A closer look at the Yankees' 2019 draft class

By Cory Hilborne / Pulaski Yankees | June 7, 2019 1:05 PM

The New York Yankees selected a total of 41 players during the 2019 MLB First Year Player Draft. Of those 41 players, 31 come from the college ranks and 10 were selected right out of high school. A total of seven players from the 2018 Yankees draft class suited up in a Pulaski Yankees uniform over the course of last season. While we don't know who will end up in Pulaski as of now, here is a more detailed look at some names to keep an eye out for during the 2019 season.


Anthony Volpe - Shortstop - Watchung, N.J. - Delbarton High School


Volpe was the top New York Yankees selection of this draft as they took him in the first round at 30th overall. Volpe was selected right out of high school but has already competed against some very quality competition. His high school participated in USA Baseball's National High School Invitational this spring and he was also on the roster of the 18-and-under Team USA that won a gold medal last fall. Volpe is committed to play baseball at Vanderbilt so we will wait and see if the Yankees will be able to sign him to a contract.


Jack Leiter - RHP - Summit, N.J. - Delbarton High School


Leiter was a surprise pick by the Yankees in the 20th round for many reasons. The first reason being that Leiter was actually available that late into the draft. According to MLB Pipeline, Leiter was the 33rd ranked prospect in this draft class and one of the top pitchers available. However, a lot of people and organizations feel that it will be hard to convince Leiter to sign a contract instead of honor his commitment to play at Vanderbilt next season. Some sources surrounding Leiter have stated that the Yankees were one of the teams that have a chance to convince him to sign but that is yet to be determined. The Yankees might also have another advantage to signing Leiter and that was drafting his high school teammate and fellow Vanderbilt commit Anthony Volpe in the first round.


TJ Sikkema - LHP - DeWitt, IA - University of Missouri


Sikkema was another highly touted pitcher in this draft class and drafted by the Yankees with the 38th overall pick in the Competitive Balance Round A. He had an outstanding junior season at Missouri and faced some quality competition inside the South Eastern Conference. Sikkema has three very effective pitches and has bounced around with different roles on Missouri's staff and has exceled in them all. According to MLB Pipeline, Sikkema has one of the higher ceilings among pitchers in this draft class and could be utilized out of the bullpen in the Majors in just a few seasons. The Des Moines Register has also reported that Sikkema was flying to Tampa this week and plans to sign with the Yankees.



Jake Agnos - LHP - Haymarket, VA - East Carolina University


Agnos was selected by the Yankees in the fourth round (135 overall) and is an interesting pick to keep an eye out for his play on the field and his Virginia connection. Agnos is a native of Haymarket, VA and has had a very productive junior season for East Carolina thus far. He was named the American Athletic Conference 2019 Pitcher of the Year and entered postseason play by recording 31 consecutive scoreless innings. Agnos also set an ECU record for single-season strikeouts with 124 K's in just 83 innings pitched. Agnos and his East Carolina teammates will continue their season this weekend as they take on Louisville in the NCAA Super Regional's. You can watch the games on the ESPN network and get an early eye on Agnos if you choose.


Chase Illig - C - Bluefield, W. VA - West Virginia University


Illig, a Bluefield, West Virginia native, was selected by the Yankees in the 29th round (885 overall). The Bristol Herald Courier has reported that Illig has already chosen to forego his senior season and plans to travel to Florida this week to have a physical and will sign with the Yankees. Illig's ties to southwest Virginia will make him a fan favorite if he does in play in Pulaski at some point in his career. Illig was not able to play in 2019 due to a fracture in his left foot that occurred two weeks before the season started. He did play in 2017 and 2018 for West Virginia and accumulated a .223 batting average with 35 RBI and eight homeruns in 80 games played.


Fun Fact: The Yankees also drafted three sets of teammates in this year's draft: Volpe and Leiter from Delbarton High School, Agnos and Evan Voliva (18th round, 555 overall) from East Carolina University, and Ken Waldichuk (5th round, 165 overall) and Kevin Milam (14th round, 435 overall) from Saint Mary's College in California.


All together, the Yankees drafted eight players who were ranked in the Top-200 available according to MLB Pipeline. A position-by-position breakdown shows that the Yankees drafted 25 pitchers (16-RHP /9-LHP), 2 catchers, 9 infielders and five outfielders.


This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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