From the Daily News -
The annual June draft – i.e. “The Great Baseball Crapshoot” – will take place a week from Thursday, and while most fans greet this as a day of anticipation, intrigue and hope, Yankee legions have come to view it as a day of dread. For until last year, when GM Brian Cashman took over the supervision of the draft from the incompetents (read: since-fired scouting director Lin Garrett) in Tampa, the Yankees’ record in this annual exercise was abysmal.
Although the jury remains out for at least a couple of years on the trio of blue-chip starting pitchers – Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain and Dellin Betances – Cashman & Co. took with their first, second and eighth picks last year (Kennedy and Chamberlain are off to good starts in the minors at Tampa, while Betances is set to open at Staten Island), the fact that the Yankees haven’t produced a single impact position player out of the draft since taking Derek Jeter in the first round in 1992 speaks directly to the crisis they face now with an aging team and no saviors looming in the system. It’s been said here before – with the exception of Phil Hughes (who certainly looks like the real deal) as their No. 1 pick 2004 – the Yankees have drafted more than 700 players since 1992 and for none of them to make it to the big club as starters, well, you can’t try to be that bad.
As the Yankees have struggled this year, so much focus has been on the starting pitching and the short term, when the real problem lies in the long term where Bobby Abreu looks to be washed up in right field and Johnny Damon’s and Jason Giambi’s beaten-up bodies make them prohibitively productive – with hefty contracts – in center field and DH. Throw in the hardly scary first base platoon of Doug Mientkiewicz and Josh Phelps and the reality of Jorge Posada soon turning 36 in his walk year, and with the new stadium a year away, Cashman’s challenge is obvious: Find younger, comparable-or-better replacements quickly. Unfortunately, according to scouts who have scutinized the Yankee farm system, there’s little there in terms of “plus prospect” position players. The best is 19-year-old outfielder Jose Tabata, hitting .298 with one homer at Single-A Tampa as of Friday.
Here’s a fun, well, actually, sad, fact: From 1991 to 2004, the Yankees drafted 113 LHP – and only 12 of them reached the majors. Of that group, only 5 pitched for the Yankees. The leading winner of that group of five? Randy Choate – who went 3-2 for New York. That’s really sad.
But, here’s the deal with this year’s draft: The Yankees first three picks are (overall) #30, #95, and #125. Yes, in the first three rounds – which includes the supplemental round between the first and the second round – the Yankees have three picks…the last picks of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round.
There’s little chance the Yankees are going to draft anyone this year who is going to be an impact player for them.
If the Yankees need help…in terms of getting young position players…they’re going to have to trade for it.
If the Yanks do fall out of the race this year, they should think about having a fire sale in July. Abreu could probably be moved. Farnsworth, Villone, and Myers too. Get what you can, while you can…and try and pull a rabbit out of a hat with someone else’s prospects.