Jun
06

2012 Draft: Reviewing Day Two

By

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement has changed the draft. A few weeks ago we had a pretty good idea that the Yankees would take some college seniors in the top ten rounds in order to save draft pool money and reallocate it elsewhere, but they took it to the extreme and so did a number of other clubs. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the four teams who took the most college seniors in the top ten rounds — Yankees (five), Rangers (five), Red Sox (five), and Blue Jays (seven) — are four of the smartest run organizations in baseball.

By saving all that draft pool money, the Yankees are in a position to take some serious high-upside plays on Day Three. Since we’re beyond the tenth round — the draft resumes with the 16th round at noon ET — there is no penalty for failing to sign a player. If you don’t sign a player in the top ten rounds, you lose the draft pool money. Any money spent in excess of $100k on a post-tenth rounder counts towards the draft pool, so think of any player taken from the 11th round on down as coming with a $100k draft pool discount. It’s a pretty smart strategy and I kinda feel stupid for not realizing it earlier.

The Yankees have selected 16 players through 15 rounds so far, highlighted of course by first rounder Ty Hensley. It sounds like he’s going to sign very soon, so that’s pretty cool. You can see all of New York’s selections at Baseball America, and as expected, they’re a diverse group.

Aune. (David Minton/Denton Record-Chronicle)

High School Upside
Although they went college senior heavy on Day Two, the Yankees still picked a number of prep players with big tools. The headliner is outfielder Austin Aune (2nd rounder), who has actually already agreed to sign. Hailing from Texas with a dual-sport (baseball and football) scholarship to TCU in place, Aune is said to offer big raw power from the left side with arm strength and speed in center field. Like most Yankees’ draftees, his makeup is considered a plus as well. The team acted so quickly to sign him that I have to think a pre-draft agreement was in place, or least the two sides were on the same page.

First baseman Nathan Mikolas (3) is another left-handed hitter with big raw power and an above average hit tool. He has consistently produced with wood bats against top competition in showcase events, though it remains to be seen if he can stick in an outfield corner or has to be relegated to first base. Canadian right-hander Dayton Dawe (15) is a projectable 6-foot-2, 180 lb. hurler with the ability to command two low-90s fastballs (two and four-seamer). His soft curveball and changeup need work, as does his delivery. Because he hasn’t played as much baseball as his peers, Dawe needs quite a bit of refinement. The present package is intriguing though, especially in round 15.

The Yankees value depth behind the plate and added to it with Chris Breen (12) out of Florida. He’s a pure hitter from the right side, having shown the ability to hit breaking balls and with wood in showcase events. Breen, like most of New York’s selections, is lauded for his makeup and leadership skills. He’s athletic but at 6-foot-3 and 215 lbs., remaining behind the plate long-term is far from guaranteed.

O'Brien. (Photo via InsideTheU.com)

Cheap Value
College seniors may come with small price tags due to a lack of leverage, but that doesn’t mean they’re short on ability. Miami catcher Peter O’Brien (2) was one of the best seniors in the draft, a right-handed hitter with power to all fields and strong knowledge of the strike zone. Because he stands 6-foot-5 and 225 lbs., it’s unclear if he can remain behind the plate long-term despite a strong throwing arm. O’Brien is bilingual and has been lauded for his leadership skills all throughout his time with the Hurricanes. It’s worth noting that he’s currently out with hairline fracture in his left wrist.

Right-hander Taylor Garrison (7) is an accomplished college closer at Fresno State thanks to his low-to-mid-90s fastball and above average cutter. He also mixes in a curveball and changeup, but expect him to focus on his two best pitches as a pro. Ole Miss first baseman Matt Snyder (10) is just a masher, a brute strength hitter from the left side. He has raw power, hitting smarts, no defensive value, no speed, and big league bloodlines — his brother Brandon was a long-time Orioles’ prospect and is currently coming off the Rangers’ bench. Power is hard to find, but Snyder has a ton of it.

Power Arms
In addition to Garrison, the Yankees added a pair of hard-throwing right-handers in Faulkner University’s Corey Black (4) and LSU’s Nick Goody (6). Black, a redshirt junior, missed most of last season with Tommy John surgery but returned to throw 88 innings this spring. His long-term future may be in the bullpen but he at least has a chance to start with a legit mid-90s fastball and a reliable changeup. Black’s ability to remain in the rotation depends on the development of his inconsistent breaking ball. He told A. Stacy Long that he intends to sign quickly.

The Yankees like Goody so much they drafted him twice, in the sixth round this year and in the 11th round last year. He’s strictly a bullpen guy with two power offerings — a fastball in the 90-94 range with a sharp slider in the low-80s. Goody is an extreme strike-thrower evidenced by his 45/3 K/BB in 32.2 IP for the Tigers this spring. He’s not Mark Montgomery, but he has a chance to climb the minor league ladder quickly as a strikeout reliever.

Left-hander James Pazos (13) is one of only two southpaws the Yankees have drafted in the first 15 rounds. The San Diego junior is big — listed at 6-foot-3 and 225 lbs. — and aggressive with a low-90s fastball. His slider has improved greatly this spring, though he’ll probably scrap his nascent changeup as a pro and focus on his two best pitches as a reliever. Pazos has been a workhorse for the Toreros, showing the ability to work consecutive days and multiple innings. The Yankees have a lot of interesting power bullpen arms in their farm system, but most of them are right-handed. Pazos adds some much needed left-handedness.

Refsnyder. (Kim Hartman/TucsonSentinel.com)

The Conversion Candidate
New York selected Rob Refsnyder (5) as a second baseman out of Arizona even though he’s been an outfielder for the Wildcats. Born in South Korea before being adopted by an American family as an infant, Refsnyder has the compact frame (6-foot-0 and 200 lbs.) and first step quickness to handle the middle infield, where he played in high school. His bat is his calling card, with a level right-handed swing geared for hard contact to all fields. If the conversion takes, the Yankees will have nabbed an offense-first second baseman in the middle rounds of the draft.

The Long-Term Project
Almost no one is a finished project at the time of the draft but some need more development time than others. Lots more. Prep left-hander Caleb Frare (11) is as raw as it gets, hailing from Montana where they don’t even play high school baseball. He’s been pitching for an independent travel team, sitting in the mid-80s with his fastball and in the low-70s/sometimes mid-60s with his curveball. The hope is that pro instruction and training programs will add some strength to his 6-foot-2, 195 lb. frame and turn an athletic kid with an idea of how to pitch in a bonafide pitching prospect with good stuff.

Organizational Depth
Outfielder Taylor Dugas (8) is a speedy leadoff type out of Alabama, and in fact I wrote him up as a potential cost-saving senior sign option back in March. That’s exactly the reason why New York took him, to save some draft pool space for other players. Right-handers Derek Varnadore (7) and Andrew Benak (14) are classic college pitchers with nondescript stuff who have shown the ability to handle big workloads at major college programs, Auburn and Rice respectively. None of the three are strong prospects, but they add depth to soak up the leftover at-bats and innings in the minors. Organizational players are important but not necessarily exciting.

Day Two Overview
Thanks to the new CBA, we’ve reached a point where rounds 11+ are more interesting than 6-10. The Yankees added a few interesting prospects in Aune, O’Brien, Black, Goody, Pazos, Refsnyder, Dawe, and Breen on Day Two but their draft is obviously incomplete. How they use the savings from the five college seniors — total of $1.031M worth of draft pool money is tied up in those five picks — in Day Three today will really shape the draft overall. Expect to see them take a number of higher upside players late in hopes of signing one or two or three of them with that excess draft pool money. Day Two was the inside fastball to Day Three’s outside slider, it was a setup pitch.

Categories : Draft

38 Comments»

  1. Scott says:

    Dugas is from Alabama, Varnadore from Auburn.

  2. YankeeGrunt says:

    I’m not so sure Benak is an organizational arm. He pitched well at Rice this year, he was there as a senior because of injuries rather than because he lacked talent. I haven’t seen a good scouting report on him, but his peripherals are good, high K rate and good K:BB ratio.

    • Rainbow Connection (futurely Dummies Playing With Balls) says:

      he was a high school teammate of mine (i was a sr when he was a freshman). great kid, but not an mlb prospect and even he would tell you that. even back then he was known for having a rubber arm, throwing tons of pitches and never getting sore/hurt. hes an org arm, but a good one.

  3. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Thanks, Mike.

    Refsnyder and O’Brien are interesting to me in that they’re high-round draft picks at important positions. I know that, as a senior, there’s not a ton of luster on O’Brien, but wouldn’t that mean we have a better idea of who he could be at the MLB level. Although nothing I’m reading indicates this, it’d be nice if this was a guy who could have a shorter route to the bigs.

    It’d be nice if Refsnyder turned into what David Adams could have been without the injuries and gave the team some infield flexibility in a few years when either a hard decision needs to be made on Robbie or someone has to move to third when Alex starts looking more like a full-time DH.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I haven’t lost hope for Adams. Power still not there, but in his last 10 games he’s at least at .300/.391 (only .375 SLG… but I’m hoping the power returns eventually).

      • Rainbow Connection (futurely Dummies Playing With Balls) says:

        wooo for a batting avg of 300 over 10 games!

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          I sincerely doubt ten games is what he’s basing anything on, but go ahead and pick this argument. *snicker*

        • Ted Nelson says:

          That you’re allegedly from Texas explains so much…

          You are the most persistent troll on the internet. When are you going to get a life or actually make a constructive comment?

          How about a little context, or is that too much for your simple mind to handle? Guy is recovering from a massive injury, then got injured again… all we have is a tiny sample to see what his current level of production is.

          Maybe you’d prefer to look back to the .400 wOBAs before his injury?

          • Rainbow Connection (futurely Dummies Playing With Balls) says:

            you’re citing batting avg in a 10 game sample and hounding me about constructive comments? you’re kidding right?

            let me give you advice that will help you out in life and hopefully (with a little luck) even the ladies: lighten the fuck up.

          • NYinTX says:

            Wtf does living in or being from Texas have to do with anything?

            • Rainbow Connection (futurely Dummies Playing With Balls) says:

              im not even from texas. lived there for 5 years, and enjoyed it. i dont know what hes talking about, but from what i can tell, thats his rep around here.

  4. Steve (different one) says:

    Can I ask a stupid question? If college seniors have so little leverage, then why are college juniors considered to have leverage? What are they threatening to do, go back to college and come in the draft as a senior…with no leverage?

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      But then someone else would draft them?

      • Steve (different one) says:

        I get that. But my point is, isn’t the player bluffing then? If they don’t sign, they lose a ton of money.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          My answer would be pretty much with Mike and RC said below. It’s still about whether the team takes that bluff.

          I doubt that, at this point, this is the big money these guys are looking at pocketing. I get the prep school first-rounder trying for the bonus money in order to be set for life, no matter what, but that’s not happening for these guys.

        • Rainbow Connection (futurely Dummies Playing With Balls) says:

          unless youre a top half of the 1st round guy, i dont think theyre losing a ton of money though. the leverage is nothing like a high schooler threatening to go to college. its kind of a “pay me, or lose me to another team next year” game of chicken.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Pretty much. Teams don’t want to lose the player.

    • Rainbow Connection (futurely Dummies Playing With Balls) says:

      i dont think its monetary leverage as much as maybe the team likes him and theyre worried they wouldnt be able to get him the next year.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Theoretically that dynamic is already baked into their bonus. Already reflected in it.

      But that’s not just in the teams favor, because there is leverage for the player. Boras made a habit of putting college prospects in Indy ball to hold out for the next year’s draft when teams didn’t meet his demand. Travis Lee, I think… and there was at least one other high profile guy.

      A truly elite guy still have the leverage of taking his talents where he wants to.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Guess I was wrong on Lee. Was thinking of JD Drew.

        Lee somehow got free agency… don’t remember how that worked.

        • Rick in Philly says:

          Boras found a loophole. Mike wrote a bit about it in (I believe), the Day 1 draft chat.

        • Gonzo says:

          From a Jim Callis Ask BA. It suggests that yes Appel had a shot at a multiple of his $2.9 million slot in a FA model.

          In the aftermath of the Anderson snafu, negotiators for the owners and players discussed a rule that would alleviate invalid contract offers in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. That led to talk of other tender rules, such as the draft’s. Union lawyers brought that rule to the attention of several agents who specialized in the draft.

          The first player to file a grievance over the rule was Bobby Seay, the 12th overall pick in the 1996 draft. Seay, who sought a $2 million bonus, contended that the White Sox didn’t offer him a written contract in the proper time period and asked MLB to investigate. Before the matter was decided, Chicago voluntarily relinquished its rights to Seay and MLB declared him a free agent.

          Eventually, six other players filed similar complaints: Lee (No. 2 overall, Twins), Braden Looper (No. 3, Cardinals), John Patterson (No. 5, Expos), White (No. 7, Giants), Eric Milton (No. 20, Yankees) and A.J. Hinch (third round, Athletics). Looper, Milton and Hinch signed in advance of a ruling by MLB’s Executive Council, which declared Lee, Patterson and White free agents.

          Kris Benson was the consensus top prospect in the 1996 draft, and the Pirates gave him a draft-record $2 million bonus after selecting him No. 1 overall. That bonus was dwarfed by those of White ($10.2 million, Devil Rays), Lee ($10 million, Diamondbacks), Patterson ($6.075 million, Diamondbacks) and Seay ($3 million, Devil Rays). While Arizona and Tampa Bay were expansion teams looking to make a splash, the disparity in bonuses also shows the difference between the draft and the free-agent market.

          http://www.baseballamerica.com.....12142.html

          • Ted Nelson says:

            It also suggests that they were desperate expansion teams that literally no other team in baseball bothered to outbid for any of the four…

            Of course he has a shot at it. I don’t think he would get “many multiples” or whatever, though. 2x? Sure. Maybe 3x. Maybe an MLB deal that pays out more over its life.

            • Gonzo says:

              Sure, I just said it was possible. 5x the top pick sign is extreme. Appel only has to do 2x the top pick (the rumored $5mm deal Correa) to get to a multiple over 2x though. 5x the first pick is $25mm, and I think most people would say that’s high for Appel and would be x8.6 of his slot now.

  5. pat says:

    It’s worth noting that 3 of the 4 “model” teams that a lot of Yankees fans here wish the team would emulate (and rightfully so in some ways) also followed this strategy as well. Sox, Rangers and Blue Jays and Yankees all took 5+ senior signs in the first 10 rounds. I know it’s a rather simplistic viewpoint to take, but that should at least partially satiate those people hollering for us to be more like those teams.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com.....t-seniors/

  6. Ted Nelson says:

    Another point about three of those four teams is that they are winning teams drafting at the end of the round. If you’re picking earlier that strategy might make less sense than just grabbing big ticket guys and filling in with reasonable bonuses later so you have some leverage in negotiating with your early studs.

    Blue Jays were in the middle of the round, but with their 5 first round picks (4 on HS) they might be spreading money forward as much as backward.

  7. Rockdog says:

    Mike,

    Just wanted to say thanks for the hard work. Write-ups like this are really great, and add a whole level of understanding to the draft process. There are a lot of things to like about RAB, and the draft posts and analysis are near the top — easily a 70 (on a 20-80 scale).

  8. Gonzo says:

    Did anybody mention that Seattle drafted their future starting catcher?

  9. David Brown says:

    I never thought I would be on the side of Scott Boras, but here I go. Why is that? He is correct when he complains about the system. For example: What happens when you decide to let money and slotting for the future rounds determine signings. I think of when Tampa Bay chose Tim Beckham over Buster Posey (Talk about a decision that haunts Tampa to this day). What happens when the next Arod becomes available out of High School? When one of those events occurs (And it will) people will be very sorry.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I don’t follow. What does this have to do with the new system? Teams did that under the old system, as your own example seems to illustrate. When the next A-Rod becomes available he’ll probably be drafted #1 and signed to big money. A lot bigger money than when the first A-Rod was drafted ($1 mill, Dreifort for $1.3 right behind him). The system in convoluted, but I think it’s moving in the right direction.

      In terms of your actual example… Beckham signed for all of $50,000 less than Posey and three other teams passed on Posey as well (only one getting a discount). I don’t really follow.

  10. gageagaisntthemachine says:

    Great write-up Mike. I was really curious to see if you had anything on Caleb Frare (as I come from Montana as well). The Yankees website had virtually nothing on him. I think the most important thing about him compared to the others is the lack of high school baseball. Although, we do have a pretty extensive legion system in Montana but our climate makes baseball year round pretty much impossible. I sure hope the kid can somehow make it. I live in Billings and we have the Reds rookie team and have seen some pretty big names start here: George Brett, Paul O’Neill, Danny Tartabull, Trevor Hoffman, Aaron Boone, Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, and B.J. Ryan to name a few. But we hardly ever have homegrown pro-athletes from our state, especially in baseball. So, I will definitely be prospect watching this kid.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I forget sometimes that not everyone here lives relatively close to NYC, or in NYC itself. You live in a beautiful part of the country I hope to get to someday.

      • gageagainstthemachine says:

        It’s definitely nice out here. My mom grew up in the Bronx and my grandfather was a big Yankees fan who took her to games as a kid (Mantle era) and he bought me a Yankees jacket every year for my birthday as a kid. So, it’s in my blood. I’ve seen them play twice (in Seattle and Denver) but never in NYC (even though I have family out there and have visited several times). We are headed to NYC for a wedding in spring and I am slated to see them play in Yankee Stadium (albeit the new one) for the first time ever. It will be like getting to be a kid all over again!

  11. blake says:

    Fantastic job covering draft……well done.

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