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Sadly, Yankees miss out on all targets, pivot in  2024 Mock Draft

The New York Yankees are left in the dark and in a bind when it comes to what might happen in MLB.com’s dream world regarding the 2024 MLB Draft.

In the real world, these Yankees won’t be instantly rewarded with a top draft pick for finishing 82-80 in 2023, so they’ll need to show off their drafting and development skills once more this season.

The Yankees weren’t as fortunate as many others, even if the Draft Lottery was thrilling for many last year, enabling an unimpressive team like the Guardians to jump to the top pick and a team that almost made the playoffs in Cincinnati to select second.

Due to their extravagant spending, their first selection lost ten places, placing them in 26th place even though they had officially earned 16th (but again, money stuff).

By then, the majority of their standard options will likely be gone; unless the Red Sox decide to go back to prep bats, teams like Toronto, Boston, San Francisco, and Minnesota will be focusing on the kind of advanced college bats that the Yankees usually chase after.

The soothsayers of MLB.com predict that there will probably be a run on Yankees-type players, leading to New York selecting their first top selection pitcher since Clarke Schmidt, who turned out to be successful back in 2017.

They decided on Jonathan Santucci, a left-leaning expert with strong credentials and a commanding presence who presently works at Duke University.

The MLB’s judgment gives the impression that the Yankees were taken by surprise during this experiment and had to make a last-minute change of direction. Yes, there is mayhem even in their makeshift war room.

MLB Mock Draft: Jonathan Santucci, a pitcher from Duke, is selected by the Yankees (because all the collegiate hitters were gone).

(throws fist threateningly) If he knows what’s best for him, he should definitely join the Cape Cod League!

Who knows? After Alex Cora departs for more favorable circumstances, the Red Sox may decide to select Andrew Bailey. Perhaps Toronto mishandles the situation and chooses an off-the-board pick over Tommy White, the MLB-projected powerhouse third baseman from LSU (ugh, nice phony pick…).

However, it appears highly likely that the Yankees will be adding to the Matt Blake Pitching Factory this summer instead of bringing in a Wood Bat All-Star from college. Although it goes against the grain, it might not be a terrible thing.

In MLB’s mock, who’s behind the Yankees? The amazing Jurrangelo Cijntje of Mississippi State features two collegiate catchers and a switch-pitcher. Although many of the names who went off the board would have felt like a better match, the Faux-Yankees selected the most useful selection at number 26, despite the fact that you don’t choose for need.

Week 6 MLB Power Rankings: NL teams lead the shuffle in the top 5.

There has been a slight shift in the top five of this week’s Power Rankings following a few significant intraleague matches.

Atlanta has fallen to No. 4 in our rankings and to second place in the National League East, three games behind the division-foe Phillies, after the Dodgers defeated the Braves in the first meeting between the two titans this season.

On our list, Los Angeles has reclaimed the top spot, with Philadelphia now coming in second. Cleveland is trailing the Orioles and Yankees in the American League race overall, but they continue to battle it out atop their respective divisions.

Based on a combination of what we’ve previously seen and what we already knew heading into the 162-game marathon that is a whole baseball season, our panel of experts has ranked every team in baseball. Additionally, we requested observations for each of the 30 clubs from ESPN MLB specialists David Schoenfield, Bradford Doolittle, Jesse Rogers, Alden Gonzalez, and Jorge Castillo.

 

1. Dodgers of Los Angeles

Note: 26-13
Prior order: 3.

On Monday, Walker Buehler made his major league debut after missing almost 23 months of action. Even though he gave up three runs on six hits in four innings to the lowly Marlins, the peripherals, particularly his fastball’s velocity and his off-speed throws’ break, were encouraging. Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow have proven to be capable front-of-the-rotation starters. The offense, led by Freddie Freeman, Shohei Ohtani, and Mookie Betts at the top of the lineup, seems to be getting more dangerous every day. The Dodgers have also advanced to a new level collectively, having won 14 of their last 16 games overall and sweeping the Braves over the weekend. It almost seems unjust to throw a healthy Buehler into that mixture.Gonzalez

 

2. The Phillies of Philadelphia

Note: 26-12
Prior order: 5.

Over the weekend, the Phillies moved into first place in the NL East when they swept the Giants in a four-game series, coinciding with the Braves’ sweep at Dodger Stadium. The Phillies have only had one day in the lead in the previous two seasons—after the fourth game of 2022. Their current success can be attributed to Bryce Harper. On Tuesday, he went 3-for-3 with a grand slam, his third straight game with a home run, a soaring rocket into the first row in right-center field. Harper has played in 18 games this season, and in that time, the Phillies are 17-1. During that time, Harper has hit.333/.481/.667 with six home runs and 21 RBIs. His superb Statcast metrics at first base, where he ranks in the 93rd percentile of the range, show that he is still improving.

With Taijuan Walker returning, Spencer Turnbull has shifted to the bullpen despite having a 1.67 ERA as a starter due to the excellent start to the season. On Tuesday, Turnbull replied by pitching two scoreless innings of relief.– Schoenfield

 

3. Orioles of Baltimore

Note: 24-12
Prior order: 2.

The Orioles have the deepest lineup in the American League, which has scared the opposition throughout their recent winning streak. Eight of Baltimore’s last nine games—seven of which they have won—have seen their opponents held to three runs or fewer.Corbin Burnes has made seven starts and has a 2.83 ERA, living up to the hype.After being placed on the disabled list, Grayson Rodriguez was replaced in the rotation by Kyle Bradish and John Means. Means began the season with seven scoreless innings pitched. In his first start, Bradish gave up one run over four and a half innings versus the Yankees. Baltimore has the seventh-best staff ERA in the majors at 3.30. However, over his last five outings, veteran closer Craig Kimbrel has struggled, giving up six runs in 2⅓ innings.– Castillo

 

4. Atlanta Major League

Note: 22-12
Prior order: 1.

Sunday evening at 7 p.m. ET: Mets vs. Braves

The much-awaited matchup between the Dodgers and L.A. was a total disaster. won all three games of the series, outscoring and outlasting the Braves 20-6 and 9-3. Compared to last year’s incredible 1.89 home runs per game, the Braves finished the series averaging just 1.0 home runs per game. Following Sunday’s loss, Matt Olson’s home run slump reached 24 games.Although it was only his second home run of the season, Ronald Acuna Jr. hit one on Friday. Jarred Kelenic still doesn’t have a home run. Before the lineup burst during the final four, the Braves’ worst offensive months in 2023 were April and May. That should give fans some comfort. Nevertheless, the Braves ended the series trailing Philadelphia in the division, their lowest position since the third game of 2023—the only day they didn’t finish first in the previous campaign.– Schoenfield

 

5. Yankees in New York

Record: 25–13
Prior order: 4.

The Yankees may have been doomed if they had lost their greatest pitcher, possibly Greg Cole, for at least two months prior to the start of the season. However, Luis Gil has taken advantage of his chance to succeed as Cole’s successor, and New York’s rotation has continued to be strong. Last week, over six and a half innings, the 25-year-old right-hander kept the Orioles scoreless. On Tuesday, Gil pitched six innings and gave up just one run to the Astros. While leading the majors in walks, he has a 2.92 ERA in seven starts. In the meantime, Cole, who can go off the infield list at the end of the month, recently advanced in his rehabilitation by throwing off a mound for the first time since he was placed on the disabled list in the middle of March.– Castillo

 

6.Cleveland Guards

Note: 24-13
Prior order: 6.

Jose Ramirez’s debut seems intriguing so far. On the one hand, he has good power (seven home runs) and RBI (28 in his first 34 games), and his strikeout percentage is consistent with his career averages. However, despite a significant decrease in his walk rate and an increase in his chase rate of almost six percentage points from the previous season, he is hitting.245 with a.290 OBP. Ramirez’s chase rate was extremely high in 2018, in the 90th percentile, but it has actually dropped with each passing season, finishing in the 49th percentile the previous year. He falls into the 15th percentile in 2024. A better Ramirez will be required even though the Guardians are currently scoring runs thanks to a.293 average and a.463 slugging percentage when there are runners in scoring position (RISP). However, it will probably regress.– Schoenfield

 

7. Rangers from Texas

Note: 22-17
Prior order: 9.

Marcus Semien, a star player for the Rangers, is one person you can count on to be there. Semien led the AL in plate appearances in four of the five seasons from 2019 to 2023 as a leadoff hitter who never misses a game, and he is still at the top of the list. His season-to-date numbers at the plate are roughly around his career norms; the only notable difference is a slight deficiency in walks. On the field, though, Semien is making a compelling argument for a second career Gold Glove, having won his first in 2021 while playing second base for Toronto. Fangraphs’ DEF metric, which aggregates data from the top defensive assessment systems, shows that Semien tops all positions in the majors by a wide margin (7.6 runs above average). — Doolittle

 

8.Chicago Cubs

Note: 22-16
Prior order: 8.

Although there should have been more wins over the last week due to a remarkable run by the Cubs starting pitching staff, the accomplishments are nonetheless noteworthy. The rotation posted a 0.86 ERA in the first seven games of May, including four games in a row where they went seven or more innings without giving up a run. Shota Imanaga, a rookie, was eventually hit by a pitch on Tuesday after allowing a home run to Jackson Profar in the eighth inning of a 1-0 victory. His ERA increased to 1.08, still the best in MLB.– Rogers

 

9. Twins in Minnesota

Record: 15-21
Prior order: 14.

Byron Buxton’s 10-day IL stint last week due to right knee discomfort somewhat marred the Twins’ recent 12-game winning streak. Given that the gifted center fielder has only once in his ten-year career—in 2017—played more than 92 games in a season, history says it was only a matter of time. Despite having undergone two surgeries on the same knee, the Twins have expressed hope that he will make a quick recovery following the 10-day window. Before May had arrived, they had already placed their other two elite players on the injured list. Carlos Correa has returned, but Royce Lewis is still down. The players’ ability to stay healthy will determine the team’s postseason prospects.– Castillo

 

10. The Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 15-21
Prior order: 10.

Although pitchers’ win-loss statistics are meaningless these days, Milwaukee’s bullpen has a 14-4 record overall. When necessary, high-leverage pitches have been made, but is this sustainable? For instance, Elvis Peguero is 4-0 despite having a 1.69 WHIP and a.313 batting average. Nevertheless, the Brewers, led by Bryan Hudson and Hoby Milner, have had a strong pen. The Brewers’ ability to finish games despite losing Devin Williams is a credit to their pitching staff, even after manager Craig Counsell left.– Rogers

 

11. Mariners of Seattle

Note: 20–17
Prior order: 7.

When was the Mariners’ offseason strategy to reduce the strikeout percentage in the starting lineup? That hasn’t happened, but going into spring training, we understood that would be the case because you need to recruit players who make solid contact if you want to decrease strikeout rates. Jerry DiPoto, president of baseball operations, was unable to complete that task during the offseason. Still, it’s astonishing that there hasn’t been any decrease in strikeouts—instead, the issue is worse than it has ever been. According to baseball-reference.com, the Mariners have erred 10.38 times per game this season, which would raise their strikeout total from last season’s franchise-worst total by 0.48. Seattle is headed for a strikeout total of 1,682, which would surpass the previous season’s record of 1,654 set by Minnesota.– Doolittle

 

12. The Royals of Kansas City

Note: 22-16
Prior order: 13.

If nothing else, the rumors that the Royals were considering Luis Arraez before he was sold from Miami to San Diego are intriguing because they suggest that Kansas City is committed to expanding on its impressive start. An offensive inconsistency and a string of one-run losses have caused the early heat to cool. Part of the problems at the plate can be attributed to Salvador Perez’s unavoidable return to reality following his meteoric debut.

The outfield for the Royals, which collectively ranks lowest in average, on-base percentage, and OPS, is even more dysfunctional due to their complete lack of output. If the Royals were interested, it’s unclear how Arraez would have handled that situation. However, the most crucial thing to remember is that if the Royals want to stay competitive, they may very well be in add-on mode.– Doolittle

 

13. Red Sox of Boston

History: 19–18
Prior order: 11.

Masataka Yoshida, who may need surgery, is Boston’s newest member to the IL. He arrived with a left thumb injury. In his second year of a five-year, $90 million contract, Yoshida was slashing.275/.348/.388 in a limited position as the team’s regular designated hitter. However, the Red Sox have some positive injury news about their rotation.While Brady Bello (left ankle) started a rehab assignment on Tuesday, Nick Pivetta (elbow) was activated to start on Wednesday. Throwing fewer fastballs than any other set of starts, both right-handers would support a surprisingly strong rotation that has kept the Red Sox afloat with the best ERA in the majors.– Castillo

 

14. The Padres of San Diego

Note: 20-20
Prior order: 19.

Jeff Passan’s initial observations on MLB

 

A slight on the wane? Which teams are in trouble and which are legit? Let’s examine the most significant early patterns and their implications for the remainder of 2024.

Ten things you should be aware of

Let A.J. handle it. Early in May, Preller, the Padres’ incessantly busy general manager, will acquire a batting champion in the peak of his career. Preller accomplished this on Friday by trading Luis Arraez to the Marlins for a package of four prospects, and on Saturday, Arraez made his major league debut with four hits in a victory over the Diamondbacks. In 2024, Preller will have a constrained budget. But in his search for elite talent, he has shown unusual patience as opposed to trying to fill in the gaps with cheap labor. He demonstrated it by signing Dylan Cease, a front-line starter, right before his squad left for South Korea to start the season in late March. He demonstrated this by holding off on adding Arraez, who would have been a perfect fit at designated hitter and at the top of the lineup, until the second month of the season. Preller is now hoping that his club can turn things around.Gonzalez

 

15. Tigers of Detroit

History: 19–18
Prior position: 16

After a road trip that saw them lose two of three games to the division-foe Guardians and get swept by the Yankees, the Tigers’ bright start took a slight turn for the worse, dropping Detroit to fifth place after the trip. The Tigers’ starting pitchers, Jack Flaherty, Casey Mize, and Reed Olson, all had encouraging games, but aside from their 11-run performance on Tuesday, they primarily struggled offensively.Two of their most encouraging young players, Spencer Torkelson and Colt Keith, have combined for a.195/.266/.253 slash line this season and have not hit a home run in 268 plate appearances. Until those two get going, it’s difficult to envision the Tigers really taking off.Gonzalez

 

16. Rays of Tampa Bay

Note: 19-19
Prior order: 21

Ryan Pepiot took a 107.5-mph fastball off his left calf on Sunday, giving the Rays yet another fright given that they currently have six starting pitchers on the disabled list. Positively, tests did not show any structural damage, according to the Rays. The unfortunate news is that on Wednesday, Pepiot was put on a 15-day IL. His 3.68 ERA and 41 strikeouts in seven outings since being acquired from the Dodgers in the winter deal for Tyler Glasnow have made him a bright spot for the Rays’ injured pitching staff. Though things could have been worse, Pepiot will now miss time.– Castillo

 

17. Reds of Cincinnati

Note: 16–20
Prior order: 12

Cincinnati’s poor offensive performance is alarming. Elly De La Cruz is the only player with an OPS above.800, while Jonathan India and Spencer Steer aren’t performing up to par and Jeimer Candelario, a free agency acquisition, is only hitting.206. While Steer and India are at least reaching base, the squad as a whole is having trouble with that aspect of things. The Reds might overtake the poor Marlins in on-base percentage since they now sit 28th in that statistic. De La Cruz is also struggling, as he has only hit 136 so far in May. — Rogers

 

18. The New York Mets

Note: 18–18
Prior order: 18.

When Randy Arozarena of the Rays hit a two-out solo home run to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth and the Rays went on to win in the tenth, Edwin Diaz’s record of 26 straight save opportunities converted—which had been the longest stretch in the majors—came to an end on Sunday. With three home runs given up in his first 14.5 innings, Diaz has already matched the season total he gave up in 2021 and 2022 combined, when he pitched 62 innings in each of those seasons. It’s important to monitor Diaz’s home run rate to see if it becomes more of a problem because Mets fans will recall that during his rookie season in 2019, he was tagged for 15 home runs. — Schoenfield

 

19.Diamondbacks in Arizona

Note: 17–20
Prior position: 17.

April: assigning scores to each of the thirty teams

 

We break down whether your club is aceing—or failing—the early part of 2024, from only three A’s to one improbable F.

The D-backs had an incredible run to the World Series in 2023, but this season they have struggled against good teams. They have already lost series against the Dodgers, Padres, Mariners, Yankees, and Cubs. They were swept by the Braves in the beginning of April. (Arizona’s favorable run differential is mostly due to their victory over the lowly Rockies.) However, a significant positive might have happened on Tuesday night as the team defeated the Reds thanks to home runs and five runs scored by star outfielder Corbin Carroll, who had only hit.203/.297/.250 in his first 145 plate appearances. He feels that he has adjusted his swing path as needed. Carroll told The Arizona Republic, “I feel like my attack angle and vertical bat angle are becoming more where I want them to be, providing me a greater window for success.” Gonzalez

 

20. Blue Jays of Toronto

Note: 17–20
Prior order: 15.

As of Tuesday, Jose Berrios had the lowest ERA in the majors, at 1.44. After seven starts, the right-hander had given up seven runs in 43⅔ innings. Then something changed. In three and a half innings, the Phillies hammered him for eight runs, almost tripling his ERA to 2.85. For the 20th time in 36 games, Toronto’s offense was limited to fewer than four runs as the team fell 10-1. The outcome demonstrated how crucial the pitching staff of the Blue Jays, who are currently in last place, has been in preventing the team from falling too far down the standings. It will be a long summer in Toronto if Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and company don’t score more runs for the Blue Jays.– Castillo

 

21. Nationals of Washington

Note: 18–18
Prior order: 25

In Sunday’s series victory against Toronto, second baseman Luis Garcia Jr. went 4-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs, lifting his average to.337 with 19 RBIs (it currently stands at.321 with 20 RBIs). Garcia’s advanced analytics, which support his hot start, are outstanding. He ranks in the 93rd percentile for hard-hit rate, 90th for predicted batting average, and 91st for expected slugging. He doesn’t strike out as often. Even though he won’t be 24 until May 16th, he has made over 1,300 plate appearances in the major leagues. As one of the better-hitting second basemen, he appears to be making his mark.

 

22. Astros of Houston

 

The first few weeks of Josh Hader’s return to the Houston organization have not gone as planned. That’s partly his fault and partly the Astros’ collective fault. Regarding the latter, Hader’s first 15 games saw him earn just four save opportunities. Simply put, Houston hasn’t performed well enough to fully utilize his leverage. Despite having three saves, he has allowed runs in three of the four chances he has had. Hader has given up more runs (11) than he did in the entire previous season, has an ERA over 6, and has surrendered more defeats and blown saves (four total) than saves. The Astros may be able to give him a few more leads to defend in the near future with a soft pocket on the schedule. Will he be able to convert if that occurs?– Doolittle

 

23. Pirates of Pittsburgh

Record: 17–21
Prior position: 24

When Paul Skenes, the top pick in the 2023 draft, makes his Major League Baseball debut on Saturday against the Cubs, all eyes will be on PNC Park. At barely 21 years old, Skenes dominated at Triple-A, going 7–0 with a 0.99 ERA. In just 27⅓ innings, he struck out an incredible 45 batters. Some have compared him to Mark Prior right out of college and believe he is one of the top pitching prospects to reach the major leagues in recent memory. Skenes, a 6-foot-5 righty, definitely might have made the big leagues out of college ball, but his minor league stint served to heighten the excitement around his debut.– Rogers

 

24.Oakland Sports

Record: 18–21
Prior order: 27

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After defeating the Marlins 20-4 on Saturday to end a six-game winning streak, the Athletics appeared to be gaining some serious momentum. Oakland’s record is now even at 17–17 after that win, and under the present system, a.500 mark nearly always allows you to consider that final wild-card spot. Of course, it’s too soon to consider that, but considering the last few years, you could forgive any A’s supporter who is still dreaming of a miraculous campaign. Unfortunately, Oakland was outscored 47-33 and lost four of their last five games after their early-May peak. Oakland has played.500 ball away from “home” thus far this season, so that might put an end to any notions of.500 altogether before the team’s upcoming 10-game trip to Seattle, Houston, and Kansas City.– Doolittle

 

25. Giants of San Francisco

Record: 17–21
Prior order: 20

After losing a four-game road series at Philadelphia, where they scored 11 runs and fell to six games below.500, the Giants were recently swept. The Giants were rated 23rd in runs per game and 21st in on-base percentage when they arrived in Colorado early on Tuesday morning.Their three major offseason additions, Jung Hoo Lee, Matt Chapman, and Jorge Soler, as well as Mike Yastrzemski and Wilmer Flores, have all been below-average hitters.

Earlier this week, Giants manager Bob Melvin told reporters, “We had to clean it up; we got to play better.” “We weren’t playing well when we left home, so I felt [being on the road] may be a really good spot for us, and now we’re playing terrible.” — Gonzalez

 

26. Cardinals in St. Louis

Record: 15–21
Prior position: 23

With catcher Wilson Contreras suffering a serious blow to his already struggling team in fracturing his left forearm, it seems like everything that could go wrong for St. Louis is continuing to go wrong. Before he was injured, he was the team leader in doubles, home runs, and OPS. Ivan Herrera, the backup, is competent enough, but he lacks Contreras’ explosiveness. The tragedy is compounded by the struggles of Paul Goldschmidt and others. For the Cardinals to succeed, someone will have to step up, and it might take a few players to get their offense rolling.– Rogers

 

27. Angels of Los Angeles

Record: 14–23
Prior position: 26

How well a team’s compensation hierarchy aligns with its productivity leaderboard is one way to assess its success. For the Angels, a cursory look at those two lists reveals a team that has become stuck in the cycle of contention. The following five Angels are the most paid this season, per Cot’s Contracts: Robert Stephenson (out for the season), Tyler Anderson (healthy and has been their best player), Anthony Rendon (hurt), and Aaron Hicks (released May 1). Given his track record and fair contract ($13 million this season and next), Anderson has been reliable and would be a desirable name on the in-season trade market. You eventually come to the conclusion that the Halos must become forceful in obtaining future value in any way they can.– Doolittle

 

28.Miami Marlins

Note: 10–29
Prior position: 28

The Marlins transferred Luis Arraez to the Padres in exchange for four prospects because of their dismal start and thought it wasn’t necessary to wait until July. The main player involved in the trade was center fielder Dillon Head, the 25th pick in the 2023 draft; outfielder Jakob Marsee, first baseman Nathan Martorella, and reliever Woo-Suk Go were also traded to Miami. In his first season leading baseball operations, Peter Bendix of the Marlins stated simply, “We are unlikely to make the playoffs this year.”

Though there are no surefire stars in that group, the move was largely well received; for the Marlins, it simply means more spinning in the muck. Though there’s not much quality here that would pique the curiosity of other teams, you could wonder who’s next. Perhaps Jesus Luzardo, although he’s now on the IL due to an elbow strain. — Schoenfield

 

29.Colorado Mountains

Note: 8-28
Prior position: 29

How far is your favorite team from taking home the championship?

The Rockies’ season of lows reached a new level last week when they were swept by the Marlins, of all teams. With two of those defeats coming in walk-off fashion, Colorado was now 17 games below 500 and 12 games out of first place. Despite winning 11 series so far this season, the Rockies have not yet claimed a single victory. They are now on track to lose a lot more games in 2024 than they did in 2023, when they set a franchise record with 103 losses. Their pitching is lacking, which is perhaps not shocking. Their persistent lack of offense is unexpected given their native milieu. The Rockies have only hit 28 home runs, which is the fourth fewest in the league, and are 24th in slugging %. It is not logical.Gonzalez

 

30. The Chicago White Sox

Note: 9–28
Prior order: 30

Since spring training, the White Sox have made it clear that they are a go, so it should not be shocking that Robbie Grossman was traded to the Rangers on Wednesday in exchange for minor league pitcher Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa. Recently, the team recruited Mike Clevinger and Tommy Pham, which made room for other players to be transferred. Many clubs are already playing through their season, and Chicago is among the two that have already made trades in early May. That pattern will be maintained well into the summer by the White Sox and Marlins.– Roger

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