballs in on his hands.
Hauver had a pretty solid career at Arizona St with the bat slashing .316/.426/.537/.964, with 18 HR over 462 plate appearances. With 18 HR, 27 Doubles, 89/71 strikeout to walk ratio, and a very ugly 1 stolen base to put up against 8 caught steals.. Needless to say, he wont be running at the next level.
A steady hitter, with a line drive swing with a bit of loft, but I have a hard time seeing power show up at the next level consistently. Does not really use his lower half well at all which will affect his power going forward. He has a really nice eye at the plate with fairly strong bat-to-ball skills, but he will need to hit to rise the ranks.
A bit of a liability defensively really just stuck in LF to let his bat play in college, came in as a 2nd baseman but really never played any time there (3 games including summer ball on the Cape) due to a better defensive infield. And have a hard time seeing him being able to stick at 2nd base like the Yankees drafted him. More then likely finding his spot once again, in LF, of a 2B/LF Platoon role vs Right Handed Pitching.
His arm is very weak, as you can see with the 30 grade, shows no real strength at all behind his throws, bouncing most of them, not accurate to even the cut off man. I haven’t seen him make a ton of “great” throws, more the type of outfielder you send the runner every single time you have the opportunity, something that’s going to really hurt him at the next level, especially since he doesn’t provide much in terms of range, or with the glove to negate the poor arm.
MLB COMP: Rays INF Joey Wendle
4th Round: RHP Beck Way – Northwest Florida State (FL)
Bat: R – Throw: R – Height: 6’4″ – Weight: 200lb – 20 Years
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An LSU Commit many expected to probably end up fulfilling and playing for the LSU Tigers in 2021 and putting himself on that map as a potential 1st round talent next season when the pitching class wouldn’t be as deep, and he would be able to prove he is the real deal with a lengthened season(hopefully) in the one of the best conferences in D1 Baseball.
Beck Way was tabbed as one of the best JuCo arms in the draft by most all evaluators, and in my opinion, holds that crown in the 2020 MLB Draft. There is a lot to like here, and as I touched on earlier, a player I am really high on, and really looking forward to see how he holds up against better competition moving into pro ball.
In the Cape Cod League this past summer, Way was solid out of the bullpen. In 13 2/3 innings pitched, he posted 18 strikeouts.
Had some command/control issues to iron out after his freshman year and time in the cape. 6.4 BB/9 was not going to cut it. And that was out of the bullpen… Come 2020 in his 40 innings (7 games) as a Starting Pitcher he put up an impressive (58/9, K/BB) and a 0.67 ERA, showing enough to prove his stuff was not only legit, but he was able to start commanding his pitches in the zone. He is still more control over command at this point, but has all the tools necessary to turn that into league avg or better command. And is trending up quickly
A very projectable frame, that should add strength to it, and might be able to tack on a few MPH to his FB that already is a plus pitch with really good metrics. A live, electric arm and fairly good repeatable mechanics. His release point is where he had some troubles, but in 2020 turned a big corner.
Comes from a low 3/4 arm slot. that helps him create really nice natural movement on his pitches. Creating great movement on his wipe out slider, that already shows + grades, and has potential to be ++ in the future with increased command, and consistently finding his release point, a slight issues he has had up until this point.
FB sits 92-95 with plus command of the pitch. And some really nice natural sink to it, can play up in the zone with the average to slightly above average spin rates he posts, but with the natural sink, he is more effective using it low in the zone, and on the inner half the lefties and righties, not letting them extend their arms, and tunneling it much more effectively with his nasty wipe out slider. A recent video, which I have posted below, was posted by the man himself a week before the MLB Draft. You can see him snapping off some nice hard sliders, and some impressive Fast balls with the rapsodo hooked up and showing a few readings Granted it was a bullpen session, but was touching 96, with 2400 RPM, and 100% spin efficiency is really impressive. Like I said a bullpen, but as a Yankee fan, that has gotta be exciting to see the potential he possesses.
He pairs that plus fastball with a another plus pitch.
A wipe out Slider you can see a few times in that video above. With slight inconsistencies, but, when he’s finding his release point in that low 3/4 slot, it shows a hard late break that is devastating to right handed hitters. A wipe out pitch at the next level. And if he can continue to repeat that arm slot, and get that great late action on the pitch, it will start seeing some 70 grades pop up for it. It has potential to be a true wipe out pitch at the big league level when hes on.
The CH has decent fade more vertical then horizontal. I think it will improve, with really good arm action and feel for the pitch, just lacking command, and just overall usage of the pitch. It has a chance to be a league avg pitch giving him a good chance to stick as a starting pitcher. If not, will settle into a high leverage bullpen role, with closer potential due to that plus 2 pitch mix and ability to miss a lot of bats with that slider.
I am sure the Yankees are aware that he will need to add that as a 3rd pitch to keep lefties off balance and off his fastball. If they can turn that pitch into a weapon, we might be looking at one of the steals of the entire draft.