• Yankees 1st Round Draft Picks Since 1990

    Posted by on January 9th, 2011 · Comments (33)

    Note: From 1986 through 1989, the Yankees did not have any first round draft picks. And, they did not have one in 2002.

    Year Rnd OvPck   Pos Type Drafted Out of
    2010 1 32 Cito Culver (minors) RHP HS Irondequoit HS (Rochester, NY)
    2009 1s 29 *Zachary Heathcott (minors) CF HS Texas HS (Texarkana, TX)
    2008 1 28 Gerrit Cole (minors) RHP HS Orange Lutheran HS (Orange, CA)
    2008 1s 44 *Jeremy Bleich (minors) LHP 4Yr Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
    2007 1 30 Andrew Brackman (minors) RHP 4Yr North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC)
    2006 1 21 *Ian Kennedy RHP 4Yr University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
    2006 1s 41 *Joba Chamberlain RHP 4Yr University of Nebraska (Lincoln, NE)
    2005 1 17 *Carl Henry (minors) SS HS Putnam City HS (Oklahoma City, OK)
    2004 1 23 *Phil Hughes RHP HS Foothill HS (Santa Ana, CA)
    2004 1s 37 *Jonathan Poterson (minors) C HS Chandler HS (Chandler, AZ)
    2004 1s 41 *Jeff Marquez RHP JC Sacramento CC (Sacramento, CA)
    2003 1 27 Eric Duncan (minors) 3B HS Seton Hall Prep HS (West Orange, NJ)
    2001 1 23 *John-Ford Griffin OF 4Yr Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL)
    2001 1s 34 *Bronson Sardinha SS HS Kamehameha HS (Honolulu, HI)
    2001 1s 42 *Jon Skaggs (minors) RHP 4Yr Rice University (Houston, TX)
    2000 1 28 David Parrish (minors) C 4Yr University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)
    1999 1 27 David Walling (minors) RHP 4Yr University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR)
    1998 1 24 Andy Brown (minors) OF HS Richmond HS (Richmond, IN)
    1998 1s 43 *Mark Prior RHP 4Yr University HS (San Diego, CA)
    1997 1 24 *Tyrell Godwin OF HS East Bladen HS (Elizabethtown, NC)
    1997 1s 40 *Ryan Bradley RHP 4Yr Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)
    1996 1 20 *Eric Milton LHP 4Yr University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    1995 1 27 Shea Morenz (minors) OF 4Yr University of Texas (Austin, TX)
    1994 1 24 Brian Buchanan 1B 4Yr University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)
    1993 1 13 Matt Drews (minors) RHP HS Sarasota HS (Sarasota, FL)
    1992 1 6 Derek Jeter SS HS Central HS (Kalamazoo, MI)
    1991 1 1 Brien Taylor (minors) LHP HS East Carteret HS (Beaufort, NC)
    1990 1 10 Carl Everett OF HS Hillsborough HS (Tampa, FL)
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 1/9/2011.

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    Would you say that Jeter, Everett and Milton are the picks of the litter here? And, regardless, overall, how well have the Yankees used their #1 picks in the last 20 years? How about the last 10 years?

    Comments on Yankees 1st Round Draft Picks Since 1990

    1. footballstu
      January 9th, 2011 | 12:27 pm

      Here’s my ranking in terms of talent:

      1) Brien Taylor (he was that good)
      2) Derek Jeter
      3) Mark Prior
      4) Gerrit Cole
      5) Phil Hughes
      6) Eric Milton
      7) Carl Everett
      8) Joba Chamberlain
      9) Andrew Brackman
      10) Slade Heathcott

      And my ranking in terms of results or expected results:
      1) Derek Jeter (duh)
      2) Carl Everett
      3) Phil Hughes
      4) Gerrit Cole
      5) Mark Prior
      6) Joba Chamberlain
      7) Ian Kennedy
      8) Eric Milton
      9) Andrew Brackman
      10) Slade Heathcott

    2. LMJ229
      January 9th, 2011 | 12:32 pm

      Wow, that is an eye opening list. It just goes to show you what a crap shoot the draft is. Obviously, we have not been very successful with our number 1s. That is why I don’t mind losing our first round pick for a relatively young(25-30) proven commodity.

    3. Corey Italiano
      January 9th, 2011 | 12:42 pm

      Don’t forget to keep in mind the position in the draft that the Yankees were allowed to select.

    4. Raf
      January 9th, 2011 | 12:55 pm

      @ Corey Italiano:
      I dunno; there have been quality players selected after the Yankees’ picks.

    5. Raf
      January 9th, 2011 | 12:59 pm

      I do think that the lack of drafting hasn’t hurt the Yankees, they’ve always been a club that relied just as much on imported talent. More often than not, prospects have been used to acquire ML talent.

    6. footballstu
      January 9th, 2011 | 1:00 pm

      The Yankees’ farm system would be even better if Gerrit Cole had signed. He’ll be a top 50 prospect as soon as he’s drafted.

    7. Evan3457
      January 9th, 2011 | 1:11 pm

      footballstu wrote:

      The Yankees’ farm system would be even better if Gerrit Cole had signed. He’ll be a top 50 prospect as soon as he’s drafted.

      I saw Cole projected to go #2 to the Mariners in a mock draft. Have no idea if that’s valid or not.
      ==========================================
      In the late 90′s and early 00′s the Yanks’ draft philosophy was changed. They decided to select players who would move quickly through the system and be tradeable commodities, rather than drafting for talent and ceiling level. To put it mildly, it didn’t work. They stopped doing that around 2003, and began to invest more heavily in drafting the right way.

      In terms of evaluation, they drafted poorly from 1993 to 2003, and have drafted better lately. Carl Henry is the only outright bust they’ve drafted #1 in the last 10 years (though you could argue for Bleich as well, depending on his recovery from shoulder surgery, always a very iffy proposition), and they still turned him into 2 1/2 years of Bobby Abreu.

      Hughes, Chamberlain and Kennedy have made the majors, and they all contribute to their teams. Cole ratfinked them. After surgery and struggles, Brackman appears to have turned his career around. Heathcott and Culver look risky, but let’s wait a year or two or four on them.

    8. January 9th, 2011 | 1:28 pm

      Thank you Steve. The idea of fondling a number 1 draft pick when the team is about to sink into the ocean of .500 baseball is ridiculous. Cashman needs to take a second look at Soriano, he can help.

    9. LMJ229
      January 9th, 2011 | 1:55 pm

      @ Joseph Maloney:
      agreed

    10. Raf
      January 9th, 2011 | 2:24 pm

      If the team’s “about to sink into the ocean of .500 baseball” they have bigger problems than a closer. It really isn’t going to make much of a difference.

    11. MJ Recanati
      January 9th, 2011 | 4:04 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      I saw Cole projected to go #2 to the Mariners in a mock draft. Have no idea if that’s valid or not.

      My bet is that he goes #3 because the pitcher ahead of him (Matt Purke) is LHP and might be a wee bit more polished. But the point stands. Cole is a top-3 talent in the draft this year and the best RHP in the draft.

    12. MJ Recanati
      January 9th, 2011 | 4:06 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      Thank you Steve. The idea of fondling a number 1 draft pick when the team is about to sink into the ocean of .500 baseball is ridiculous. Cashman needs to take a second look at Soriano, he can help.

      If you consider how unpredictable relievers can be from year to year, I’d say you’re buying inherent risk in Soriano at an enormous expense when a similarly speculative endeavor — the draft — could yield much better and cheaper results.

    13. MJ Recanati
      January 9th, 2011 | 4:07 pm

      Raf wrote:

      If the team’s “about to sink into the ocean of .500 baseball” they have bigger problems than a closer. It really isn’t going to make much of a difference.

      EXACTLY!

    14. Evan3457
      January 9th, 2011 | 4:17 pm

      I could be wrong but I seem to recall a similar, but lowel-level, bandwagon surrounding the “need” for the Yanks to sign Scott Linebrink, oh, about the off-season of 2007-2008. His 2006-2007 was poor, but in 2004 and 2005, Linebrink was every bit as good as Soriano was in 2010, if not better. He too, was only 30 years old at the time.

      So the White Sox signed him for $13 million plus over 3 years…and got a total of 1.1 WAR over three years for their troubles.

    15. jay
      January 9th, 2011 | 5:30 pm

      So, what’s the argument here (even though it isn’t said, which is typically the way the posts go)? That the Yankees shouldn’t be concerned with losing their #1 pick because they a mixed bag of results with their #1′s previously? Yeah – that makes no sense.

      Going down the list and saying *again* what value these guys have – in trades, as players at the MLB level, or in prospects for the team now that are trade chips at the very least – is pointless because we all know them.

      A first round pick isn’t worth a reliever. Plain and simple. ‘He can help’ is quite simply an argument made by an uninformed person not considering the ramification of such a decision.

    16. MJ Recanati
      January 9th, 2011 | 5:42 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      So the White Sox signed him for $13 million plus over 3 years…and got a total of 1.1 WAR over three years for their troubles.

      Yep, exactly.

    17. Scout
      January 9th, 2011 | 6:03 pm

      I feel a sense of nostalgia looking at that list. Andy Brown, where have you gone? He was the worst “prospect” I’ve ever seen, but someone evidently thought that because he had a Dave Winfield build he would turn into the next Winfield. But Brown simply couldn’t hit a lick. There was some god-awful drafting done in the 1998-2003 period.

    18. LMJ229
      January 9th, 2011 | 9:17 pm

      I think alot of you here are over-valuing our prospects. Look at the list – there are many, many more misses than hits.

      MJ, you are right, both are “similarly speculative endeavors”. That being the case, I’d rather have someone who has performed, and succeeded, at the major league level, than someone who is several years away and may never make it.

    19. Raf
      January 10th, 2011 | 1:59 am

      LMJ229 wrote:

      That being the case, I’d rather have someone who has performed, and succeeded, at the major league level, than someone who is several years away and may never make it.

      Past performance is not indicative of future performance. There have been ML FA’s that have gone bust.

    20. MJ Recanati
      January 10th, 2011 | 8:57 am

      Raf wrote:

      Past performance is not indicative of future performance. There have been ML FA’s that have gone bust.

      More to the point, there have been plenty of relievers that have gone bust. In fact, the great majority of them do.

    21. #15
      January 10th, 2011 | 11:20 am

      I’d trade an AL East proven top shelf reliever/closer type for a 1st round draft pick if I’m the Yankees. If I’m the Royals? No. If I’m the Indians? No. Not doing this deal for Soriano suggests the Yanks are willing to throw in the towel on the season. That’s a mistake. We are still good enough to compete for a playoff spot with a few adjustments and hopefully a mid-season starter pick-up. The name of the game right now is do what we can to get better and then, if we look like we have a chance at the playoffs come June time, get the best starter we can from a salary dump club.

    22. MJ Recanati
      January 10th, 2011 | 11:59 am

      #15 wrote:

      Not doing this deal for Soriano suggests the Yanks are willing to throw in the towel on the season.

      Hardly. You (and others) are attaching a mythical quality to Soriano’s pitching. It’s not like the Yankees will miss the playoffs unless they sign Soriano and signing Soriano doesn’t guarantee them the playoffs anyway.

      The Yankees are wise to value their draft choice if the difference between Soriano and another reliever — let’s call him Jon Rauch — is small enough that they can get value from the reliever they sign AND turn the draft pick into something valuable in the future.

      The Rays traded for Jak Lee of the Cubs in the Matt Garza deal. This allows them to now move 2008 #1 pick Tim Beckham to another position (LF or RF). I bring this up because the Yankees can do the same thing. They can use this year’s first round pick (#31 overall) to draft a player that can make another player in their system redundant, thus freeing that player up for a trade.

    23. LMJ229
      January 10th, 2011 | 10:39 pm

      Past performance is not indicative of future performance. There have been ML FA’s that have gone bust.
      @ Raf:

      I would think past performance at the major league level is much more indicative than no experience at all.

    24. LMJ229
      January 10th, 2011 | 10:47 pm

      @ #15 I’d trade an AL East proven top shelf reliever/closer type for a 1st round draft pick if I’m the Yankees. If I’m the Royals? No. If I’m the Indians? No.:

      Exactly! The Yankees are never in rebuilding mode. They are all about winning now. Maybe if we were picking very low in the first round, it might make some sense to hold onto the pick. But look at our history of first round picks – it’s God awful. Our best prospects right now were not selected in the first round.

    25. MJ Recanati
      January 11th, 2011 | 6:38 am

      LMJ229 wrote:

      I would think past performance at the major league level is much more indicative than no experience at all.

      For starting pitchers and everyday positional players, yes. For relievers, not so much.

      That isn’t to say that Soriano has been bad or unreliable in the past. It’s merely to say that for the money it would take to sign him, the risks outweigh the rewards relative to what it would cost in dollars, years and the forfeited draft pick. If he were a #4 or #5 starter that could eat innings, one could make the argument that he’d be a decent signing. But for 70 innings? That’s a pointless waste of resources without offering the guarantee that he makes the team better in the areas that need the most help.

    26. MJ Recanati
      January 11th, 2011 | 6:40 am

      LMJ229 wrote:

      But look at our history of first round picks – it’s God awful. Our best prospects right now were not selected in the first round.

      A history of bad results from first round picks isn’t a logical reason to forgo another first round pick.

    27. LMJ229
      January 12th, 2011 | 11:15 am

      By my count we have had 2 (TWO!) first round draft picks since 1970 who have made it to the big leagues and had a significant impact on the club and they were both drafted very low in the first round: Thurman Munson (picked 4th overall) and Derek Jeter (picked 6th overall). Nearly every other player has had little to no significant impact on the Yankees ML roster. (Hopefully, Hughes and Chamberlain will but the jury is still out on them)

      Even the “holy grail” of farm systems during the 90s only had one significant hit in the first round: Jeter. Posada and Petitte were drafted in the 24th and 22nd rounds, respectively, and Bernie and Mariano were signed as amateur free agents.

      Overall, our most successful “home grown” players were drafted after the first round – Mattingly (19th), Guidry (3rd) or were signed as amateur free agents (Wang and Cano).

      With so many non-impact first round picks, it is ridiculous to value that pick as highly as Cashman does. History shows that the first round pick should only be valued that highly if it is a top ten pick. If it’s top ten, then by all means, hang onto it. If it isn’t, he shouldn’t hesitate to trade it for a proven major league player.

    28. LMJ229
      January 12th, 2011 | 11:22 am

      jay wrote:

      A first round pick isn’t worth a reliever. Plain and simple.

      So, looking at that list, you wouldn’t trade any of those players for Rafael Soriano?

    29. MJ Recanati
      January 12th, 2011 | 12:21 pm

      LMJ229 wrote:

      So, looking at that list, you wouldn’t trade any of those players for Rafael Soriano?

      That’s not a well-formed question. Yes, of course I’d trade the worst player on the list for Rafael Soriano. But that’s with the benefit of hindsight. The point is that one should hope and expect that a first round pick will eventually yield more value than a relief pitcher likely to earn $30M.

    30. MJ Recanati
      January 12th, 2011 | 12:57 pm

      LMJ229 wrote:

      With so many non-impact first round picks, it is ridiculous to value that pick as highly as Cashman does. History shows that the first round pick should only be valued that highly if it is a top ten pick. If it’s top ten, then by all means, hang onto it. If it isn’t, he shouldn’t hesitate to trade it for a proven major league player.

      There are two things wrong with this. First, you’re making a faulty assumption (using hindsight, to boot) that previous failures with first round picks automatically guarantees future failures.

      Second, although Victor Wang’s exceptional work (seen here: http://tinyurl.com/y8bzo7c) shows that the bottom third of the first round produces very little value over replacement, I’d only use this kind of analysis when choosing between players that are nearly guaranteed to provide value and players that are far more speculative.

      It was no big deal to give up draft picks for Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett. All three had track records of success and, certainly in the case of the first two, there was a very high likelihood that the success would not be fleeting. There is more than enough evidence to demomstrate the volatility of relief pitchers in general, to say nothing of the added cost of signing a reliever to the kind of contract it would take to sign Soriano.

      Can Soriano likely outperform this year’s 31st pick in the draft? Sure. But is that bet worth the 3Y/$30M it would take to find out? I certianly don’t think so. $10M is an awful lot of money to spend on a relief pitcher, especially one that isn’t even the closer. And should he fail, the Yankees will have not only given up a draft pick but allocated their resources poorly into an area that isn’t a clear need on this team.

    31. LMJ229
      January 12th, 2011 | 6:06 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      The point is that one should hope and expect that a first round pick will eventually yield more value than a relief pitcher likely to earn $30M.

      I agree, that is what we should hope and expect, but our experience shows that that is not the reality of it. I’m not using hindsight, I’m actually using foresight, playing the percentages. If we fail on our first round picks 85-90% of the time, why are we so bent on keeping them?

      It sounds to me like your issue is more with the quality of the pitcher (Soriano) and the contract he would demand. In that case, I could see your point.

    32. MJ Recanati
      January 13th, 2011 | 2:52 pm

      LMJ229 wrote:

      If we fail on our first round picks 85-90% of the time, why are we so bent on keeping them?

      As I’ve said at least a dozen times on this thread, this logic makes no sense. That the Yankees have failed in the past doesn’t mean they will always fail in the future.

      LMJ229 wrote:

      It sounds to me like your issue is more with the quality of the pitcher (Soriano) and the contract he would demand. In that case, I could see your point.

      More or less. First, most relief pitchers have a very high degree of performance volatility and, second, the years and the money it would take to get Soriano to be the set-up man would be absurd, especially when compared to what it costs to draft a player with the 31st pick (and the savings associated with controlling that player for six years).

    33. Evan3457
      January 13th, 2011 | 3:10 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      First, most relief pitchers have a very high degree of performance volatility and, second, the years and the money it would take to get Soriano to be the set-up man would be absurd, especially when compared to what it costs to draft a player with the 31st pick (and the savings associated with controlling that player for six years).

      Bingo.

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