The Yankees took outfielder Zack Zehner in the 18th round of the 2015 draft.The pick—like most late-round picks—was met with little fanfare. It seemed at the time that scouts had soured on him, as he was drafted much earlier in 2014 (8th round by the Blue Jays). This makes sense as in 2015 Zehner continued to show a surprisingly little power relative to his frame, and size. Throughout his college career Zehner demonstrated a good hit tool, and that he knew how to get on-base, but never showed much power.
Unfortunately, he didn’t show that much power in 2016 either, he did however bounce back from his 2015 season. He began the 2016 season in A+, and played his entire season– 109 games– at the level. He wasn’t promoted to Trenton at the end of the year, but that was mostly due to the depth the Yankees have at the position. He certainly played well enough for that kind of opportunity. After all he was named as a FSL Post-Season All-Star.
In his 109 games, he put up the following numbers: .278 AVG, .384 OBP, .374 SLG, .363 wOBA, 129 wRC+, 14% BB%, 20% K%. His low SLG, his .109 ISO and the fact he hit only 3 homers, are all different ways to express his main weakness, which is that he must show more in-game power to be considered a future major-leaguer.
With that said he also has his strengths, and that’s mainly his approach at the plate. He had 63 walks last season, which was the 7th best mark in the FSL, and he finished 15th in the league in OBP (min. 60 PA). However, power is very important, especially since he isn’t a center-fielder. As a matter of fact, even if he was a center-fielder he would still need to improve his power as it would be one of the lowest ISO’s for an outfielder in baseball.
Unless he has Ben Revere’s speed, or Ender Inciarte’s defensive prowess there really isn’t much value to his overall game unless he starts hitting for more power. He’ll have the opportunity to prove his worth next season in AA, and could reach AAA later this season if he exhibits more power.
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