2008 Draft Review

Game 64: Three out of four is always nice
Yanks split a series with sad Royals

After months and months of anticipation, the draft has finally come and gone, and all I have to say is: Thank God. It’s fun trying to find hidden gems and discussing who your team should take, but the actual event can be like watching linoleum curl. Televising the draft was a great idea, and it’s amazing how far draft coverage has come in the last 10-15 years, but it’s time to go back to the old rapid fire conference call. Four hours for 46 picks is just too long, sorry.

The Yanks employed their tried and true philosophy of taking the best talent available on their board regardless of bonus demands. While they didn’t land any of the sexy names in the later rounds like we’re accustomed too, Damon Oppenheimer & Co. still selected a bevy of high ceiling players late to supplement the talent they took at the top of the draft.

Obviously, the big prize is first rounder Gerrit Cole, a UCLA recruit who was ranked as one of top three high school pitchers in the country all year long, but other prep pitchers like Brett Marshall, Mikey O’Brien and Matt Richardson all bring a similar package of stuff, projectability and youth. To diversify the portfolio, so to speak, the Yanks also took safer college arms like Jeremy Bleich, Scott Bittle and Luke Greinke. Bleich and prepsters Blake Monar & Chris Dwyer give the club a solid group of southpaws for the farm system, which is all but devoid of quality lefties.

On the position player side, the Yanks went for youth and hitting ability up the middle with high schoolers Corban Joseph, Chris Smith, Garrison Lassiter and Sam Mende, and balanced them out with proven college bats like David Adams, Dan Brewer, Jack Rye and Luke Anders. Kyle Higashioka and Ben McMahan add to an already impressively deep crop of young catching, and Addison Maruszak is a prime conversion candidate.

Overall, I’m pleased with the haul. They landed high upside talent on the mound at up-the-middle positions, which are the critical areas of any baseball team. You can see all of the Yanks picks here. Selecting the players was only half the battle. Now they have to get them signed.

Game 64: Three out of four is always nice
Yanks split a series with sad Royals
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

    LoL, I still wanted Tim Melville (who the Royals say they will go after hard) and Jamie Mallard.

    Outside of the first three picks, Chris Smith and Brett Marshall, I do not know much about these draft picks. However, I do trust Damon Oppenhemer and Co. so I am extremely confident in this draft class.

    Let’s just play a stupid game here, out of all the Yankees’ pitching prospects (2008 draft class included), who would you want in the 5-man rotation four years from now if everybody developed successfully (hence the game part)?

    1. Joba Chamberlain
    2. Andrew Brackman
    3. Phil Hughes
    4. Chris Garcia
    5. Gerrit Cole

    I haven’t seen that many #1’s since Yankee fans let Curt Schilling know how they feel about him in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS…zing! You really understand why Baseball America ranked the Yanks’ farm system #2 behind Tampa Bay in terms of pitching, I mean God Damn.

    • Geno

      I like that game!

    • http://mike@riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Betances has to be in there somewhere.

      • dave b.

        zach mcallister should be in the discussion as well

        • Adam

          and mike mussina.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

        I was so shocked but he wasn’t. Outside of Garcia, Betances and Jairo Heredia are neck and neck for my second favorite pitching prospects in our farm system. But honestly, who would he be above if everything works out? I can see him going over Cole because of the size advantage, but other than that I can’t see anybody else.

        Thinking about it now I should have put Betances over Cole.

    • Reggie C

      Could there be such a thing as too many potential starting pitchers in a farm? Gerrit Cole is potentially a Joba level pitcher. Brackman is potentially a Joba level pitcher. Joba is potentially a … you get my drift.

      Anyways, we’re all assuming that the rotation doesn’t feature at least 1 free agent starter. These are the Yanks!! That means we’re probably gonna get CC Sabathia. And we’re gonna lead additional veteran stability — in the guise of Wang.

      Gents (there are no ladies on these boards) .. here are your 2010 Yanks:
      1. Sabathia
      2. Joba
      3. Wang
      4. Hughes
      5. Brackman (BEST CASE SCENARIO)
      — IPK has been traded.
      — Horne is pitching for the Pirates for the next great Pirate LHP reliever.
      — Betances is in AAA. Still walking too many guys. Set up guy?
      — McAllister should be killin the comp at AAA.
      — Gerrit Cole is in High A. He’s a top 20 prospect in baseball.

      • Eric

        You do realize a lot happens in 2 years right?

  • Colin

    yeah, they made some good selections late, but i feel like many of the high upside guys taken late might not sign, we’ll have to see what happens come Aug. 15th

  • vinny-b

    1) Joba

    2) Betances

    3) Garcia

    4) Hughes

    5) Brackman/Cole

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    You have to remember that attrition is a bitch. Of Garcia, Cole, Brackman, Betances and McAllister, the Yankees will be very lucky if two work out. If one works out, and a second falls short of his ceiling but is still a decent ML arm, the Yanks should be happy.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if two of those guys I mentioned never pitch above AA. It’s the harsh reality of prospects.

    • Reggie C

      Nicely put Mike.

      That’s why you gotta account for a FA or two (Sabathia) AND a veteran like Wang probably hanging around in pinstripes. Its too early to say definitively but attrition is gonna hit the Joba / Hughes / IPK class too.

      I’m looking for 1 ace (Joba) and 1 mainstay (Hughes) from that class to come through.

      I like Chris Garcia’s pure stuff but i absolutely won’t put him on any SP list until he puts up a great campaign. Preferably this year!!

    • http://yankeesfuture.wordpress.com Pablo Zevallos

      I’d say the most likely to bust out of those are Garcia and Brackman

  • The Scout

    Someone gets hurt; someone doesn’t develop as you expect; etc. My rule of thumb: it takes ten pitching prospects to produce one bona fide major league pitching star. You can NEVER have too many pitching prospects.

  • Robbie

    I think Blake Monar & Chris Dwyer are two that we definitely need to sign. They are two of the top high school LHPs in the draft even though neither was as hyped as some of the others.

  • Tony

    I really feel like they got no one with plus power, no future 30-45 hr guys. CAn anyone please tell me other wise?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Montero has that kind of power. 30-45 HR guys don’t grow on trees, most ML clubs don’t have a prospect with that kind of power.

  • http://www.thecollegebaseballblog.com NewYorkDore

    I posted this on the interview post with Brian Foley of the collegebaseballblog (I’m a writer over there). I’ll repost here:


    It hurt Brian so much to do this for a Yankees site (I say as a Yanks fan).

    FWIW, Brian oversells Pedro Alvarez’ struggles in the field. His reaction time is good, arm is average and just needs to work on his consistency (don’t forget that Jeter had 50+ errors as a 19 year old).

    I’m one of Brian’s collegues from TCCB and wanted to chime in on our Yanks’ draft with the players I’ve seen:

    28. Gerrit Cole – Love this kid’s upside. He has a legit big time arm and should project well with proper development.

    75. Joe Bittle – Quite simply, he had the most outstanding season of any pitcher in the country. His cutter doesn’t have Rivera velo, but it was just as effective in the SEC this year. He’s not blessed with great height, but if they can add a few MPHs to his arm, I really like this pick. At the same time, I’m not sure he wouldn’t have been around in Round 4.

    140. Corban Joseph – Didn’t see him, but as my contacts are all in middle TN and I’ve followed some of his teammates at Vandy, I can say I’ve heard good things. Vandy didn’t recruit him hard out of their backyard and with an inside track, so that means either he wasn’t serious about school or that he might have been drafted a bit too high. Sounded great in his Perfect Game scouting report.

    380. Luke Greinke – Blah selection. Never really impressed me as a pro prospect, though Vandy didn’t play Auburn this year, so I don’t know if he made any strides.

    620. Pat Venditte – YES. Staten Island is going to love this kid. Preseason All American with the ability to back it up. He’s an “Amphibious” (to quote an NBA player) pitcher, meaning he can throw lefty to one batter and then righty to the next. I doubt the Yanks will let him through lefty as a pro, but his stats a year ago bore out that the can throw both ways. If he makes it to Staten Island, I might go out to watch him.

    830. Garrison Lassiter – Only saw a bit of him at the AFLAC game, but followed him in the media for a bit. Very intriguing pick and very surpised he stayed around this long. It’s probably because he’s likely to enroll at UNC barring life-changing money. Might be worthwhile for the Yanks to nibble though.

  • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

    i’m very excited about cole. the video of him at MiLB.com is electric. his FB is mid-90s with a TON of movement. that slider needs work, but he has time. if he can throw that hard with his funky delivery, imagine what he can do once Nardi cleans it up.

  • Tony

    I meant someone they drafted in 2008, i saw the scouting reports, a guy like justin somak was a 30-40 hr plus power potential. The yankees did not draft anyone with that kind of PREDICTED power but i guess we will have to wait and see. DOn;t think im crazy over it, i just think its exciting when you draft a guy who could be the next arod or the next giambi. I feel like we are set with pitching and did a pretty good job drafting in that department.

  • Tony

    Just found some draft comparisons taht made me pretty happy:

    1.Gerrit Cole-MLB Comp: Jake Peavy.

    Note the Comps are based on similar players and the player reaching his HIGHEST ceiling… So take it lightly

    2.Jeremy Bleich-MLB Comp: Cliff Lee

    3.David Adams-MLB Comp: Mark Ellis

    4.Corban Joseph-MLB Comp: He’s got a Casey Utley CEILING

    5.Chris Smith-MLB Comp: Young Barry Bonds

    6.Brett Marshall-MLB Comp: Roy Oswalt like with Dan Haren’s Mechanics

    • vinny-b

      i’ll take the young Barry Bonds, even if it mean every other player, is a bust. : )

  • Tony
  • http://yankeesfuture.wordpress.com Pablo Zevallos

    Mike, who do you think could be a late or later-round sleeper in this draft (no, Chris Dwyer doesn’t quite count…)

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Garrison Lassiter. He can mash.

  • felixpanther

    can we start next month’s International FA watch now?

  • Matt

    Here’s a good article on Blake Monar. Man, I love competitive pitchers.


  • Tony

    I asked and was anserwed,

    tonyf629: Hi, I just wanted to say that I think you guys did a really great job this year. What hitter drafted has the best power potential?

    Oppenheimer: Two guys we drafted have above-average power potential — Corban Joseph and Luke Anders.

    Thanks for the compliment on the Draft.

  • Frank

    A lot of us were disappointed last year when we missed out on Porcello… But how does Cole stack up to Porcello in terms of talent & upside???