In following the machinations of the 2009 MLB Draft Signing “D-Day”, I’ve been paying close attention to what the Yanks would do with their 10th round selection, Oklahoma State LHP Tyler Lyons.
Admittedly, I am not personally familiar with Lyons, having never seen him pitch live or on TV. I understand that there is a lot more that goes into judging a player than simply looking at statistics. Yet without having ever seen Lyons pitch, I can go by pre-draft scouting reports and two unassailable facts:
1. Although the Yanks drafted him in the 10th round, he was seen by Baseball America and others as borderline 2nd round talent. Despite slipping to the 10th round based on a somewhat lackluster regular season (although he redeemed himself in the NCAA tournament) he was nevertheless regarded as a player who could go somewhere in the 2nd to 5th rounds; and
2. He flat-out dominated the Cape Cod Baseball League to the tune of a 1.77 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, .210 BAA and 44 K’s in 45.2 IP.
Why would you draft a player that you’re taking a flier on, let him pitch in the Cape Cod league and watch him dominate and then not sign him? Presumably, the performance in the Cape should’ve solidified and justified the draft-day gamble on him and given the Yanks comfort that their flier was justfiied.
Instead, according to a response I got from Baseball America’s Jim Callis, the Yanks balked at Lyons’s $500K bonus demand and will let him go back to OSU for his senior season. I find this very odd. While I philosophically understand the need to create a budget and stick to it, I am surprised that $500K was the budget’s threshold.
It seems to me that Cashman and his draft team are operating backwards here. $50M for Carl Pavano in 2005 was OK but 0.1% of that amount was too much to spend in 2009? I grant that the attrition and failure rate for draftees is clearly high, yet I find it odd that the Yanks wouldn’t take a $500K chance on a young lefthanded arm. After all, teams like the Orioles, Diamondbacks, A’s and Pirates are spending oodles of over-slot dollars for their later-round picks and international signings. The Yanks can’t find $500K all of a sudden? Huh?
-Posted by MJ