As the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft gets closer, the New York Yankees are continuing to look at which players could be a fit for them with the 23rd pick. One player that has good power potential towards the bottom of the first round is third baseman/first baseman Triston Casas.
Casas, who plays for the American Heritage School in Florida, is a left-handed hitter that can play both of the corner infield positions (third base and first base). He is committed to joining the Miami (Florida) baseball team this Fall, but that could all depend on where he is drafted in three weeks. Here is some video of his swing courtesy of 2080 Baseball
In Baseball America’s latest mock draft (subscription only), they had Casas as the pick for the Yankees in the first round and one of the things that the publication noted was that “It’s sounding like the Yankees want to go after a hitter at No. 23.”
This season, Casas hit .393 with six home runs and 29 RBIs in 24 games. It is a small sample size, but his plate discipline is good if you go off the fact he has three times as many walks (27) as strikeouts (9). Plus, he was a pitcher in a few games (15 strikeouts to three walks in 7.1 innings). Back in March, Perfect Game talked about Casas and how the power is going to be a big part of his game, but there are some concerns about his swing:
“The Miami commit has shown over the summer circuit that he’s got big raw power that plays to all fields. The swing path will get long at times, it normally does when utilizing a power approach, however the timing looked to be off a bit during this viewing.”
Now, corner infield is not usually something the Yankees draft high if you look at their recent history. Since 1995, the Yankees have drafted three corner infielders in the first round. Those three are Eric Duncan (2003), Dante Bichette Jr. (2011), and Eric Jagielo (2013).
At the same time, Casas might be a good pick here because the Yankees can develop him at their own pace. With Greg Bird in the majors and a good amount of first base prospects at the upper tiers of the farm system (Mike Ford, Ryan McBroom, Chris Gittens, etc.), they can work on Casas’ swing like they did with Aaron Judge when he was drafted out of Fresno State in the first round back in 2013.
The dilemma the Yankees might have is if they like Casas that much, they might have to take him with the 23rd pick because it would be unlikely that he would fall to them late in the second round (pick 61). However, part of having a strong farm system is that the Yankees can take a risk on a player that they like and try to develop those raw tools slowly.
They have had success with Judge, so why not try it again with Casas? Only time will tell, but the power could open a lot of eyeballs between now and the first night of the MLB Draft.