• The Great Disaster Draft Of ’08

    Posted by on August 16th, 2008 · Comments (14)

    The Yankees had the 28th, 44th and 75th overall selections in the draft this year.

    What happens? With the 28th pick, they take a kid, Gerrit Cole who will not sign. With the 44th pick, they take a kid that many feel was an “over-draft” – Jeremy Bleich. And, with the 75th pick they take a kid, Scott Bittle, with a bad shoulder.

    As a result, in the end, the Yankees only sign one of their first three picks in the 2008 draft – and it was the one who was an “over-draft” – Jeremy Bleich.

    Basically, the Yankees threw away two of the first 75 picks in this draft because of bad decisions on who to pick. They didn’t do their homework in terms of sign-ability and health.

    Sure, they get some extra picks next draft as a result of the “no signs.” But, they also miss the chance to have some premium talent mature in their system over the next year.

    Great job here by “Ca$h-money!,” huh?

    Comments on The Great Disaster Draft Of ’08

    1. The Scout
      August 16th, 2008 | 10:04 am

      As I wrote over on NoMaas, I think the organization mishandled Cole. Knowing Boras negotiates late, the Yankees stood off, instead of wooing him the way they did Marshall and some of the later picks. So the appeal of college took hold without any countervailing influence from the Yankees. That was a serious mistake in approach and bespeaks a degree of complacency that Cole was never serious about college. For these things, yes, the Yankees can be faulted, assuming the published reports about when the negotiations started are correct.

      I thought both Bleich and Bittle were overdrafts, but I don’t fault them for Bittle’s shoulder issues. How, exactly, was the team supposed to know about that? He threw well all college season. And it isn’t the case that players tell pro scouts about shoulder or elbow discomfort.

      Overall, today, it looks like a disappointing draft. I thought the team should have aimed for more “signability” cases in the middle rounds. But let’s remember that you cannot judge a draft for about five years. There are other significant talents the Yankees signed this year who may take some of the sting off over time.

    2. yanksofny
      August 16th, 2008 | 10:13 am

      i posted this in the previous entry about cole:

      The Yankees have given up on Gerrit Cole. Brian Cashman said the player and his family made a “lifestyle choice” and decided on college. It sounds like the Yankees were misled back in June by the kid’s family. They certainly would not have taken him in the first round without believing he wanted to play pro ball. He’s going to UCLA, after all, not Harvard.

      Scott Boras is not behind this. It was all the kid and his family. But the Yankees can’t be too happy with Boras. They certainly consulted with him back in the spring. He has been the Cole’s family’s “advisor” (which is the NCAA’s way of saying agent) for a while now.

      Don’t hurt your arm in college, Gerrit.
      from peter abraham

      You can’t fault the yanks for thinking they had a great shot of signing cole and then his dad takes over in the negotiating process. Bleich was an over draft but he becomes the best left handed pitching prospect in the system and should be a number 3 or 4 type starter.

    3. TurnTwo
      August 16th, 2008 | 11:52 am


      Good job by Cashman in realizing the value of Oppenheimer and for putting him on point for the draft, as he has done now.


      This is why I cannot sign-on with those who like to “credit” G.M. Brian Cashman with rebuilding the (recent) Yankees through the amateur draft and Latin America signings. Maybe it was Cashman’s “idea.” But, Damon Oppenheimer and Lin Garrett did the “work.” If the Yankees recent moves via the amateur draft and Latin America signings make a difference in Yankeeland, Oppenheimer and Garrett, in my opinion, deserve the “credit.”

    4. jessicalee
      August 16th, 2008 | 11:58 am

      I know you are not a fan of Cashman. I also know you are a fan of Damon Oppenheimer. You certainly are free and have rights to blame and dislike every move Cashman makes. In this case, Do you think you need put some blame on Damon Oppenheimer for this draft issue as well?

    5. Raf
      August 16th, 2008 | 1:58 pm

      Great job here by “Ca$h-money!,” huh?
      Don’t forget Oppenheimer…

    6. Don
      August 16th, 2008 | 2:03 pm

      The kid was/is a huge Yankees fan, attended the 2001 WS in Arizona, had his picture taken with players in the hotel lobby, was excited at being drafted by the Yankees. Blah, blah, blah.

      So what happened? Neither Steve nor I nor anybody can fathom this as of now, anything else is conjecture. We really don’t know what went wrong.

    7. hallofamer2000
      August 16th, 2008 | 5:28 pm

      Cole is not the Yankees fault. He changed his mind at the last minute. Besides, it’s way too early to call this draft a bust. (I’m not saying that you did.)

    8. August 16th, 2008 | 10:04 pm

      ~~Don’t forget Oppenheimer…~~

      Why is it that Cashman gets the credit for the draft picks that work, but, now, it’s time to blame Damon when something doesn’t work?

    9. August 16th, 2008 | 10:34 pm

      TurnTwo – I’ll make a deal with you. I would be willing to blame Damon Oppenheimer, 100%, for this draft if you would be willing to say that Brian Cashman deserves zero credit, whatsoever, for any success that the Yankees have had in the draft since 2005. Deal?

    10. Raf
      August 17th, 2008 | 12:16 am

      Why is it that Cashman gets the credit for the draft picks that work, but, now, it’s time to blame Damon when something doesn’t work?

      “One of Cashman’s best decisions — way before the Joba Rules — was to give Tampa-based Damon Oppenheimer complete autonomy over the amateur draft”

      You may also want to reference some of the stuff you’ve written regarding Cashman & Oppenheimer.

      At the very least, both are responsible, sharing credit & failures. It probably goes without saying that it’s kinda early to label the 2008 draft a bust.

    11. Jake1
      August 18th, 2008 | 9:36 am

      No other way around it.

      This draft was a total disaster. Not one top 75 prospect was added to the system when we had 3 top 75 picks.


    12. Raf
      August 18th, 2008 | 10:48 am


      New York Yankees

      Overall Talent Grade – A-

      Top Selections – Gerrit Cole, Jeremy Bleich, Scott Bittle, David Adams, Corban Joseph, Chris Smith

      Early Selections Overview – The Yankees continue to use their first couple picks on top talents who fall into their laps for various reasons. They were able to land the best arm in the class, Gerrit Cole, as well as one of the best lefties in the class, Jeremy Bleich, who fell because of an injury plagued spring. New York is also seeming to make a habit of getting a quality college closer year after year now. Bittle could rocket through their farm system. And, after selecting Adams, who gives them the polished college position player that they need in their system, the Yankees then went for upside taking Corban Joseph and the huge talent that is Chris Smith.

      Sleepers/Tough Signings – It’s rare to get as quality a college arm as the Yankees got in round ten when they landed Clemson righty, D.J. Mitchell. Mitchell is the owner of a heavy 89-94 MPH fastball but faded down the stretch this spring. The Yankees, as usual, have a number of high upside late round selections, but two that stick out as potential tough signings are prep shortstop, Garrison Lassiter and prep lefty, Blake Monar.

      I’ll wait a few years before declaring the draft a disaster.

    13. mph2373
      August 18th, 2008 | 12:03 pm

      Nice. You give Cashman credit for hardly a thing, but now this draft is all on him. Glad to see that I’ve stayed away for a reason.

      Just seem to go for the snark. Well, it’s your blog and best of luck to you. I can see why a lot of comments just drifted…

    14. May 22nd, 2010 | 6:44 pm

      […] were Gerrit Cole, Jeremy Bleich and Scott Bittle. Back at the time of these picks, I called it The Great Disaster Draft Of ‘08. And, I still stand by that statement. Here are just some of the prospects that the Yankees passed […]

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