It seems like we hear this about the top draft prospects every year, but in yesterday’s chat at ESPN, Baseball America’s Jim Callis said that it’s not far-fetched to think Bryce Harper could fall out of the first round entirely next June. He notes that it’s “going to be almost impossible to live up to the hype, and if he falls short and is looking for big money–is Strasburg’s contract a starting point–he may scare off clubs, who know he can re-enter the 2011 and 2012 drafts and still have lots of leverage.”
The Yankees – currently picking 32nd overall – did operate on a budget last year, but scouting director Damon Oppenheimer hinted that things could have changed under special circumstances. That probably means the team would have jumped all over Stephen Strasburg if he’d fallen into their laps. I don’t think the Yankees would go out of their way to make sure they retained their first round pick (by not signing a Type-A free agent this offseason) for the off-chance that Harper drops, you’d almost always rather have the big leaguer (unless we’re talking about someone like John Grabow or Kevin Gregg).