Surprising just about everyone, the Yankees selected Cito Culver, a high schooler out of the Rochester, New York, area, with their first round draft pick tonight. While Bud Selig announced Culver as a short stop, the Yankees’ PR team initially called him a right-handed pitcher but later clarified Culver as a short stop. Scouts believe Culver’s value lies at short.
Interestingly, Culver was projected to go in the fourth-to-sixth round range, and his choice is certainly raising some eyebrows among Yankee-watchers. Here’s MLB.com’s draft profile:
Culver is a switch-hitter who’s better from the left side of the plate, showing more bat speed from that side. He has some gap-to-gap power right now. He looks like he should have above-average speed, but his run times haven’t been great and he’s better underway. At times, scouts have questions [sic] his effort level on the field, though they don’t question his natural gifts. He has the tools, especially his arm strength, to perhaps stay at shortstop, though a move to center field would make some sense. He has a Maryland commitment, but there was some buzz that he’d be willing to forego that for the right price.
Mike will have a full player profile ready to go shortly, and I’m left wondering if the Yanks aimed low in the first round to go after a few signability guys in the later rounds. Remember, though, that Culver was born on August 26, 1992. He won’t turn 18 until after the signing date, and it’s nearly impossible to know now what he ceiling will be.