Yankees Sign NDFA Daniel Aldrich

This isn't your typical non-drafted free agent. The new draft rules have created a more likely scenario of attractive draft eligible sophomores going undrafted, and as a result it's possible for them to sign as free agents. Cape Cod League standout, Daniel Aldrich, did just that this week, signing with the Yankees for a six figure sum and foregoing his junior year at College of Charleston.

It's no secret in the baseball world that the Yankees had a good chunk of money left over from their draft class. What most people didn't realize is that there was a talented enough player out there to give a sizable amount of that money to as a non-drafted free agent.

As it turns out, Daniel Aldrich, a slugging outfielder out of College of Charleston, was a non-drafted player that a large number of teams were after as he tore through Cape Cod League competition this summer. The lefty swinging Aldrich hit .350 with 10 home runs in 27 games for the Cotuit Kettleers and scouts were clearly taking notice.

Aldrich reportedly received a number of offers, but ended up settling on New York. According to sources, he will receive a $150,000 signing bonus. That type of money is not what you typically associate with a non-drafted free agent, but Aldrich is a truly unique case. Heading into next year's draft, he would likely be a top three round talent. In other words, his bonus would probably be significantly higher than what New York is giving him.



Scouting Daniel Aldrich

So, let's get down to the scouting report on Aldrich. I had been scouting Aldrich all summer on the Cape thinking of him as one of the better 2013 draft prospects in the country. And, as the above video shows, this is a young hitter with a game centered around a vicious power stroke.

Aldrich is a very unique hitter. He has one of the most aggressive swings you'll ever find, but he's also somewhat of a bad ball hitter. It's not unusual to see him take a pitch off the plate away and line it into left field. It's also not unusual to see him swing and miss at a fastball chin high. Sometimes his aggression works very much in his favor and other times it can make him look very bad. What the Yankee have to be banking on is that they can get him to stay within the strike zone just a little more often, so he can better utilize his plus bat speed and impressive hand-eye coordination.

What New York is also banking on is that Aldrich is going to hit a lot of home runs as a professional. As a college player, and especially this summer, Aldrich's batting practice sessions have become something of a legend. He shows huge power to straight away center field and to his pull side. Pure left-handed power is something clubs are always seeking and Aldrich has it.

As exciting as Aldrich is, there are plenty of shortcomings in his game. His plate discipline is indeed a big issue, and because of that he does swing and miss far too often. And, although he is very athletic, and runs and throws well, his play in the outfield is going to need polishing. More specifically, his routes and jumps will need to improve in right field.

In other words, what the Yankees are getting is a potentially very high reward slugger that has his share of deficiencies. If he continues to expand the strike zone in the pros, we won't see that special power come into play. But, giving yourself a chance to land a player with his type of bat speed and 40 home run potential for $150,000 is a chance you have to take every time.

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