• This Year Another Busted Draft For Cashman?

    Posted by on May 29th, 2009 · Comments (37)

    This year’s baseball draft will start on June 9th. The Yankees first three picks in the draft are the 29th overall pick, the 76th overall pick, and the 135th overall pick – bad selections thanks to all the free agents that New York signed this off-season. (Actually, the Yankees are lucky to have those 29th and 76th picks – because they only have them as a result of not signing their 1st and 3rd picks in last year’s draft.)

    Most feel that this draft pool is not a great one. So, you can look at this in two ways.

    From one angle, you can say “Smart move by the Yanks, giving up all their early picks, because this draft stinks anyway.” Or, from another angle, you can say “Bad move by the Yanks, they didn’t sign two of their first three picks last year and now they have three bad picks in a beat draft this year. This will be two years in a row with no premium talent added to the pipeline.”

    Just for the heck of it, here are the Yankees first three picks in each draft since Brian Cashman took over as G.M. of the team:

    Year	Pick	Player	           Pos
    2008	1	Gerrit Cole	   RHP
    2008	2	Jeremy Bleich	   LHP
    2008	3	Scott Bittle	   RHP
    2007	1	Andrew Brackman	   RHP
    2007	2	Austin Romine	   C
    2007	3	Ryan Pope      	   RHP
    2006	1	Ian Kennedy	   RHP
    2006	2	Joba Chamberlain     RHP
    2006	3	Zachary McAllister   RHP
    2005	1	Carl Henry Jr.	   SS
    2005	2	James Cox      	   RHP
    2005	3	Brett Gardner	   OF
    2004	1	Philip Hughes	   RHP
    2004	2	Jonathan Poterson    C
    2004	3	Jeffrey Marquez	   RHP
    2003	1	Eric Duncan	   3B
    2003	2	Estee Harris	   OF
    2003	3	Timothy Battle	   OF
    2002	1	Brandon Weeden	   RHP
    2002	2	Alan Bomer	   RHP
    2002	3	Matt Carson	   OF
    2001	1	John-Ford Griffin    OF
    2001	2	Bronson Sardinha     SS
    2001	3	Jon Skaggs	   RHP
    2000	1	David Parrish	   C
    2000	2	Danny Borrell	   LHP
    2000	3	Jason Grove	   OF
    1999	1	David Walling	   RHP
    1999	2	Gary Winrow	   OF
    1999	3	Alex Graman	   LHP
    1998	1	Andy Brown 	   OF
    1998	2	Mark Prior	   RHP
    1998	3	Randy Keisler	   LHP

    Wow. From these picks, how many would you say are “success” stories?

    Me? Maybe I see three: Chamberlain, Hughes and Gardner – in the sense that they have seen some success at the major leage level and they’re still in the majors. The rest of these guys either flamed out or have yet to show that they are players capable of doing good things at the major league level.

    Basically, for the last 11 years, under Brian Cashman, the Yankees have screwed up their first three picks in the draft – on the whole of it. So, maybe it doesn’t matter that the Yanks have three bad picks, for their first three choices, in a less-than-stellar draft this season? After all, even if they had good draft position for those picks, would they even know what to do with them?

    Comments on This Year Another Busted Draft For Cashman?

    1. Corey
      May 29th, 2009 | 9:40 am

      they turned marquez into swisher who’s a big reason we are .5 game back of first on this day

    2. MJ
      May 29th, 2009 | 9:53 am

      they turned marquez into swisher who’s a big reason we are .5 game back of first on this day
      ———
      And they turned CJ Henry into Bobby Abreu. Abreu may not be totally appreciated around here anymore but he did do a good job for the Yanks for his 2.5 seasons.

      Separately, it’s too soon to judge the 2007 and 2008 picks as busts, althought it’s certainly fair to say that the 2008 draft turned out badly for the team when two of their top three picks weren’t signed.

    3. May 29th, 2009 | 9:54 am

      Some would say that the Yankees would be in 1st place by three games or so…if not for Swisher’s last, say, 150 PA, or so…

    4. May 29th, 2009 | 9:56 am

      FWIW, I would say the Yankees turned a willingness to take on Abreu’s contract more of the reason why they got him…rather than the promise of Henry.

    5. MJ
      May 29th, 2009 | 9:56 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Some would say that the Yankees would be in 1st place by three games or so…if not for Swisher’s last, say, 150 PA, or so…

      You’re kidding right? Considering how “lucky” the Yanks have been to win all those games (Lidge’s implosion, three walk-offs vs. the Twins…) how can you possibly turn around now and argue that Swisher’s holding the team back from greater heights? It makes no sense to spend the better part of the past 20 days arguing how the Yanks are mediocre and not as good as their record and then argue the opposite point.

    6. MJ
      May 29th, 2009 | 9:57 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      FWIW, I would say the Yankees turned a willingness to take on Abreu’s contract more of the reason why they got him…rather than the promise of Henry.

      Cash considerations notwithstanding, Henry was the main player in the package sent to Philadelphia. No one’s arguing that CJ Henry is any good — clearly he isn’t — but that doesn’t change the fact that the Yanks acquired Abreu for him.

    7. Raf
      May 29th, 2009 | 9:58 am

      From one angle, you can say “Smart move by the Yanks, giving up all their early picks, because this draft stinks anyway.” Or, from another angle, you can say “Bad move by the Yanks, they didn’t sign two of their first three picks last year and now they have three bad picks in a beat draft this year. This will be two years in a row with no premium talent added to the pipeline.”

      Another angle is “it doesn’t really matter, given that players can be acquired via FA or trade”

    8. MJ
      May 29th, 2009 | 10:02 am

      @ Raf:
      Agree, but only to a point. It’s a lot harder to make trades when your farm system is so barren. I can certainly accept the argument that the Yanks don’t need to have *the best* farm system in order to be World Series contenders but I don’t think they can have *the worst* farm system either and legitimately expect to be competitive over the long haul.

      FWIW, my personal preference is for the Yanks to use their tremendous financial might to be leaders in both the free agency and player development arenas. Boston’s player development model with New York’s money would be the ideal.

    9. Corey
      May 29th, 2009 | 10:06 am

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      so without swisher’s first month heroics, and without the last 150 PA (where they’ve won consistantly) somehow they could be in 1st by 3 games? How do you figure?

    10. Raf
      May 29th, 2009 | 10:14 am

      MJ wrote:

      @ Raf:
      Agree, but only to a point. It’s a lot harder to make trades when your farm system is so barren.

      Can’t say that I agree, given the reasons players become available. A lot depends on what a team has to offer. It only becomes a problem when there isn’t any talent at the ML & the MiL levels.

    11. May 29th, 2009 | 10:14 am

      Have you seen Swisher’s stats over his last 140-150 PA’s? How the hell could they have possibly helped the Yanks win any games during that time?

    12. Raf
      May 29th, 2009 | 10:15 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Have you seen Swisher’s stats over his last 140-150 PA’s? How the hell could they have possibly helped the Yanks win any games during that time?

      See Scott Brosius’ overall line for the 2001 WS.

    13. Corey
      May 29th, 2009 | 10:17 am

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      they still won didn’t they?

    14. MJ
      May 29th, 2009 | 10:18 am

      Raf wrote:

      MJ wrote:
      @ Raf:
      Agree, but only to a point. It’s a lot harder to make trades when your farm system is so barren.
      Can’t say that I agree, given the reasons players become available. A lot depends on what a team has to offer. It only becomes a problem when there isn’t any talent at the ML & the MiL levels.

      This is where cash (money, not the GM) comes in. The Yanks can afford to supplement a weaker farm system by offering to take more expensive players off others’ hands. So, in that sense, I agree with you. But it’s certainly not desirable to have a barren farm system, at least in my opinion. I don’t see any good coming out of constantly overpaying for assets and I think that in certain cases a deal might be left on the table for lack of MiLB assets available.

    15. MJ
      May 29th, 2009 | 10:19 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Have you seen Swisher’s stats over his last 140-150 PA’s? How the hell could they have possibly helped the Yanks win any games during that time?

      But, again, I thought several of those wins were “lucky” or against bad teams? If your original premise is correct then Swisher’s recent poor performance wouldn’t really matter at all.

    16. May 29th, 2009 | 10:20 am

      I chose a not-so-random other team, the Twins, because I was curious how their top 33 picks since 1998 looked.

      2008 – Aaron Hicks, Carlos Gutierrez and Shooter Hunt (great name!)
      2007 – Ben Revere, Danny Rams and Angel Morales
      2006 – Christopher Parmelee, William Benson and Tyler Robertson
      2005 – Matt Garza, Henry Sanchez and Paul Kelly
      2004 – Trevor Plouffe, Glen Perkins and Steven Waldrop
      2003 – Matthew Moses, Scott Baker and John Woodard
      2002 – Denard Span, Jesse Crain and Mark Sauls
      2001 – Joe Mauer, Scott Tyler and Jose Morales
      2000 – Adam Johnson, Aaron Heilman and Tagg Bozied
      1999 – BJ Garbe, Rob Bowen and Justin Morneau
      1998 – Ryan Mills, Marcus Sents and Brent Hoard

      So looking at this list, let’s give the Twins credit for eight success stories in their 11 years: Garza, Baker, Perkins, Span, Crain, Mauer, Heilman and Morneau.

      Now if we discount the Mauer pick because it’s a lot easier to find a top-tier talent at No. 1 than it is at No. 21 (unless you are the Padres, Mets and early-1990s Yankees) that brings the total to seven. Up until last year, Span was a bust, so its worth reminding everyone that sometimes things take time.

      Also worth considering – in the timeframe selected, the earliest the Yankees have picked was 17th (in 2005) and the latest the Twins have ever picked is 28th (in 2007).

      All this is my way of saying that while I’m sure the Yankees haven’t had 11 straight blockbuster drafts, drafting is hard, even for teams that do it very well.

    17. MJ
      May 29th, 2009 | 10:22 am

      @ sean mcnally:
      Agreed.

    18. Raf
      May 29th, 2009 | 10:27 am

      MJ wrote:

      This is where cash (money, not the GM) comes in. The Yanks can afford to supplement a weaker farm system by offering to take more expensive players off others’ hands. So, in that sense, I agree with you.

      I was thinking more of trades like Kelly for O’Neill, or Carter/Alomar for McGriff/Fernandez or the Wells for Clemens trade, where the MiL talent involved wasn’t significant.

    19. MJ
      May 29th, 2009 | 10:38 am

      Raf wrote:

      MJ wrote:
      This is where cash (money, not the GM) comes in. The Yanks can afford to supplement a weaker farm system by offering to take more expensive players off others’ hands. So, in that sense, I agree with you.
      I was thinking more of trades like Kelly for O’Neill, or Carter/Alomar for McGriff/Fernandez or the Wells for Clemens trade, where the MiL talent involved wasn’t significant.

      I see what you’re saying. But as the Yanks get more expensive (A-Rod, Teixeira, Sabathia…) those players become harder to trade. I agree with you from previous threads that there’s no such thing as an “untradeable” player vis-a-vis contracts, but it becomes more difficult to complete MLB-for-MLB trades as your roster becomes more bloated.

    20. May 29th, 2009 | 10:50 am

      sean mcnally – do you have to factor in how many players the Twins could have taken, given their picks/position, and passed on because they’re cheap with dollars/signing bonuses?

      Perhaps, a better study, would be to look at the first 3 picks, over the last 11 years, of the Red Sox or someone else…who has money, and is willing to spend it…like the Yankees?

    21. MJ
      May 29th, 2009 | 11:03 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      sean mcnally – do you have to factor in how many players the Twins could have taken, given their picks/position, and passed on because they’re cheap with dollars/signing bonuses?
      Perhaps, a better study, would be to look at the first 3 picks, over the last 11 years, of the Red Sox or someone else…who has money, and is willing to spend it…like the Yankees?

      Although the Twins are a frugal organization in general, in this particular case it’s worth pointing out that the Twins gave Joe Mauer $5.1M as a draft bonus in 2001. If I’m not mistaken, that’s the largest bonus in their club’s history and not an insignificant amount in the least.

    22. May 29th, 2009 | 11:08 am

      MJ – from Wiki -

      [Mark] Prior re-entered the draft, and was considered by some to be the top prospect, but the Minnesota Twins, who had the top pick, were warned that Prior didn’t want to play for them. Fearing a tough signability problem, the Twins opted to take local talent catcher Joe Mauer, leaving Prior to be taken 2nd overall by the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs had also been considering drafting Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets’ third baseman Mark Teixeira, who went fifth to the Texas Rangers.

    23. Pat F
      May 29th, 2009 | 11:08 am

      steven – this is not a difficult concept, even for you when trying to prove a point, to come to grips with. the yankees won x amount of games when swisher was playing well. he was playing so well that, had he not been playing that well, the yankees would have undoubtedly won less games. by no doing of his own, since he’s gone cold, the yankees have won a great majority of the games they’ve played despite him. he’s been lucky that his bad play hasn’t hurt them in the win-loss column the way his good play helped them in the win-loss column. this is a situation where you can call it “luck” if you want, because certainly had swisher played this way early in the season, the yankees would have won less games and he’d have had a lot to do with it. just like we’d be pointing the finger at him now if we were losing. but we’re not. so while he hasn’t helped us win any games during the “stretch” you spoke of, that’s not what’s important, we haven’t needed him to. what is important is that he helped us win games earlier in the season, and therefore our win total with swisher’s blistering start and all our issues in other areas is higher than it would have been without swisher this season.

    24. Pat F
      May 29th, 2009 | 11:16 am

      to further sean’s point, go check out the #1 overall pick for the last 10-15 years. check out how often that works out. then think about what the unpredictability is in the late first round and beyond, money or no money. i’ll save you the trip – the baseball draft, and projecting 18-22 year old baseball players generally, might be the most unpredictable thing in all of sports. since you offered nothing in comparison, and just gave us the yankees’ drafts, we have no idea if this is even good or bad. par for the course, especially when trying to prove a point on one of “your guys” (cashman, swisher, hughes, etc.). i mean, we’re calling bleich, bittle, brackman, romine, etc. “screw ups” already? are you really willing to take that kind of credibility hit, making that kind of asinine assertion, just to stretch it out to 11 years and make it seem like cashman screwed up as many drafts as possible? everyone knows calling those two drafts “screw ups” yet is absurd. even you should know that.

    25. MJ
      May 29th, 2009 | 11:18 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      MJ – from Wiki -
      [Mark] Prior re-entered the draft, and was considered by some to be the top prospect, but the Minnesota Twins, who had the top pick, were warned that Prior didn’t want to play for them. Fearing a tough signability problem, the Twins opted to take local talent catcher Joe Mauer, leaving Prior to be taken 2nd overall by the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs had also been considering drafting Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets’ third baseman Mark Teixeira, who went fifth to the Texas Rangers.

      You’re not proving a point when the Twins spent $5.1M in bonus money to sign Mauer, nearly double their previous franchise record for bonus baby signings AND when the article you’re citing doesn’t indicate that the Twins weren’t willing to pay Prior, they were leery of drafting someone that didn’t want to play for them.

    26. Corey
      May 29th, 2009 | 11:20 am

      @ Pat F:
      nailed it

    27. AndrewYF
      May 29th, 2009 | 11:26 am

      Um, ever since the Yankees got to have an actual scouting department (2005), their first three picks have been in general pretty darn good. Gardner in 2005 has to be considered a success story, and Carl Henry was the centerpiece for the Abreu deal. 2005: good. In 2006, the Yankees had as good a draft as anyone. Joba needs no explanation. Kennedy rocketed through the minors, but I could understand if you don’t consider him a success story. Zach McAllister is an excellent young pitching prospect currently dominating AA. 2006: great. 2007 is getting a little bit too close to the ‘to be determined’ area, but already you can see it yielded Austin Romine, a very highly regarded catching prospect, which is one of the most valuable commodities in the game. And, who knows with Brackman. His ceiling is absolutely tremendous. But since 2007 has already yielded a prospect most consider ‘good’, I’d say 2007 was also good. No one can complain about 2008 in terms of talent, Cole was the *obvious* pick for the Yankees. That he changed his mind after he was drafted is not exactly the Yankees’ fault. But still, we don’t know what Bleich will turn into. 2008 – probably bad, but incomplete, which honestly is not terrible for a draft class most uninformed people considered “terrible”.

      So, we have good, great, good, incomplete/bad. So what exactly are we complaining about?

    28. AndrewYF
      May 29th, 2009 | 11:28 am

      And, I might say, looking at the first 3 picks in in general a terrible way to grade drafts, but it is a good way to knock the Yankee drafts down a peg, since their quite successful draft strategy includes signability cases which drop to later rounds.

    29. May 29th, 2009 | 11:35 am

      Pat F wrote:

      steven – this is not a difficult concept, even for you when trying to prove a point, to come to grips with. the yankees won x amount of games when swisher was playing well. he was playing so well that, had he not been playing that well, the yankees would have undoubtedly won less games. by no doing of his own, since he’s gone cold, the yankees have won a great majority of the games they’ve played despite him. he’s been lucky that his bad play hasn’t hurt them in the win-loss column the way his good play helped them in the win-loss column. this is a situation where you can call it “luck” if you want, because certainly had swisher played this way early in the season, the yankees would have won less games and he’d have had a lot to do with it. just like we’d be pointing the finger at him now if we were losing. but we’re not. so while he hasn’t helped us win any games during the “stretch” you spoke of, that’s not what’s important, we haven’t needed him to. what is important is that he helped us win games earlier in the season, and therefore our win total with swisher’s blistering start and all our issues in other areas is higher than it would have been without swisher this season.

      Patrick – some stats for you:

      http://waswatching.com/2009/05/29/overall-nick-swisher-is-costing-the-yanks-wins/

      based on these, I see no reason to move off my statement on how Swisher has been a burden to the Yankees efforts to win games.

    30. May 29th, 2009 | 11:36 am

      AndrewYF wrote:

      And, I might say, looking at the first 3 picks in in general a terrible way to grade drafts, .

      Why? Don’t the best players, for the most part, get selected in the first few rounds of the draft – even those who fall because of signing concerns?

    31. AndrewYF
      May 29th, 2009 | 11:48 am

      Steve – no.

      Austin Jackson, a first-round talent, dropped to the bottom half of the first ten rounds in 2005, when the Yankees nabbed him. Dellin Betances, another first-round talent with a commitment to Vanderbilt, dropped to the 8th or 9th round in 2006 when the Yankees nabbed him (although that’s somewhat because Dellin publicly stated he only wanted to play for the Yankees).

      Lars Anderson dropped to the SEVENTEENTH round of the 2006 draft because of signability concerns.

      And there’s also the injury concerns, which only off the top of my head, let the Yankees nab Mark Melancon very late in the 2006 draft.

      Since the Yankees always pick so late in the draft, they have to get creative to pry talent away, and also use their considerable financial might. And, so far, they’ve done pretty well for themselves.

    32. Corey
      May 29th, 2009 | 11:52 am

      @ AndrewYF:
      let’s not forget mr. 22nd round andy pettitte

    33. May 29th, 2009 | 11:57 am

      Those are the rare exceptions – no?

      The % of players who make the majors who are drafted in the first three or four rounds of the draft are MUCH higher than those drafted in the rounds below it. Therefore, those are the better picks/players in the draft.

    34. May 29th, 2009 | 11:59 am

      AndrewYF wrote:

      Since the Yankees always pick so late in the draft, they have to get creative to pry talent away, and also use their considerable financial might. And, so far, they’ve done pretty well for themselves.

      Define your meaning of well.

    35. Pat F
      May 29th, 2009 | 1:15 pm

      i think right after this year’s draft we should declare whomever we draft a screw up. that’s about as sensical as declaring the last two years a screw up.

    36. Evan3457
      May 29th, 2009 | 1:23 pm

      Hmmm…the Yanks draft horribly, trade away all the wrong prospects, the players they bring up are all busts….yet Baseball America ranked the Yanks’ farm system in the top 5 last year, before they graduated Joba and Kennedy, and even now, with Hughes and Kennedy struggling to make it, and the only top hitting prospect above A-Ball is Austin Jackson, BA STILL ranks 15th of 30 MLB farm systems.

      Cashman can’t recognize pitching talent, they buy the wrong pitchers, trade for the wrong pitchers, pick up lousy players of the scrap heap for the bench and bullpen, they’re old, slow and unathletc because of long-term contracts to players who get old, slow and unathletic, and yet they’re well above .500 year after year, and until last season, made the playoffs year after year.

      It’s a National Coq Au Van Day miracle!

    37. Raf
      May 29th, 2009 | 2:12 pm

      AndrewYF wrote:

      Since the Yankees always pick so late in the draft, they have to get creative to pry talent away, and also use their considerable financial might.

      I don’t think that’s the case, as evidenced by the talent available later in the draft. I don’t think they’re prying anyone away from anyone.

    Leave a reply

    You must be logged in to post a comment.