NEW YORK -- The Yankees made two selections on the first day of the 2017 Draft, picking right-hander Clarke Schmidt from the University of South Carolina with the 16th overall selection and tabbing California high school right-hander Matt Sauer in the second round (54th overall).Yankees vice president of amateur scouting
NEW YORK -- The Yankees made two selections on the first day of the 2017 Draft, picking right-hander Clarke Schmidt from the University of South Carolina with the 16th overall selection and tabbing California high school right-hander Matt Sauer in the second round (54th overall).
Yankees vice president of amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer is leading the organization's efforts from its war room in Tampa, Fla. New York continued its trend of selecting high-upside pitchers on Tuesday, choosing six right-handers among its eight picks on the day. Here is a rundown of the Yankees' Day 2 picks:
:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::
Round 3: RHP Trevor Stephan, University of Arkansas
Stephan, taken 92nd overall, moved from first base to the mound as a college freshman, making enough progress that the Red Sox selected him in the 18th round last year. Instead of going pro, Stephan opted to transfer to Arkansas, where he showcased one of the best fastball packages in the South. He sat between 90 and 95 mph and touched 97 mph with a deceptive crossfire delivery.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound hurler commands his fastball well to both sides of the plate and has picked up a slider/cutter, which helped him build a 2.87 ERA that ranked 10th in the SEC. Scouts believe that the Magnolia, Texas, product may be better suited to a relief role in the future.
• Stephan passed on Red Sox in '16
The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at noon ET.
Round 4: OF Canaan Smith, Rockwall-Heath (Texas) HS
The standout was compared to Barry Bonds in print this season, not for his power potential (though it exists) but because opponents refused to pitch to the 6-foot, 215-pound slugger.
Smith walked 57 times in his senior season and was exceeding Bonds' 2004 record-setting walk rate of 1.58 per game early in the season, though Smith eventually fell short of the all-time record of 72 set by Jeff Clement of Marshalltown, Iowa, in 2002. Smith also caught, played first base and quarterbacked. He has committed to the University of Arkansas.
Round 5: RHP Glenn Otto, Rice University
Otto has been dominant out of the bullpen for the Owls, completing this season tied with former Yankees hurler David Aardsma for fourth in program history with 17 saves. The Conference USA Tournament MVP, Otto recorded two wins and a save to help Rice to its 23rd consecutive NCAA Regional.
Otto, taken 152nd overall, has tallied 222 strikeouts in 172 1/3 collegiate innings, though he recently missed time due to a tired arm. He throws a mid-90s fastball and a 12-to-6 spike curveball, and he pitched for Team USA. His imposing build of 6-foot-5, 240 pounds has tempted some scouts to view him as a future starter.
6th round: LHP Dalton Lehnen, Augustana (S.D.) College
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Lehnen began his collegiate career at the University of Cincinnati, then transferred before this season to Augustana, where scouts covering the Midwest were able to get a better look at his skills.
A two-time NSIC Pitcher of the Week, Lehnen made 11 appearances, including 10 starts. The Burnsville, Minn., product struck out 61 against 20 walks in 52 innings, posting a 2.60 ERA. He has a fastball that sits between 90-93 mph, touching 96, but his breaking ball is a work in progress and could use some polish.
7th round: RHP Dalton Higgins, Dallas Baptist University
The Yankees believe they struck gold two years ago when they drafted Chance Adams out of DBU, converting him into a starter before fast-tracking him through the system. They hope to have similar success with Higgins, who touches 95 mph with his cutter, which he's developed into an effective pitch.
Hailing from Fort Worth, Texas, Higgins struck out 40 in 40 innings as a junior, going 7-1 with a 3.15 ERA over 30 relief appearances. His father, Kight, also pitched in college and was selected by the Blue Jays in the 19th round of the 1985 Draft.
8th round: RHP Kyle Zurak, Radford (Va.) University
Zurak was named as one of the 25 semifinalists for the Gregg Olson Award, which honors college baseball's breakout player of the year. Serving as Radford's closer and an occasional starter, Zurak was 4-4 with nine saves and a 2.40 ERA in 60 innings, striking out a career-high 73 batters while yielding only nine extra-base hits.
After embracing a workout program, Zurak saw his fastball jump from 85-87 mph as a freshman to as high as 95 mph during his senior season. He threw a complete-game two-hitter against Presbyterian in the Big South finals. Zurak starred at Williamsville North High School in Buffalo, N.Y.
9th round: RHP Austin Gardner, University of Texas at Arlington
Gardner was dominant as UTA's closer this year, leading the team with 29 appearances while going 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA and two saves. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder from Coppell, Texas, missed plenty of bats, striking out 55 in 44 2/3 innings while permitting 36 hits and 10 walks. Gardner's father, Scott, played baseball at Oklahoma and pitched for four years in the Astros' system from 1980-83.
10th round: RHP Chad Whitmer, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
In his senior year, Whitmer took the ball more than anyone on his staff, firing a team-high 104 innings while going 6-3 with a 3.46 ERA in 15 starts. The Salukis' Friday night starter struck out 95 against 26 walks and was named to the a second-team All-Missouri Valley Conference squad while earning selection twice as the conference's Pitcher of the Week.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.