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Archive for June 7th, 2010

The Yankees threw most draft watchers a curve by selecting unheralded Cito Culver, a short stop out of Irondequoit High School in Rochester, New York. With several highly touted names like Anthony Ranaudo, Peter Tago, Tyrell Jenkins and Nick Castellanos still on the board, the choice of Culver, who was ranked outside of most pre-draft top-100 projections, is curious to say the least.

The Yankees have been following Culver since last summer, so perhaps they’ve seen something that everyone else has overlooked. As a 17-year old, switch hitting short stop, Culver clearly offers a considerable payoff, so this may simply be a case of high risk/high reward. Then again, it could also suggest that the Yankees were simply not willing to go over slot for some of the more established names that were still available. Although Culver, who has a commitment to attend the University of Maryland, will not be cheap, it stands to reason that he will not command as much of a bonus as those ranked far ahead of him.

Regardless of their motivation, the Yankees have now clearly shifted away from their strategy of drafting college age pitchers and are now focusing on replenishing their system with athletic, tools oriented position players. Last year, the Yankees also went for up-the-middle talent by selecting high school centerfielder Slade Heathcott. Of course, the team’s aging position players likely means a contingency plan will be necessary before guys like Culver and Heathcott will be ready to contribute.

Before getting too carried away with draft analysis, it is important to remember that amateur projections in baseball are far from an exact science. For all we know, the Yankees’ future short stop may not be Culver, but someone selected much later in the draft (or even more likely, someone currently playing for another team). For some perspective, listed below is a break down of the Yankees’ past first round selections.

Yankees First Rounder Selections By Year

Year Pick Player
2010 32 Cito Culver (unsigned)
2009 29 Zachary Heathcott (minors)
2008 28 Gerrit Cole (unsigned)
2008 44 Jeremy Bleich (minors)
2007 30 Andrew Brackman (minors)
2006 21 Ian Kennedy
2006 41 Joba Chamberlain
2005 17 Carl Henry (minors)
2004 23 Phil Hughes
2004 37 Jonathan Poterson (minors)
2004 41 Jeffrey Marquez (minors)
2003 27 Eric Duncan (minors)
2001 23 John-Ford Griffin
2001 34 Bronson Sardinha
2001 42 Jon Skaggs (minors)
2000 28 David Parrish (minors)
1999 27 David Walling (minors)
1998 24 Andy Brown (minors)
1998 43 Mark Prior
1997 24 Tyrell Godwin
1997 40 Ryan Bradley
1996 20 Eric Milton
1995 27 Shea Morenz (minors)
1994 24 Brian Buchanan
1993 13 Matt Drews (minors)
1992 6 Derek Jeter
1991 1 Brien Taylor (minors)
1990 10 Carl Everett
1985 28 Anthony Balabon (minors)
1984 22 Jeff Pries (minors)
1978 18 Rex Hudler
1978 24 Matt Winters
1978 26 Brian Ryder (minors)
1977 23 Steve Taylor
1976 16 Pat Tabler
1975 19 Jim McDonald
1974 12 Dennis Sherrill
1973 13 Doug Heinhold
1972 14 Scott McGregor
1971 19 Terry Whitfield
1970 12 Dave Cheadle
1969 11 Charlie Spikes
1968 4 Thurman Munson
1967 1 Ron Blomberg
1966 10 Jim Lyttle
1965 19 Bill Burbach

Yankees First Rounder Selections By Position/School

Position Count Most Notable
C 3 Thurman Munson
1B 3 Ron Blomberg
2B 0  
SS 6 Derek Jeter
3B 2 Charlie Spikes
OF 10 Carl Everett
RHP 17 Mark Prior
LHP 5 Scott McGregor
Drafted From    
4-Year College 17  
Jr. College 1  
High School 28  

Yankees First Rounder Selections Ranked By WAR

Drafted Player Pos WAR
1992 Derek Jeter SS 68.8
1968 Thurman Munson C 43.4
1990 Carl Everett OF 18.4
1972 Scott McGregor LHP 17.5
1996 Eric Milton LHP 13.9
1998 Mark Prior RHP 13.7
1967 Ron Blomberg 1B 8.7
1978 Rex Hudler SS 5.3
1971 Terry Whitfield OF 4.6
2006 Joba Chamberlain RHP 4.3
1976 Pat Tabler OF 2.7
2004 Phil Hughes RHP 2.2
2001 John-Ford Griffin OF 0.3
1966 Jim Lyttle OF 0.1
1974 Dennis Sherrill SS 0
1997 Tyrell Godwin OF -0.1
1997 Ryan Bradley RHP -0.1
1994 Brian Buchanan 1B -0.2
1969 Charlie Spikes 3B -0.2
2001 Bronson Sardinha SS -0.3
1970 Dave Cheadle LHP -0.3
2006 Ian Kennedy RHP -0.4
1978 Matt Winters OF -0.6
1965 Bill Burbach RHP -1.7

Note: Only players with major league experience listed.

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17-year old Bryce Harper is the face of the 2010 amateur draft.

On the eve of unveiling last year’s prize from the 2009 amateur draft, the Nationals are once again projected to get a very special player with the first pick in this year’s draft, which begins tonight at 7:00PM ET. Although not as highly touted as Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper is this year’s wunderkind. Harper, a 17-year old catcher who accelerated his high school graduation so he could enroll at a junior college and hasten his entry into the draft, is universally regarded as not only the best player available, but one of the more advanced hitters at his age in recent memory.

Tempering the Nationals’ good fortune of getting to select two of the most promising number one picks in the history of the draft is the fact that they will once again have to negotiate with Scott Boras, meaning the team can expect to pay somewhere close to fair value. Even more daunting for the Nationals this time around is the leverage possessed by Harper thanks to his young age. Unlike a college player with no leverage, or even a high school player who is already 18, Harper could opt not to sign, play a second year in junior college and still be as young as a high school senior entering  the 2011 draft. Sounds like a master plan that only someone like Scott Boras could devise.

With all of that drama as a backdrop for tonight’s draft, which is slowly gaining traction as an attention getting event, the Yankees find themselves once again picking at the end of the first round (a small price to pay for winning the World Series). As always, the Yankees are rumored to be a likely landing spot for several players with signability issues, but at such a late slot in the first round, that’s really nothing more than conjecture. Listed below is a quick summary of the Yankees’ projected pick with the 32nd overall selection, based on the mock drafts of several noted amateur baseball analysts.

Analyst Draftee School
Keith Law, ESPN.com Tyrell Jenkins, RHP Henderson HS (Texas)
Jim Callis, Baseball America Christian Yelich, 1B Westlake HS (CA)
Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com Austin Wates, OF Virginia Tech
John Sickels, minorleagueball.com Tyrell Jenkins, RHP Henderson HS (Texas)
Kevin Goldstein, Baseball Prospectus Gary Brown, OF Cal State Fullerton
Frankie Piliere, mlb.fanhouse.com Jedd Gyorko, SS West Virginia

For a complete scouting report on each player, along with video, check out the MLB.com’s Draft Central.

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