• Yanks Unlikely To Sign 10th Round Selection

    Posted by on August 17th, 2009 · Comments (15)

    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

    Comments on Yanks Unlikely To Sign 10th Round Selection

    1. Evan3457
      August 17th, 2009 | 9:05 pm

      On the surface, there would appear to be no reason not to spend the $500,000 for this guy.

      But they are signing a lot of guys. Maybe Cashman had to promise Hal he’d stick to the budget for draftees as part of the deal to get the money to sign Teixiera.

      I dunno. Just guessing blind here.

    2. Evan3457
      August 17th, 2009 | 9:12 pm

      Is Bryan Mitchell (16th round) a biggie? They signed him, according to Abraham.
      What about Joe Talerico (21st round)? They signed him, too.

    3. Rich
      August 17th, 2009 | 9:12 pm

      Injury issues?

    4. MJ
      August 17th, 2009 | 10:53 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Is Bryan Mitchell (16th round) a biggie? They signed him, according to Abraham.

      Mitchell is a good signing. He’s a high upside HS pitcher that was committed to UNC (great program). The interesting thing is that they spent $800K on him which is WAY WAY over slot. It makes the decision to pass on Lyons even more curious and throws the notion of “budget” out the window with regards to the Oklahoma State lefty.

    5. Schultz
      August 18th, 2009 | 11:05 am

      I would have to say that Jim Callis doesn’t know the whole story. Either he was asking for more than $500K or he was asking for $500K plus something else. I know a couple of recent (last three years) minor league draftees, and one of the things two of them asked for was a full ride to the college of their choice if they didn’t pan out in the minors. They both got it, and one of them had to use it unfortunately, but that can be an expensive proposition for the team, as any parent of a college age kid can tell you.

    6. Corey
      August 18th, 2009 | 12:34 pm

      sounds like 500 k wasn’t the issue

      http://yankees.lhblogs.com/2009/08/18/yankees-also-signed-njs-deluca/

      he got 500k and he was selected in the 44th round

    7. MJ
      August 18th, 2009 | 1:43 pm

      @ Corey:
      Which makes the decision to draft Lyons and watch him tear up the Cape Cod league even more puzzling.

      It’s funny, when Pete Abe says “the Yankees invested well over $6 million in draft picks this season” he makes it sound like the Yanks really put a lot of resources into the draft. In fact, the Yanks got outspent by Seattle, Tampa, and Baltimore, among others. I find it rather curious…

    8. yagottagotomo1
      August 18th, 2009 | 3:44 pm

      Unlike those of us who follow prospects through the reports of others, the Yankees actually scout these players and make decisions based on more than numbers. The Yankees saw Lyons pitch at the Cape, and obviously picked up on something that made him less than a priority to them. They certainly did not pocket the money ticketed for Lyons, as they signed a number of players taken after him to bonuses larger than 500K. The Yankees had a very large budget, but it was still necessary to draw a line somewhere. They valued certain players as much or more than Lyons, and allocated the balance of their budget to those players.

    9. August 18th, 2009 | 3:53 pm

      yagottagotomo1 wrote:

      Unlike those of us who follow prospects through the reports of others, the Yankees actually scout these players and make decisions based on more than numbers. The Yankees saw Lyons pitch at the Cape, and obviously picked up on something that made him less than a priority to them. They certainly did not pocket the money ticketed for Lyons, as they signed a number of players taken after him to bonuses larger than 500K. The Yankees had a very large budget, but it was still necessary to draw a line somewhere. They valued certain players as much or more than Lyons, and allocated the balance of their budget to those players.

      Do you know this as fact, or, is this just your opinion?

    10. MJ
      August 18th, 2009 | 4:09 pm

      The Yankees had a very large budget, but it was still necessary to draw a line somewhere.
      ———–
      I would argue that the Yanks actually didn’t have a very large budget, as evidenced by the fact that they got outspent by lower-revenue clubs.

      Further, I find that line of argument somewhat silly and pedantic. You’re making the assumption that because the Yanks didn’t sign a player they scouted (and I did not scout) that passing on him was the right decision.

      I’m not saying the Yanks were right or wrong to pass on him. I’m simply saying that the decision to draft him was odd if they didn’t intend to sign him. Furthermore, despite the fact that I haven’t scouted him, many others have and he was viewed as a 2nd-to-5th round pick. To get a 2nd-to-5th rounder in the 10th round would seem to be a nice upside play. That he pitched very well in the Cape Cod League would only make the decision to pass on him even more puzzling. In effect, they took a 10th round flier on the kid and watched him do everything he was supposed to do (namely dominate college hitters at the Cape) and then let him go back. It just doesn’t make sense.

    11. yagottagotomo1
      August 18th, 2009 | 7:07 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Do you know this as fact, or, is this just your opinion?

      It is an assumption built on some decent evidence. The alternative is that the Yankees what, forgot about Lyons, despite being asked about him by Lane Meyer about a thousand times?

      MJ wrote:

      I would argue that the Yanks actually didn’t have a very large budget, as evidenced by the fact that they got outspent by lower-revenue clubs.

      I have not seen the list, but I bet that if you took out the first rounders, the Yankees spent as much or more than anybody.

      MJ wrote:

      Further, I find that line of argument somewhat silly and pedantic. You’re making the assumption that because the Yanks didn’t sign a player they scouted (and I did not scout) that passing on him was the right decision.

      I never said that. Nowhere do I say that it was the right decision. All I noted is that the Yankees have more information than we do, so they must have seen something that we didn’t and value the guys that they did sign more. I have a hard time seeing how you can argue with the idea that they valued Deluca, to pick one guy, more than Lyons, being that they gave him the same 500K.

      MJ wrote:

      In effect, they took a 10th round flier on the kid and watched him do everything he was supposed to do (namely dominate college hitters at the Cape) and then let him go back. It just doesn’t make sense.

      So what do you think happened? They got stupid between drafting him and signing him? Or, they saw something besides the numbers at the Cape that turned them off. Or, Lyons wanted a lot more than 500K.

    12. August 18th, 2009 | 8:45 pm

      yagottagotomo1 wrote:

      It is an assumption built on some decent evidence.

      What evidence? A NoMaas interview? That’s it? An interview conducted someone pretending to be a guy from the movie Better Off Dead?

    13. yagottagotomo1
      August 18th, 2009 | 9:22 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:

      Steve, I have no idea what you are talking about. Jim Callis said he wanted 500K. The Yankees signed players yesterday from later rounds for that much or more. It is not hard to assume they valued those players over Lyons.

      Also, disparage Meyer all you want, but Oppenheimer goes on the record with him all the time, and he spoke to Lyons as well. I’m not sure what you are trying to dispute here, when I really did not make much of a shocking statement.

    14. MJ
      August 19th, 2009 | 9:08 am

      So what do you think happened? They got stupid between drafting him and signing him? Or, they saw something besides the numbers at the Cape that turned them off. Or, Lyons wanted a lot more than 500K.
      ——–
      I wouldn’t put it exactly in those terms but, in a way, yes. It seems stupid to me to draft someone in the 10th round that people like as a guy that can go earlier, watch him pitch great and then let him walk, all over $500K. Now, I’m not saying the Yanks would’ve signed him a $50K and that the pricetag scared them off, I’m simply saying it’s kind of stupid to pass on a talented college lefty when all it really costs you is $500K and a few years of development time. I find the decision to draft him and then pass on him illogical given the fact that he did WELL, not POORLY, in the Cape. If he were injured or if he performed poorly or if he got into legal trouble, sure, let him walk. But if all it costs is $500K and you can get a fairly polished college lefty that has received favorable reports AND performed well against good competition, letting him walk is just kinda…stupid…

    15. October 22nd, 2009 | 3:13 pm

      [...] Odds & Ends: Best Pro Debut:  Adam Warren Best Athlete:  Slade Heathcott Closest To The Majors:  Caleb Cotham, RHP (Vanderbilt University) Best Late Round Pick:  Bryan Mitchell One That Got Away:  Tyler Lyons, LHP (Oklahoma State University).  My feelings on this topic are well known. [...]

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