New Jersey native Wagner showed power in Texas JuCo ranks
NEW YORK -- Enticed by one of brightest offensive prospects in this year's crop of Texas junior college athletes, the Yankees used their sixth-round selection on second baseman Brandon Wagner, who slugged 22 home runs as a junior for Howard College in San Angelo, Texas.
The infielder, taken 183rd overall, was considered by some to be the best hitter among Texas JuCo players in 2015, when he batted .435 (84-for-193) with 86 runs scored, 80 RBIs and seven stolen bases in 58 games.
Though he played his college ball in Texas, Wagner was born in Hopewell, N.J., and attended Immaculate High School in Somerville, N.J., some 55-60 miles from Yankee Stadium.
There is some question if the 6-foot, 210-pounder will be able to stick at second base; a move to the outfield could be in his future. The thinking is that Wagner's left-handed stroke will allow him to find a place on the field. He was previously selected by the Phillies in the 39th round of the 2013 Draft.
The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 on MLB.com beginning at noon ET.
Round 7: RF Jhalan Jackson, Florida Southern College
There is power potential in Jackson, a slugging outfielder who batted .417 and cracked 20 home runs as a senior for Florida Southern College, setting a new school record.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder was a semifinalist for the Tino Martinez Award, issued annually to the most outstanding player in Division II college baseball. Jackson stroked 13 doubles and two triples in 175 at-bats, driving in 72 runs while working 16 walks and striking out 31 times.
Jackson hails from Winter Haven, Fla., and transferred to join the Moccasins from Hillsborough (Fla.) Community College, which sits adjacent to the Yankees' Tampa, Fla., Spring Training facility.
Round 8: 3B Donny Sands, Salpointe Catholic High School (Tucson, Ariz.)
Sands recently worked out for the Yankees at the team's Spring Training complex, and the 19-year-old infielder made a solid enough impression for the club to select him with the 243rd overall pick in this year's Draft.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder starred at Salpointe Catholic, where Sands played shortstop and pitched, batting .450 while striking out 38 batters in 23 1/3 innings. He has committed to the University of New Mexico, but he told the Arizona Daily Star that the chance to dress, field and play at Yankee Stadium "would be a dream come true," and that his favorite player is Derek Jeter.
According to the newspaper, Sands prepared for the Draft's opening night on Monday by having his mother, Alma, pitch him tiny pinto beans for about five minutes in the family's garage, a practice they have been following since his freshman year of high school.
"It all started in Mexico," Sands told the Daily Star. "My mother is from Mexico, and we didn't have a lot of money. Every night, I still hit them -- my mom is pretty on me with that."
Round 9: 1B Ryan Krill, Michigan State University
The power-hitting Krill already knows what it's like to crush pitching on a big league diamond. In an April game played at Target Field in Minnesota, the senior unloaded on a belt-high fastball and crushed an eighth-inning grand slam down the right-field line, sending the ball out of the facility.
The Yankees are hopeful that they will see more swings like that one when Krill transitions from aluminum to lumber. Krill was named the Spartans' Most Valuable Player and was a second-team All-Big Ten selection after hitting .351 (72-for-205) with 13 doubles, one triple, 13 homers and 57 RBIs in 56 games.
"I'm just in a good position to hit," Krill told the Detroit Free Press last month. "My swing feels good. … It's just been proving itself on the field. I'm comfortable at the plate, balanced and loose."
Krill was previously selected by the Tigers in the 38th round of the 2011 Draft.
Round 10: LHP James Reeves, The Citadel
Earlier this year, Reeves fired the first no-hitter by a Citadel hurler in 13 years, recording 14 strikeouts in a 4-0 victory over Mercer. The strikeouts were no fluke; the redshirt junior showed true swing-and-miss stuff over his 15 starts, fanning 115 batters in 95 innings while walking just 28.
Reeves was named to the Louisville Slugger All-American third team after going 8-4 with a 3.69 ERA for the Bulldogs, permitting 80 hits and 46 runs (39 earned) while holding opponents to a .227 average. Reeves, who turned 22 on Sunday, also claimed the title of Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year for the 2015 season.