• Madden: Yanks Losing Draft Wars With Sox

    Posted by on May 24th, 2008 · Comments (18)

    From Bill Madden today:

    The problem is, [the Yankees Brian] Cashman has been handicapped by the incompetence of the Tampa-based scouting department. If you want to know why the Red Sox are suddenly the team talking dynasty, you need to look no further than the amateur drafts since 2002, where their superior scouts have cleaned the Yankees’ clocks.

    In 2002, the Yankees lost their first two draft picks as compensation for signing Jason Giambi and Steve Karsay and consequently didn’t draft until 71st when they took Brandon Weeden, a high school pitcher from Santa Fe, N.M., to whom they gave a $565,000 bonus before releasing him a couple of years later. The Red Sox took Lester at No. 57 that year.

    In 2004, the Yankees had four picks in the first 50 and took Hughes at No. 23, a high school catcher named Jon Poterson at 37, and pitchers Jeffrey Marquez and Brett Smith at 41 and 42.

    Poterson, who turned out to be a hopeless hitter, got a $965,000 bonus and was released two years later. Marquez, who was one of the young pitchers Minnesota had targeted along with Hughes in the Santana talks last winter, is struggling mightily (6.16 ERA) at Triple-A while Smith showed little promise in three years in A-ball and is on the disabled list at Double-A Trenton.

    Meanwhile, the Red Sox, who lost their first two picks in ’04 for their signing of closer Keith Foulke, took Dustin Pedroia out of Arizona State with the 65th pick.

    But if anything, it was the 2005 draft, in which the Red Sox had four picks in the first 50, all of them after the Yankees’ first pick, that really tipped the scales in the rivalry. In short, it was an absolute disaster for the Yankees, who took Oklahoma City high school shortstop C.J. Henry at No. 17. The Red Sox followed by taking Jacoby Ellsbury at 23, St. John’s closer Craig Hansen at 26, Buchholz at 42 and Stanford shortstop Jed Lowrie at 45.

    From December 1995 through July 2004, Lin Garrett was the Yankees director of scouting. It’s been Damon Oppenheimer since Garrett.

    I’ve already gone on record as to how Lin Garrett clogged up, if not destroyed, the Yankees talent pipeline that was manned pretty well by personnel such as Brian Sabean and Bill Livesey (the Scouting Directors before Garrett).

    Brian Cashman’s greatest gift to the Yankees may have been getting Garrett out of town. Why it took the Yankees so long to figure this out…well, it’s anyone’s guess.

    Comments on Madden: Yanks Losing Draft Wars With Sox

    1. Joel
      May 25th, 2008 | 12:02 am

      The Red Sox have been better or just luckier? Madden has been hitting on this theme for a while now.

      The amateur draft is a crapshoot. The top prospects are high on everyone’s list.

    2. Rich
      May 25th, 2008 | 12:06 am

      Let’s see where we are a year or so from now when Cox, Melancon, A-Jack, Garcia, and Brackman are making contributions.

    3. May 25th, 2008 | 12:41 am

      If the Yankees had three or four recent young players taken in the draft a couple of years ago, would you still be calling it a “crapshoot”? Reminds me of when Joe Torre called the MLB postseason “a crapshoot” after last season’s ALDS loss. He wasn’t calling it a “crapshoot” when the Yankees were winning championships.

    4. May 25th, 2008 | 12:44 am

      I should have added “Currently making serious contributions at the major league level” to “If the Yankees had three or four recent young players taken in the draft a couple of years ago”

      The Omnipotent Q regrets the error.

    5. Rich
      May 25th, 2008 | 12:47 am

      The Yankees potentially had a monster draft in 2006:

      Kennedy, Joba, McAllister, Betances, Melancon, McCutchen, Robertson…

      Luck, however, does play a big role in the postseason, including from ’96-’00.

    6. Don
      May 25th, 2008 | 1:27 am

      Madden has been harping, on-and-off, about the Yankees drafts since at least the mid-90’s. Nothing new here.

      Brackman won’t be contributing for quite a while. He already had problems with mechanics at 6’10+, now that he has had TJ surgery, he’s a long term project.

    7. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      May 25th, 2008 | 10:22 am

      There is luck involved, no doubt, but can there be any doubt that the Red Sox have more impact players either on the Major League club or knocking at the door?

      Clay and Jon tossing no-hitters
      Does anyone in Yankeeland prefer Melky over Jacoby?
      Lowrie looked ready to take over SS if Theo hadn’t been so stupid with the Lugo signing
      Heck, Masterson in two starts looked every bit as good as the best of Hughes, and with a far greater command and stuff than Kennedy has ever shown
      Then there is Daniel Bard who throws in the upper 90s and is back to a 3 or 4 to 1 SO to BB rate

      I keep hearing about great Yankee prospects but all I see is one legit star (if he remains in the pen, Joba as a starter remains a mystery til he does it) two starters with highly dubious results, and two regulars, one of whom is decidedly average and certainly pales in comparison to his Sox counterpart (Melky). All the rest are bullpen guys or everyday players who haven’t even had a cup of coffee yet.

      Given what the Red Sox prospects who are knocking at the door have shown so far, I don’t see how the Yankees alter that balance of power anytime soon. The best they can hope for is to pull even.

    8. Joel
      May 25th, 2008 | 10:45 am

      Buchholz included, not one of the Red Sox pitching prospects is going to be as good as Wang is right now. (And Wang is going to get better.)
      And not one of their prospects will even sniff the career Robbie Cano is going to have. So far all this talk about the Red Sox “player development machine,” the Yanks have done just fine.

    9. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      May 25th, 2008 | 11:13 am

      Yankee blinders much?

      Keep talking friend. Just remember to check in another year or so and remember the nonsense you are spouting.

    10. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      May 25th, 2008 | 11:31 am

      In fact I’m going to tell you right now that Masterson will be a better pitcher than Wang ever dreams of becoming. Why?

      Because he isn’t a one trick pony.

      Because he has a significantly better strikeout rate, with a groundball rate just as impressive as Wang.

      Because he throws his heavy sinker from 84 to 94, making it an even better pitch than Wang’s, plus he has a strong 4-seamer and slider and a developing change.

      Because he is 6’6″ and throws very hard from a near-sidearm slot, his excellent pitches are even tougher on righties. Wang has no deception in his delivery, and because of his reliance on his sinker, the league is learning to lay off anything that starts at the thigh. Masterson has more and better weapons and will be a dominant pitcher long after Yankee fans have stopped saying “well, they all said that its tough to stay on top with a tiny strikeout rate.”

    11. sonnymooks
      May 25th, 2008 | 12:49 pm

      The draft isn’t a crapshoot, its about prep work, scouting, and decision making.

      Lin Garret was a screw up.

      Damon Oppenheimer is a huge and vast improvement.

      The red sox got a head start, the Yankees are catching up with the last few drafts.

      The Yankees have done an awesome job of taking a farm system that was devoid and barren and restocking it and building it into one of the best systems in baseball.

      And the turnaround was rapid, it was fast, and it was quick.

      Between the draft and the IFA market, it’s going to be neck and neck between the red sox and yankees (and a few other teams) with the minors and player development over the next few years.

    12. steve d.
      May 25th, 2008 | 1:20 pm

      so let me get this straight. the sox took lester 14 picks before the yanks even had a pick, and we are supposed to take what from this?? they really cleaned the yankees’ clocks in that draft huh?!

    13. Zack
      May 25th, 2008 | 3:05 pm

      OnceIWasAYankeeFan, if you think Wang is a one trick pony, clearly you don’t actually know him at all.

      To say Masterson is going to be good based on two major league starts is silly, look at his minor league #s, do you even see a track record approaching league average? He has yet to post a season with an era under 4. Your analysis of his stuff makes no sense in comparison to Wang either, who throws a harder sinker, an excellent slider, a split, and a change, and actually has a LOT of deception in his delivery.

      You clearly have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, none. Its okay to try and come on here and sound smart and bash the Yankees, but at least try to back yourself up with arguments that hold matter and make sense.

      Back to the article: Ignoring the fact that Hanson has been a total bust, that same 2005 Yankees draft also produced Austin Jackson, Alan Horne, JB Cox, and Brett Gardner, all of who could be contributing significantly this year (save Jackson).

      And then, when you turn the page to the very next year, the Yankees had a HUGE draft, and the Sox had a “disaster draft.” While the Yanks drafted Kennedy, Joba, Mccallister, Knotos, Betances, Melancon, McCutchen, and Robertson, the Sox drafted, um, Masterson and Anderson? Ryan Kalish I guess?

      But, then again, expecting anything less than mindless anti-Yankee, unresearched drivel from the mediots is asking an awful lot…

    14. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      May 25th, 2008 | 4:21 pm


      Wang has all those pitches, but whenever his sinker stops sinking, he gets pounded all over the park. Funny how that happens.

      Has Wang ever won when his sinker isn’t working?

      Uh, pretty much hardly ever.

      I made no assertions based on two starts. I made assertions based on his stuff, his groundball rates, his deception (you see deception in Wang’s delivery? Yeah, your pinstripe-tinted glasses see plenty of deception. Here’s a quarter-buy a clue) and the projections of scouts and his college coach, a guy who knows something about what good pitchers look like – Tony Gwynn.

      A “disaster” draft? When you’ve got so much talent moving into the upper levels of your system, you can do quite well with a draft that doesn’t have immediate impact guys. In fact, those “immediate impact guys” – i.e., the guys who’ve been rushed through the system. How’s that worked out for Hughes and Kennedy? And oh by the way – 2006 saw Daniel Bard being drafted, who’s straightened out his delivery and has posted a K/BB ratio over TEN.

      Let’s face some facts here:
      You won’t ever admit that a young Red Sox player has any talent or future. Talk about unresearched drivel …

    15. Rich
      May 25th, 2008 | 4:30 pm

      I never understood why Sox fans feel compelled to pee on a Yankee blog. It’s freakin’ boring.

    16. Zack
      May 25th, 2008 | 8:28 pm

      Dude, get a grip. Citing Bard having straightened himself in LOW A is a joke. A JOKE. When he proves he can pitch above that give me a call. And Wang absolutely has deception in his delivery. Its in the form of a slight pause in his delivery which has been cited A LOT has causing problems. But whatever, he doesn’t even need that.

      Let’s see, Wang didn’t have it today and until he tired at 100 pitches, pitched a pretty damn good game. Need more examples? The dude has won 19 games the past two years with ERAs solidly in the 3s. Wang’s ERA over the last two seasons plus this season is a half run better than your main man Josh Beckett. I guess when he, um, sucks he sucks, no matter his fastball.

      But, hey, you can go on “stuff” all you want, or deception, or whatever you want. The fact is that Masterson has yet to show he can be anything but below league average at every single level he has ever pitched at. Try that on for size. He has an era north of 4.1 at EVERY LEVEL. Sure, he may have 18 pitches, but they obviously aren’t working.

      I never said a Sox player/prospect can’t be good. I think Buccholz has a chance to be real good. But your whole argument is based on inaccurate scouting, faulty logic, and incomprehensible argumentation…

      Oh I see, so 2006 was just a draft to let talent build up in the low minors, it was totally planned to let nobody impress. I mean, why draft Joba when you can have someone who will take three times longer or more…

      And I believe the Sox were the ones to rush a player first, you can thank Mr. Craig Hanson for putting your Sox fan’s foot in your mouth…

    17. RollingWave
      May 26th, 2008 | 3:29 am

      Yes, awsome timing on Maddon’s part, completely cutting off the article before 2006, when the Red Sox took 3 guys before Chamberlian. of the 3 guys, all of them played horriblly their first year. with Daniel Bard’s amazing 1:2 K:BB ratio (not a typo) , having said that, all of them are still young enough to turn things around (as Bard is so far)

      VORP wise, Wang has been the top 5 AL pitcher in the 06-07 span and top 10 OVER in the MLB, to claim that a pitcher will be noticablly better than Wang over the last two year is basically claiming that he will win a Cy Young… (as the only guy to have significantly out VORPed Wang in that two year span is Santana / Webb ). it’s pretty ludicrous to make such a claim unless we’re talking about say.. Clayton Kreshaw.

    18. September 25th, 2008 | 3:33 pm

      […] ties back to what I wrote on May 28, 2008: From December 1995 through July 2004, Lin Garrett was the Yankees director of scouting. It’s […]

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