Yankees MLB Draft 2017: Yankees select OF Canaan Smith from Rockwall-Heath High School with the 122nd pick of the fourth round

In the fourth round of the 2017 MLB draft, the New York Yankees selected 18-year old outfielder Canaan Smith from Rockwall-Heath High School in Rockwall, TX. The 122nd pick overall, Smith is the first position player drafted by the Yanks and is a very talented young player.
Photo Credit: Daily Times

Canaan Smith wasn’t exactly expected to go this early, but shows a ton of potential. Smith has collected multiple accolades from Perfect Game USA, the nation's number one scouting service, including 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American. He was also All-Region first team in 2017. In the fall of 2017, Smith played on the Texas Scout Team Yankees in the WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, a team affiliated with the Yankees. Before that, he played on the prestigious Dallas Tigers baseball club, a club that has produced successful players  like Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber, Michael Kopech, and Beau Burrows.

Canaan Smith has committed to play college baseball for the Razorbacks of Arkansas, the school that the Yankees’ third round pick Trevor Stephan attended. A dual-sport athlete in baseball and football, Smith could have played both at a very high collegiate level.

Canaan Smith’s biggest threat is without a doubt his powerful, left-handed bat. With a frame of 6’1” and 210 pounds, he already looks the part. A primary catcher/first baseman, the Yankees decided they want him to play outfield. This decision probably comes because of his power, speed, and plus arm.

Canaan Smith has an extremely high ceiling. Baseball America ranked him as the 59th best outfield prospect in this years draft, a list that included names like Jordan Adell of Louisville and Jeren Kendall of Vanderbilt. Listed as the 365th best overall prospect, the Yankees must have really loved what they saw while scouting him to take him 122nd overall.

The upside of drafting high school players early is that it gives them a very difficult decision to make. Drafting Canaan Smith earlier than later gives the Yankees a much greater opportunity to sign him. If he had been taken later, it would be more unlikely for a team to sign a player that is committed to an SEC program like the Arkansas Razorbacks, who is coming off a very good season.

The Yankees made a solid pick, although it will take a longer time to develop Smith opposed to a college outfielder. Going from high school competition to professional competition is a huge jump, but they will be patient with Canaan Smith, who shows very promising tools to have a solid career as a professional outfielder.

Article by: Noah Clement


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