Prospect Profile: Strikeout artist Danny Watson
Right-handed relief pitcher
Draft: 15th round of the 2021 draft out of Virginia Commonwealth University
In addition to Jack Neely and Bailey Dees, the Yankees drafted a third huge pitcher in 2021. Watson is still young, and spent the whole season in Low-A last year. He had respectable numbers, finishing with 66 K : 36 BB and a 4.01 ERA in 58.1 innings. This was pretty similar to the season he had in 2021 for Virginia Commonwealth.
Similar to Neely and Dees, Watson carries with him a substantial ceiling for a player drafted in the 15th round. At the time he was drafted, Watson was already hitting 96 mph regularly on the radar gun and had a nice slider to complement it. The Yankees have worked with him to improve his control power, velocity, and secondary pitches.
Watson began the year at High-A, where he has excelled. He has a 2.45 ERA and 28 K : 8 BB in 14.2 innings. That's an incredible strikeout rate, and unsurprisingly batters have a .164 average against him. He still needs work on his control, but he has clearly come a long way since last year. He could see time in Double-A this year if the success continues.
At his size, it’s not hard to envision the ways Watson could improve to become a major league asset. Getting the velocity up, improving his extension, and getting better movement on the secondary pitches could lead to a high ceiling as a late inning reliever. The Yankees have a bunch of these types of players in their system, and the competition will be tough. I’d be surprised if at least one of these three large athletes doesn’t make it to the show. Watson is as likely as the other two to reach those heights.
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