Archive for 2014 Draft

Baseball America published their 2014 Draft Report Card for the Yankees earlier this week, though it is behind the paywall. It’s fairly straight forward anyway. LHP Jacob Lindgren (2nd round) has the best secondary pitch (his slider) and is closest to the big leagues. RHP Austin DeCarr (3) has the best fastball, OF Mark Payton (7) is the best pure hitter, and 1B Chris Gittens (12) is the best power hitter. No real surprises there.

In a free companion piece, Clint Longenecker broke down some recent draft spending trends from around the league. The Yankees exceeded their $3.2M pool and were only $70k away from a 5% overage this summer, which would have forced them to forfeit their first round pick in 2015. Thankfully that didn’t happen. They were also one of three teams to sign just one high school player (DeCarr). The Astros and Phillies did it as well. You can see all of New York’s draft picks right here and their draft pool situation right here. (My numbers are approximate.)

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The Yankees have signed 15th round pick Boston College LHP Andrew Chin, the school announced. No word on his bonus, but it’s unlikely it was more than the $100k slot for post-tenth round selections. Chin had a 3.49 ERA with a 20/14 K/BB in 28.1 innings for the Chatham Anglers in the Cape Cod League over the last few weeks. The Yankees probably saw something they liked this summer and made an offer (or a better one).

Chin, 21, was a fifth round pick out of high school back in 2011 (Blue Jays), though the scouting report isn’t terribly exciting: high-80s sinker with an okay breaking ball and a changeup. He pitched to a 3.10 ERA with a 52/32 K/BB in 14 starts and 78.1 innings for the Eagles this spring. The signing deadline was yesterday afternoon and this morning the Yankees released an official list of their signed picks. They did not sign either Florida HS RHP Garrett Cave (17th round) or Connecticut HS 3B Will Toffey (23rd), their two shot in the dark signability picks. They also didn’t sign Iona RHP Mariano Rivera Jr. (29th). As our 2014 Draft Pool Tracker shows, the team exceeded its $3.2M draft pool by roughly $120k, so they’ll have to pay a small tax.

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Via Jim Callis: The Yankees have signed ninth round pick Vanderbilt SS Vince Conde for $155,000. Slot money for the 272nd overall pick is $146,500. Conde actually played for Short Season Staten Island last night, going 2-for-4 with a walk in his pro debut. He signed so late because Vanderbilt was playing in the College World Series.

Conde, 21, hit .284/.397/.379 with four homers, 15 steals, 41 walks, and 42 strikeouts in 72 games for the Commodores this spring. He’s a no-doubt shortstop long-term with a very good glove, but he doesn’t project to be much of a hitter in pro ball. As you can see at our 2014 Draft Pool Tracker, Conde’s over-slot bonus pushes the Yankees over their spending pool by roughly $120,000. They’ll have to pay approximately $90,000 in tax, assuming no more over-slot signings. The signing deadline is this coming Friday and it doesn’t appear the team will sign Florida HS RHP Garrett Cave (17th round) or Connecticut HS 3B Will Toffey (23rd round), their two late round signability fliers.

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Via Jim Callis: The Yankees have signed eighth round pick UC Irvine 1B Connor Spencer to a a full slot $157,000 bonus. The team’s only remaining unsigned player in the top ten rounds is ninth rounder Vanderbilt SS Vince Conde, who is still playing in the College World Series. You can see all of New York’s picks at Baseball America and keep tabs on the draft pool situation with our 2014 Draft Pool Tracker.

Spencer, 21, hit .364/.451/.476 with 15 doubles and one homerun in 66 games this spring. That’s the only homer he hit in three years with Irvine. In their pre-draft scouting report, Baseball America said Spencer is “simply a hitting machine” and his “sweet lefthanded swing is tailored to use the opposite field and the middle of the diamond.” They also say he controls the strike zone well and is a solid defender at first who has seen some time in left.

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The Yankees have signed seventh round pick Texas OF Mark Payton to a below-slot $45k bonus, according to Max Wildstein and Chris Cotillo. Slot for the 212th overall pick was $212,300 $178,300, so the Yankees saved approximately $133k against the draft pool. Payton, a senior, hit .315/.453/.444 with 57 walks and 27 strikeouts in 67 games for the Longhorns this spring. He’s a little guy (listed a 5-foot-8 and 190 lbs.) with no power but some speed and defense.

In other draft news, the Yankees have also signed 12th round pick Texas JuCo 1B Chris Gittens, according to his Twitter feed. Jim Callis says he received a $125k bonus, and since everything over $100k given to a player drafted after the tenth round counts against the draft pool, $25k of that counts against their spending limit. Gittens hit .404/.463/.532 with nine doubles and three homers in 41 games this spring. He’s a big guy who has had some conditioning issues in the past, but Callis says his bat is promising. You can see all of the team’s draft picks at Baseball America and keep tabs on the draft pool situation with our 2014 Draft Pool Tracker.

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The Yankees have signed fourth round pick LHP Jordan Montgomery, according to Jim Callis. The southpaw from South Carolina received the full $424,000 slot bonus for the 122nd overall pick. Montgomery is a classic pitchability lefty who complements his low-90s fastball with a curveball, a cutter, and a very good changeup. He is cut from the David Phelps/Adam Warren cloth and should carve up the low minors after three years in an SEC rotation.

In other news, the Yankees announced the signing of sixth round pick RHP Jonathan Holder. MLB.com says he received a $170,000 bonus, below the $237,600 slot value for the 182nd overall pick. Holder, who was second round pick LHP Jacob Lindgren’s teammate at Mississippi State, is a pure reliever with a low-90s fastball and big breaking curveball in the low-70s. Lots of separation between his two pitches. Like Montgomery, he’s an SEC tested guy who should climb to Double-A fairly quickly, likely in the middle of next season.

You can see all of the team’s draft picks at Baseball America and keep tabs on the draft pool situation with our 2014 Draft Pool Tracker. The Yankees’ only unsigned picks in the top ten rounds are Texas OF Mark Payton (7th round), UC Irvine 1B Connor Spencer (8th), and Vanderbilt SS Vince Conde (8th). All three are still playing in the College World Series and can’t sign just yet. They also figure to receive a below-slot bonuses and it appears the Yankees will some extra pool money left over for an above-slot payout for a player(s) taken after the tenth round.

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The Yankees have officially signed second round pick LHP Jacob Lindgren, according to George King. His father Stephen posted a photo of Jacob actually signing the contract on Twitter, if you’re looking for more confirmation. King says he received the full $1,018,700 slot value for the 55th overall selection. Keep tabs on the draft pool situation with our 2014 Draft Order Tracker.

Lindgren, 21, was in Tampa to take his physical earlier this week. Brian Cashman has already confirmed they plan to assign him to Low-A Charleston once he’s ready to pitch in game. Mississippi State’s season ended early last week, so Lindgren hasn’t been sitting idle for all that long. The consensus is that he could work out of the big league bullpen in the second half, but it remains to be seen whether the Yankees will let him. Everything you need to know about Lindgren is right here.

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Friday: DeCarr received a $1M bonus, according to Jim Callis. So technically he got slightly below double slot. Every little bit counts these days. Keep tabs on the draft pool situation with our 2014 Draft Pool Tracker.

Tuesday: Via New England Baseball Journal: Third round pick RHP Austin DeCarr will report to Tampa to sign with the Yankees tomorrow. They offered him double the $585,100 slot value for the 91st overall pick, so he’s getting a cool $1,170,200. Good for him. That’s a big chunk of draft pool change they’ll have to save elsewhere. (h/t @JoshSabo1)

DeCarr, 19, graduated from high school last year but did a post-graduate year at The Salisbury School in Connecticut. He’s a low-to-mid-90s fastball guy who, on his best days, has an out pitch hammer curveball. Like most pitching prospects from the Northeast, DeCarr doesn’t have a ton of innings or experience under his belt. He was committed to Clemson. You can see all of the team’s picks at Baseball America.

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Got nine questions and seven answers for you this week. If you want to send us anything, mailbag questions or links or comments or whatever, use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar.

(Drew Hallowell/Getty)

(Drew Hallowell/Getty)

Scott asks: I’m sure this has been asked a million times but how about Cole Hamels? It is a pretty big contract but money isn’t an issue. Cliff Lee is hurt and the Phillies are pretty bad. He has had some injury issues but what would it take?

Hamels started the year on the disabled list with a shoulder issue, but he has a 3.07 ERA (2.80 FIP) in ten starts and 67.1 innings since being activated, so he’s been as good as ever. There is still $103M or so left on his contract through 2018, so he could be a cheaper alternative to upcoming free agents like Max Scherzer and Jon Lester. The only problem is that you’d have to trade players to get him. The Phillies aren’t exactly hurting for cash either. If they trade Hamels, it won’t be for salary relief only. The shoulder issue is a little scary, especially because he has had some other shoulder problems in the past, but I do think Hamels is worth keeping in the back of your mind as a Scherzer and Lester alternative over the winter. I don’t think the Phillies are going to go into sell mode at the deadline no matter how bad things get.

Erick asks: We all know Ichiro won Rookie of the Year and MVP. Has anyone ever won Rookie of the Year and Cy Young? I know it’s dreaming since pitchers nowadays rarely get mentioned as MVPs, but MVP, CY and ROY for Tanaka? How crazy would that be?

Fernando Valenzuela is the only player in history to win the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards in the same season. He did it back in 1981. Jose Fernandez came kinda close last year, when he won the Rookie of the Year and finished third in the Cy Young voting behind Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright. Tanaka obviously has a very good chance to win both awards this season with the obvious caveat that he still has about 20 starts to go. Sweeping the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and MVP awards would be completely ridiculous. Ridiculously awesome.

Dan asks: At this point, it’s honestly worth wondering if the Yankees should be buyers or sellers. Is one bat really enough to put this team over the top? I don’t think so. If they became sellers, who (if anyone) would they be able to move? Hiroki Kuroda, Ichiro Suzuki, and Brett Gardner is pretty much it, right?

To be fair to Dan, this question came in a few days ago, before the sweep of the Mariners. Things obviously felt quite different then.

Anyway, they aren’t going to sell. They’re the Yankees. They’re close enough to both the division lead (3.5 games back) and a wildcard spot (tied for the second spot) that they’ll go for it and try to add pieces at the trade deadline, especially after spending all that money over the winter. One bat probably isn’t enough to put them over the top, but a bat and a starter and improved performance from Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann might be.

In the highly unlikely event they do sell, I think Kuroda, Gardner, and David Robertson would be their most attractive trade chips. Kuroda has a no-trade clause but would probably waive it to go back to Los Angeles, either the Dodgers or Angels. His family still lives out there. Gardner and especially Robertson would make sense for several teams. Ichiro could draw some interest but the return wouldn’t be anything great. That’s really it. Not much available for this team to realistically sell before the deadline.

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

Joey asks: Assuming the NYY either acquire a starter or Michael Pineda comes back and can contribute, who goes first between Chase Whitley, Vidal Nuno, and David Phelps? Whitely gives the least distance but seems to be the best of the bunch, Phelps seems to be best in a reliever role. Thoughts?

Dustin asks: What is with Joe Girardi always pulling Whitely out of the game early? Has he never thrown 100 in a game before?

Going to lump these two together. First, no, Whitley has never thrown 100 pitches in a game before. His career high is 91 pitches in the game against the Cardinals a few weeks ago. Remember, he was a reliever up until the end of last year. He’s thrown more than 60 pitches in an outing only 13 times in his entire five-year career. Whitely never got the chance to learn how to turn a lineup over a third time in the minors and Girardi has been careful with him in those situations at the MLB level, and rightfully so. I would have liked to have seen him get a chance to finish off that eighth inning last night, but otherwise I don’t think there’s anything wrong with how he’s handled the righty.

At this point in time, I think Nuno would go back to the bullpen whenever Pineda or CC Sabathia comes off the disabled list. Phelps has had three really rough outings in a row but I think the Yankees are more comfortable with him in the rotation. Remember, the only reason Nuno was the first guy to move into the rotation was timing — he made a spot start following a doubleheader and happened to line up perfectly to start again when Ivan Nova blew out his elbow. Phelps has more experience as a starter at the MLB level and his stuff is better. Nuno feels like the guy to go back to the bullpen in my opinion, but that could change by time Pineda or Sabathia actually get healthy

nycsportzfan asks: Hey Mike, I was wondering if you thought the Yanks could make one big trade at the deadline to find a hitter and pitcher? Examples are Aaron Hill and Wade Miley from D’Backs, Andrew Cashner and Everth Cabrera from Padres, and Charlie Morton and Neil Walker from Pirates? Could Yanks have enough to make a similar deal to those I mentioned happen? Kill two birds with one stone type thing.

I think the most realistic scenario for a trade like that would be Hill and Brandon McCarthy from Arizona. I haven’t heard anything about Miley being available, which makes sense since he is under team control for another few years and McCarthy will become a free agent after the season. I can’t see the Padres trading Cashner and I don’t think the Pirates would move Morton (just signed an extension) or Walker (local Pittsburgh guy). Ben Zobrist and David Price would be the best case scenario, but that ain’t happening. Maybe Alex Rios and Colby Lewis? Luis Valbuena and Jason Hammel would actually be a real nice fit. Valbuena can play second and third and is hitting .288/.394/.456 (136 wRC+).

Sandro asks: When the Yankees drafted Aaron Judge last year, he was touted as a potential center fielder with huge power. At 6’7″ 230, he has a similar body type to another slugger, Giancarlo Stanton. Is this comparison too hopeful?

Yes. Stanton was a third year big leaguer when he was Judge’s age. Also, Judge has big power, but it’s not Stanton power. Stanton has true 80 power (on the 20-80 scale). Just let Judge be himself. It’s unfair to compare him to Stanton. They have very little in common aside from being physically huge outfielders.

Harrison. (StudentSports.com)

Harrison. (StudentSports.com)

Jack asks: Oppenheimer was quoted that with each of the first two picks they were within “one or two picks” of picking a position player, instead of the two pitchers they actually took. Looking at rounds 2 and 3 the only position players picked 1 or 2 picks before the Yankee picks were Matt Railey (Rd3) and Aramis Garcia (Rd2). What do you think of those 2 instead of the two the Yankees picked?

Danny asks: Any of their 2014 draftees enter Yankees top 20 prospects?

Going to lump these two together. Here’s the full quote from scouting director Damon Oppenheimer, in case you missed it (via Chad Jennings):

The Yankees first five picks were pitchers, but that wasn’t deliberate
“It really was just coincidence because we were real close, within a pick or two, of a position player both with the first pick and the second pick. So it could have gone either way real quick,” Oppenheimer said.

Missouri HS OF Monte Harrison and Georgia HS OF Michael Gettys were selected 50th and 51st overall, respectively, a few picks before the Yankees took Mississippi State LHP Jacob Lindgren with the 55th selection. (Garcia was 52nd.) Oregon State OF Dylan Davis and Railey were taken 87th and 89th overall, again respectively, right before the Yankees grabbed Connecticut HS RHP Austin DeCarr with the 91st pick.

I think Oppenheimer was referring to Harrison and Gettys specifically because they were considered first round talents who slid for whatever reason. The Yankees seem to love their toolsy and athletic high school position player prospects and those two definitely fit the bill. I would have preferred either over Lindgren because they offer way, way more upside than the typical 55th selection. Alas, it was not meant to be. As for the third round, I don’t really have a preference for Davis or Railey over DeCarr. Davis did not have a good spring by top college player standards at all (.283/.338/.430). Without spending too much time thinking about it, give me DeCarr over the other two.

The signing deadline is Friday, July 18th, so I’m going to post my annual post-draft top 30 prospects list the following week (here’s the pre-draft list). I haven’t put too much through into it yet, but Lindgren is a safe bet to crack the top 20. DeCarr might. He is a lock for the top 30 though. Central Michigan RHP Jordan Foley will get consideration for the top 30, ditto Florida HS RHP Garrett Cave and Connecticut HS 3B Will Toffey if they sign. That’s about it. With no first round pick and a draft class geared more towards probability than upside, not many guys will jump into my top 30. The international signing period will be a different story.

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The Yankees have officially signed fifth round draft pick RHP Jordan Foley, he announced on Twitter. Chris Cotillo says he received a $317,500 bonus, which is full slot value for the 152nd overall pick. You can see all of the team’s picks at Baseball America and keep tabs on the draft pool situation with our 2014 Draft Pool Tracker.

Foley, 21 next month, was ranked as the 128th best prospect in the draft class by Baseball America. “Foley works primarily off an 89-94 mph fastball, touching 96, and at times he shows a plus slider, though he struggles to repeat it. Other scouts see Foley as a reliever because he uses a split-finger fastball as a changeup to combat lefthanded hitters,” they wrote in their subscriber-only scouting report. The Yankees also drafted Foley in the 26th round of the 2011 draft out of high school.

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