What was an abridged draft for all of Major League Baseball was especially short for the New York Yankees. The team selected second baseman Trevor Hauver with the 99th overall pick in the third round from Arizona State University, and selected right-handed pitcher Beck Way with the 129th overall pick in the fourth round from Northwestern Florida State junior college.
The 99th overall pick carries a slot value of $587,400, and the 129th overall pick carries a slot value of $438,700.
They had just three picks in this year’s five-round draft after surrendering their second- and fifth-round picks as compensation for signing Gerrit Cole in the offseason. The team selected catcher Austin Wells from the University of Arizona with the 28th overall pick in the first round.
Third Round: Trevor Hauver, 2B
Hauver was a shortstop in high school, but found himself spending the majority of his time in left field for Arizona State. He had a tough freshman year (.638 OPS in 42 games), but hit .339/.433/.574 with 13 home runs in 57 games as a sophomore for the Sun Devils, mostly as their leadoff hitter.
He also spent significant time batting third in the Arizona State order, which slotted him behind 2020 No. 1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson. He hit .339/.494/.695 with five homers in the abbreviated 17-game 2020 season, which he finished on a 15-game hitting streak.
Hauver spent two summers playing in the Cape Cod League, where he continued to show strong on-base ability (.384 OBP), but with significantly decreased power output (.354 SLG). Over his two seasons for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, Hauver slashed .256/.384/.354 with four homers in 67 games across two seasons.
Like Wells, Hauver’s long-term defensive position is up in the air. He arrived at ASU as a middle infielder, but has only played three games at second base combined between college and the CCL since 2018. His bat will obviously be his carrying tool, with a future as a bat-first left fielder, second baseman or first baseman. The comparison I’ve seen floating around is Daniel Murphy, who is the poster child for a defensively-limited player who hits his way into the lineup every day. The other comparison is how the Yankees handled Rob Refsnyder, another college outfielder who they unsuccessfully attempted to convert to the infield.
Baseball America reported that “some observers believe Hauver could be an average defender at third base,” which could add to his versatility should the Yankees give him reps there. The team had him announced as a second baseman, so it appears his journey in pinstripes will begin there.
Fourth Round: Beck Way, RHP
Way began his college career pitching for Division II Belmont Abbey in North Carolina. He struck out 31 batters in 20.1 innings in his only season there as a reliever in 2018. Those strong numbers continued when he pitched in the Cape Cod League, as he racked up 18 strikeouts in just 13.2 innings out of the bullpen for the Cotuit Kettleers in 2019.
He then transferred to Northwest Florida State, where he was able to jump into the starting rotation. He made six starts, along with one relief appearance, and allowed just three earned runs while racking up 58 strikeouts against just nine walks. He showed impressive improvement in his command after walking an average of 6.4 per nine innings as a reliever for Belmont Abbey and in the CCL.
MLB.com ranked Way as their 95th overall draft prospect, and noted that his three pitches all “have the chance to be average or better”.
“He’ll throw his fastball in the 91-95 mph range and can reach back for a tick or two more. His slider is very good when he stays on top of the low-80s breaking ball, but he can get under it at times. He doesn’t use his mid-80s changeup much, but he’s athletic enough to believe it will be an effective offering in the future.”— MLB Pipeline scouting report
The Yankees have a history of helping pitchers develop velocity through their strength and conditioning programs. They also have made significant investments to help players improve pitch design.
“Way made huge strides in Cape Cod last summer where his fastball’s been up to 98,” Damon Oppenheimer said Friday in a media conference call, per NJ.com‘s Randy Miller. “He’s got good command of it to both sides of the plate. He has a loose, easy simple delivery to repeat (his mechanics). He’s got a really dynamic changeup that he feels comfortable using it in any count. His breaking ball is going to be firmed up with our pitch-design guys and it’s going to be an effective out pitch also.”
Way is committed to Louisiana State University for the 2021 season, so it’s unclear what kind of bonus he might require in order to forgo that commitment and join the Yankees organization.
The Yankees’ three picks in this draft carry a total slot value of $3,519,500. Per league rules, they are able to spend up to a 5% overage on signing bonuses – a total value of $3,695,475. The team would have to forfeit their first-round pick in 2021 if they spent over the 5% overage. No team has ever done this.
The Yankees have until August 1 to sign their draftees. The undrafted free agent signing period begins early next week, where teams are able to sign an unlimited number of players to a maximum bonus of $20,000.