Having selected Austin Wells, Trevor Hauver and Beck Way with their first-, third- and fourth-round picks of this year’s shortened MLB Draft, the Yankees are now free to sign an unlimited number of draft-eligible players who were not among the 160 selected last week. The maximum bonus they can offer is $20,000.
The maximum bonus is a fraction of what players drafted in the late rounds would typically receive. The Yankees 10th round pick in 2019, 315th overall, carried a slot value of $142,200 – that makes a $20,000 bonus an 85% decrease. The Yankees used the 315th pick on right-handed pitcher Mitch Spence, who signed and spent 2019 in advanced-rookie Pulaski.
The Yankees have not officially confirmed any signings of undrafted players, but Baseball America has reported agreements with the following three players:
Carson Coleman, RHP (Kentucky)
Coleman had originally been drafted in 2019 by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 33rd round as a draft-eligible sophomore. He was coming off a rough season as a reliever where he allowed 16 earned runs in 28 innings pitched for Kentucky. He declined to sign with Tampa and returned to Kentucky for his junior season. He showed strong strikeout ability, averaging 13.6 strikeouts per nine innings across his tenure with the Wildcats (53⅔ innings).
Like everyone else involved in this Yankees draft class, Coleman spent time pitching in the Cape Cod League – putting up a 2.57 ERA in a small 14-inning sample size across two seasons.
The biggest hurdle for Coleman will be improvement in his command. Across both college and the CCL, a 63-game sample size, he walked 5.7 batters per nine innings. The Yankees pitching development team will be tasked with maintaining his strikeout stuff while reducing his penchant for issuing free passes.
Coleman was not ranked in Baseball America‘s top 500 draft prospects, but will not return to Kentucky in an attempt to be drafted again in 2021. His signing bonus amount has not been reported at this time.
Trevor Holloway, RHP (Central Florida)
Holloway is a well-traveled college pitcher, having began his career at High Point University, transferring to Chipola College for his sophomore year and then finishing up with his redshirt sophomore and junior years at the University of Central Florida. He started 13 games at High Point in 2017, allowing 33 earned runs in 60.1 innings (4.92 ERA) and allowing 34 walks to just 45 strikeouts (5.1 BB/9 to 6.7 K/9).
After transferring to Chipola in 2018, which plays in the same division as fourth round pick Beck Way’s Northwestern Florida State junior college, Holloway made 13 starts and five relief appearances. He posted a 3.36 ERA in 75 innings, which included two complete games. He upped his strikeout rate to 9.96 per nine innings, which must have been part of what attracted UCF.
Holloway made 10 starts for UCF across two seasons, allowing just nine earned runs across 49.1 innings (1.64 ERA) with 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings. The UCF website refers to Holloway as a redshirt junior, likely due to the season-ending arm injury he suffered during the 2019 season. His signing bonus amount has not been reported at this time.
Jarod Lessar, RHP (Brigham Young)
After starting his college baseball career for Utah State University Eastern, Lessar transferred to Brigham Young University for his sophomore and junior seasons. His career there spanned 65 innings, allowing 24 earned runs (4.43 ERA) on 55 hits (10.1 H/9) with 44 strikeouts (8.2 K/9) and 16 walks (3.0 BB/9).
Unlike the other two pitchers signed by the Yankees, it appears control is not an issue for Lessar. The Yankees pitching development team will work to help fine-tune his command in order to increase his strikeouts and lower how many hits he’s allowing.
Like Coleman and Holloway, Lessar is leaving college eligibility on the table to sign with the Yankees. His signing bonus amount has not been reported at this time.