2013 Draft: Reviewing Day Two

Yankees drop second game to Mariners 4-1
2013 Draft: Day Three Open Thread

Thanks to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Day Two is the least exciting day of the draft. It covers rounds three through ten, and like many teams, the Yankees use those rounds to stock up on college seniors — who have no leverage and sign for far-below-slot bonuses — to save draft pool money. The savings then go towards over-slot bonuses in the really early and really late rounds. It’s one of the few ways to game the system.

That is precisely the strategy the Yankees employed on Friday, at least to a certain extent — three of their eight Day Two selections were college seniors. Their Day Two haul started with a very familiar surname.

(Patrick Barron/Michigan Daily)
(Patrick Barron/Michigan Daily)

More Than Bloodlines
Three years ago, the Yankees selected OF Mike O’Neill out of an Ohio high school in the 42nd round. He didn’t sign and instead followed through on his commitment to Michigan. Yesterday afternoon, they drafted him again with their third round pick.

O’Neill, of course, is the nephew of former Yankee Paul O’Neill. He is much more than a nepotism pick though, in fact he was expected to come off the board late in the second round. The Yankees nabbed him in the third following a strong year with the Wolverines. “Michael is an athletic outfielder with some hand and wrist strength at the plate … (he’s) a plus runner with a fringy arm who at least should get a year or so in center in the minors to see if he can be an above-average defender or better there,” wrote Keith Law (subs. req’d).

Uncle O’Neill and nephew O’Neill have very different styles of play despite a similar hard-on-themselves attitude. Michael’s plate discipline is a big concern — 106/33 K/BB in 148 college games — and if he can’t play center he’ll be a ‘tweener without enough power for a corner. Then again, we are talking about a third round pick here. There are going to be warts. While the bloodlines grab the most attention, O’Neill can hit and run a bit. He wasn’t drafted as a favor.

Senior Steal
The Pirates drafted OF Brandon Thomas in the fourth round last year, but he returned to Georgia Tech for his senior season. Rather than improve his stock, he missed a whole bunch of time with mono and was very rarely at 100% for the Yellow Jackets. The Yankees nabbed him in the eighth round yesterday.

(Alyson Boyer Rode/Baseball America)
(Baseball America)

When healthy, Thomas has a contact-oriented line drive swing with enough pop to hit mistakes out of the park. He also runs well and is a capable center field defender. Thomas was considered the second best college senior in the draft class behind only first overall pick Mark Appel when the spring opened, but teams never really got to see him at full strength. New York pounced late on Day Two and walked away with a cheap college senior who is way more than the typical draft pool-saving pick.

Size & Stuff
Supplemental first rounder Aaron Judge is listed at 6-foot-7, but he is only the second tallest player the Yankees have draft this year. Howard College RHP David Palladino (5th round) is listed at 6-foot-9 and 230 lbs., and the four-pitch pitcher uses his size to pitch downhill with a low-90s fastball. His command is fine and he has enough pitches to start.

With their final pick of Day Two, the Yankees nabbed South Carolina LHP Tyler Webb (10) and his 6-foot-6, 225 lb. frame. He had Tommy John surgery in high school but spent four years as a workhorse reliever for the Gamecocks. Webb will sit in the low-90s with his fastball and throw three offspeed pitches, and he draws rave reviews his bulldog mentality and incredibly aggressive approach. It’s a lefty specialist profile at best, but like Palladino he offers both size and decent stuff as a later round selection.

Growth Potential
It’s no secret the Yankees have an affinity for physically large players, but they grabbed the wiry high school 2B Gosuke Katoh in the second round and doubled up with California HS SS Tyler Wade (4) on Day Two. He’s listed at 6-foot-2 and 170 lbs. with a game that fits the frame: speed, contact, and defense. Wade is a pro-level defender and a rare lefty hitting shortstop, but he has zero present power. It’s unclear if he’ll ever grow into any either. Legit shortstops are hard to find though, and the Yankees found one in the fourth round.

(Vasha Hunt/AL.com)
(Vasha Hunt/AL.com)

Aside from anything thrown by supplemental first rounder LHP Ian Clarkin, the best individual pitch the Yankees have drafted so far this year belongs to LSU RHP Nick Rumbelow (7). His hard curveball is a true swing-and-miss pitch, which is a pretty great starting point for a short reliever. Rumbelow’s low-90s fastball is pretty straight and his rough delivery makes some think he’ll spend a decent amount of time on the DL, but digging up a true out-pitch more than 220 picks into the draft is not easy to accomplish.

Impacting The Draft Pool
Sacred Heart SS John Murphy (6) and Auburn LHP Kendrick Conner (9) are the fringiest of fringe prospects who were likely selected as part of the team’s draft pool-saving strategy more than anything. Murphy, a senior, has a good swing but is a utility man at best according to Nathan Rode. Conner, a junior, is a finesse college swing-man and the kind of arm New York can bounce around from role to role and level to level to fill any roster holes for a year or three. Neither will have much on-field impact, but they serve a purpose by allowing the team to manipulate its league-regulated budget.

* * *

The current draft setup doesn’t really enable a team picking late in each round to land impact talent in the middle rounds — even though the Yankees had extra picks and draft pool money this year, it’s not a huge amount they can legitimately spread around — so the Bombers can only do so much on Day Two of the draft. They got two nice players in O’Neill and Thomas and two interesting prospects in Wade and Rumbelow, but otherwise their Day Two selections were gearing towards optimizing the draft pool.

Yankees drop second game to Mariners 4-1
2013 Draft: Day Three Open Thread
  • Frank

    What are the names to be aware of on day 3?

  • Jonathan

    I’m pretty happy with the draft so far. This new CBA is one of those things that if you could have seen the future you could really take more advantage of the financial might we had in the draft/international prospects and just go nuts. That’s how we dominated the pre-draft era by just buying all the minor leaguers we wanted. Either way, it seems like the boys in charge have figured out how to add some upside and elite talent in the first couple of rounds while still being able to still pump out those mid round steals and relievers. Even Hensley has had some unforseen injury issues but still was a solid pick with real 1st round talent. I was reading my 2007 Yankee Yearbook the other day and the prospect part is just…pathetic. If Patterson can keep the talented pitchers that we keep getting healthy and the FO keeps up their good work we should be in good shape. Of course it would be nice if our top prospects would turn it around this year.

  • crawdaddy

    I don’t understand the criticism of those two high school infielders being wiry. They can’t be any skinnier than Derek Jeter was coming out of high school. A strong wind you knock him over when it was 18.

    • CountryClub

      Obviously I’ve never seen them play, so I have no idea if they’re correct, but the criticism is about them not being able to hit a FB. Nobody ever questioned Jeter’s bat.

      • crawdaddy

        How do we know they can’t hit the FB? They said the same thing about Gardner.

        • CountryClub

          Absolutely. There are always surprises. I’m not down on either pick.

      • crawdaddy

        I thought one of Katoh’s strengths was his bat?

        • CountryClub

          Law said something about him getting the bat knocked out of his hands by a good FB.

          • Bo Knows

            I doubt Law has even seen the kid play to even make that judgement. The kid is very thin, but he’ll obviously put on muscle and weight as he gets older and matures into his body. He had to have talent to get recruited to a big time baseball school like UCLA, but we’ll have to weight and see.

            • Manny’s BanWagon

              Law said he saw him play extensively this year since he now lives in Arizona.

              • JohnnyC

                KLaw called him and Wade twerps. Ironic since they’re both probably at least 6 inches taller than him.

                • Manny’s BanWagon

                  Keith Law isn’t a twerp, he’s more like a dwarf or maybe a leprechaun.

    • emac2

      I think people are having a hard time adjusting to the reduction in PEDs. Baseball players, especially middle infielders, used to be pretty small and defense was more important than a power bat.

      Now that we have moved from steroids to speed we should expect more of a meth addict build.

  • Frank

    This draft has been solid so far. Wish they drafted this way in prior years though. Instead of guys like culver and bichette it would be nice to have some potential. Add in a more aggressive stance on any one of the Cuban outfielders from the last few years and this team would be very different.

  • crawdaddy

    I’m hearing O’Neill’s arm is stronger than some publications is giving him. He doesn’t have Paulie’s arm, but he’s not Juan Pierre either with his arm.

    • Preston

      Doesn’t matter that much. Even if he had a pro-typical RF arm, he’d probably be better utilized in LF in Yankee Stadium given his speed. Hopefully he can stick in CF though.

  • trr

    “Optimizing” the draft pool as mentioned seems the way to go, under present circumstance. I am no fan of the way MBL conducts its draft. An NFL type system would be more to my liking. I understand we can’t adopt the NFL wholesale, but giving teams the ability to trade picks would certainly make things more interesting…

    • CountryClub

      I agree. Especially if the trade includes the slot value from the team you’re trading with.

    • Dalek Jeter

      The difference though is in the NFL you’re almost virtually guaranteed that your 1st-3rd round picks can be back ups for a couple of years at least where as in the MLB the league is lucky if you can say that about the 1st round of it’s draft. What I’m saying is NFL draft picks are far far more valuable than their MLB counterparts.

      • Laz

        But, is it really all that different than trading low level prospects.

    • Preston

      The main difference is that NFL players HAVE to declare for the draft. Once they put their name in they are no longer amateurs and can’t go to college (NBA too) I wouldn’t be against the MLB doing something similar. Force these kids to make a decision, school or pro. Don’t let them hold teams hostage by playing coy. Much easier to strictly enforce slot prices that way too, as players wouldn’t have the same leverage. Maybe they could make it less of a hard line rule and HS and under classmen could stipulate where they would need to be drafted and for what they would be willing to sign for in order to go pro. If a HS kid said I need 1st or 2nd round money to go pro, teams would be on notice and decide to draft or not draft him accordingly. Right now there are too many money considerations for picks, when the draft should be about baseball talent.

  • Dalek Jeter

    Brandon Thomas is my new darkhorse prospect crush.

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    How can you not like the draft so far?. From what I’ve read, the top 3 picks are now among the Yanks top 10 prospects.

    • Reggie C.

      Is that a good thing?


    • Travis L.

      If they sign. I forget it too sometimes that just because they get drafted, doesn’t mean that they will end up in our minors. If we play the cards right, we should get them signed and then yes, they would be in the top 10 prospects.

  • Reggie C.

    Katoh’s second round pick is an interesting one. Yankee scouts must really believe in Katoh’s hit tool potential for them to pick him in as a second rounder, especially when Angelo Gumbs is holding his own at High A.

    Regarding Tyler Wade … I can live with a “no” power shortstop prospect b/c not having any projectable HR power doesn’t make the kid an automatic out. It means Wade may not be able to turn on mistake pitches and punch them into the stands, but with added strength, why couldn’t Wade be able to rope a double or better? Add in the need for a run-saving glove and its a pick that could work out.

    • CountryClub

      Or they knew they could sign him relatively cheap.

    • Manny’s BanWagon

      Just seems unusual to draft a 2nd baseman so early. Usually 2nd basmen are Drafted as Shortstops who can’t handle the position defensively and get moved.

  • David Brown

    Thomas is an excellent pick. However, I do not think he will be signing for chump change, despite being a College Senior (sort of like O’Brien from last year’s draft). Palladino looks like a “Signability Case” (Although the local paper (www.nola.com) down in Baton Rouge thinks both he and Rumbelow are signing.”All four juniors chosen are expected to leave, as are the two signees.”). I suspect that Clarkin will not be that difficult to sign (Otherwise, why is he eager to apologize for the “Yankee Hate” emarks)

  • jupiter

    Prospect profiles on 1st rounders not good at all. Yanks didn’t sign jon gray 2010 !!!! Guy is a star

    • Preston

      He wasn’t a star then, which is why he decided to go back to school. Every team drafts guys every year in the later rounds who decide to go back to school and then later become stars.

  • Jacob the OG

    Paladino is a very interesting pick personally, could be a good piece

  • I’m not the droids you’re looking for…

    Rumbelow is about a 70 name tool