Reflecting on New York drafting follies

In which Mike Mussina wins again

I know I’m preempting Mike’s wall-to-wall draft day coverage right now. But before we fall into the trap of unbridled optimism over the future of MLB prospects, draw your attention to a recent Steve Goldman in the New York Sun. The man behind YES’ Pinstripe Bible rehashes the recent drafting history of the Yanks and Mets, and it ain’t pretty. He wonders, for example, if “Eric Duncan [failed] the Yankees, or did the Yankees fail him?” The piece serves as an excellent counterpoint to the stock that we all tend to put in prospects now that the Internet allows us unfettered access to stuff that, ten or fifteen years ago, only Baseball America subscribers and scouts knew.

In which Mike Mussina wins again
  • Geno

    This seems to have improved under Oppenheimer’s watch. Judging by our recent successes, I have complete confidence in this year’s process being fruitful.

  • TurnTwo

    just for context and out of curiosity, what year was it when Duncan was drafted, and who else was picked in that first round behind him?

    • Ben K.

      In the first round, both Daric Barton and Carlos Quentin were picked after Duncan. That’s about it though.

      • steve (different one)

        to answer your other question, 2003. well before Cashman revamped the process.

  • ctkaiser

    I think the process is a combination of scouting the talent and a little luck. Common sense comes into play as well. There’s an awful lot of things that need to go right to be successful. Maybe more so when you’re talking about the NY limelight. Common sense comes into play as well. Remember Drew Henson struggling at AAA Columbus but “his father” supposesdly didn’t want him at AA so he stayed there struggling and being booed by Ohio State fans because he played at Michigan. Hopefully the Yankees have got past somebody’s father dictating player development or favorite agents of George’s influencing which free agents get signed.

  • NC Saint

    I can’t say I’m too impressed with that article. The conventional wisdom is that the Yankees now have one of the stronger farm systems in baseball. I’m definitely open to an argument that that’s not the case, but here there is no argument, just a lot of flat assertions. Most of it seems uninformed and poorly reasoned.

    • Geno

      My thoughts exactly.

    • Ben K.

      A lot of that farm system has been boosted by international signings. Yes, the draft classes have been better lately, but the impact has yet to be seen — outside of the Big Three — at the Major League level.

      • steve (different one)


        but let’s check back at the end of the season.

        it is still reasonable to think that there may be contributions this season from Melancon, Cox, Robertson, Hughes, Kennedy, and maybe even Gardner.

        throw in Joba and we are talking about an enormous amount of talent just coming from 2005 (2004 for Hughes) and later.

        none of those guys are sure things, but it would be remarkable if even a couple of them made it given the type of drafts the Yankees had from 2000-2003. they basically got nothing for 4 straight drafts.

      • NC Saint

        international signings are certainly a component, but there is a lot of American talent in those ranks. Clearly the big league level is Goldman’s only criterion, but since evaluating the Yankees current organization’s drafting abilities means looking at the last three years, just how many major league Yankees should we expect to see already?

        • steve (different one)


        • Ben K.

          I’m not disputing your points, but I think they work hand-in-hand with what Goldman’s saying here. You can’t evaluate a draft class based on how well the kids did in the Minors. Until they’re contributing at the Major League level, they haven’t done anything to help the team win (obviously).

          I think Goldman’s argument is weakest in criticizing Hughes, Kennedy and Cano for their struggles this season because it runs into a sample size issue. But his point — that right now the Yanks have very few homegrown and drafted talent on the big roster — is a valid one.

          • A.D.

            He also never argues the recent success, but just because 2006 could become a redic draft for the Yanks doesn’t make the other drafts better

  • Jamal G.

    Speaking about drafted New York players, Mr. Johnny Damon is at it again with the Joba idiocy. I’m really starting to dislike him. Honestly, who gives a crap if the clubhouse doesn’t like the move, are they all of a sudden going to play badly purposefully to get their way or prove some dumb ass point? Johnny Damon is an idiot, “You don’t take Jeter out of the two-hole and put him in the seven-hole just because you’re leaving the ‘4’ and ‘5’ guys on base,” he said. “You let him do what he does best.” WHAT?!?!?

    Sorry for hijacking this thread just a bit.

    • TurnTwo

      from what i heard on the radio this morning, it seems like Damon was really taken out of context. Boomer and Carton usually rail on the yankees, but today they actually agreed that Damon should be pissed about the way he was portrayed to be in the article.

    • r.w.g.

      I saw this story on as well and I was a little annoyed, too. I can understand where he’s coming from.. Joba is a great reliever and he seemed to like it, but I mean.. there’s a huge hole somewhere no matter what you do.

      I think the fact that so many starters only go 6 innings these days makes it more necessary to have impact talent in the bullpen, so I get why Johnny is annoyed. But you can always turn this guy back into a set-up/closer/fireman if the rotation suddenly has some real alternatives, or the bullpen just falters to the point where it needs to happen, or when Mariano retires, or if he’s ineffective.

    • A.D.

      The min I read it I wanted to see the real quotes, because even in the article they leave a lot of those comments up for interpretation, which means they’re probably really manipulating them

  • Chris

    I think it’s interesting that Craig Hansen (and his career ERA of 6.14) is listed as a successful draft choice by the Red Sox. Usually it happens the other way, where a fan (or reporter) over values the talent on his own team. Of course, in this case he’s trying to prove that the Red Sox are better in the draft so he can take some liberties the other way.

    • A.D.

      Yeah the Red Sox stuff is a bit over done to make his point, especially if he’s going to do some discredit to Cano for a down year and not count IPK, Hughes, or Joba success last year because of small sample size:

      Hansen: Hasn’t been the big closing prospect
      Masterson: 3 Major League starts
      Ellesbury: Less career success then Cano
      Buchholtz: 11 Career starts, 4.15 ERA, which is a run & 1/2 better than IPK
      Lowrie: has essentially done as much as Alberto Gonzalez
      Delcarmen: A serviceable long reliever
      Lester: 39 career starts ERA over 4
      Pedroia: 1 full season, less career success then Cano

      So basically are these guys pretty good today/still talented youngsters, yes, but not exactly the greatest group ever amassed with the numbers they have put up so far

      • Eric

        But Buchholz and Lester both threw no-hitters. Therefore, they are by definition a success in the big leagues.

  • Paul

    Goldman seems to have just rehashed a Bill Madden piece that also listed Hansen as a successful pick and exalts the Red Sox over the Yanks, while ignoring the Yanks’ success with non-drafted players like Wang, Cano, and Melky and the improvement of Yankee drafting since Cashman and Oppenheimer took over hte process. His story really relates to drafs that took place five plus years ago.

    My impression of Goldman is that he is a stathead who doesn’t appreciate what on-the-field baseball talent is. He keeps harping on Wang’s low strikeout ratios, yet he, as a biographer of Casey Stengel, ought to have heard of a couple of guys with low strikeout ratios named Vic Raschi and Eddie Lopat (two-thirds of the core rotation that won 5 straight WS), not to mention Warren Spahn.