Monday, June 9, 2014

2014 MLB Draft Thoughts And Afterthoughts

(The right-handed Ian Clarkin?  Used courtesy of The Foxboro Reporter)

The Yankees wrapped up their 2014 draft on Saturday by following the formula they had set in the first 2 days.  They were focused primarily on college players and pitchers, with over 80% of their 39 picks making up that first category and over 60% the second.  It was hardly a gambling man's draft by the Yankees, with signability reigning supreme over upside.  That said, I think the Yankees did a pretty good job selecting players in the first 10-20 rounds who have good chances of helping the team in some capacity in the very near and very distant futures.  I feel better about that possibility than I did after the 2012 or 2013 drafts, so in that respect I guess I have to call the Yankees' draft a success at this point in time.  After the jump, some more thoughts on the players, the possibilities, and the plan from here as a final wrap-up of this year's draft.

- If Jacob Lindgren isn't signed by Wednesday and assigned to an A-ball team by Friday, then the Yankees screwed something up in drafting him.  He's the type of player who gets hurled through the system, and based on the scouting reports I've read I think he will be.  The comparisons to Paco Rodriguez are being thrown around a lot, as the Dodgers drafted him in 2012 and quickly moved him up to the Major League 'pen after a few months, and that wouldn't be a bad road map to follow.  Lindgren can get Major League hitters out today.  The Yankees need to have that in mind when they sign and assign him and work towards the goal of getting him to the show this year as long as he's healthy.

- While Lindgren might be the best draft pick the Yankees made currently, 3rd rounder Austin DeCarr might end up being the best pick from this draft down the road.  I look at him and I immediately compare him to Ian Clarkin.  The minor difference between the 2 is Carr's bulkier body compared to Clarkin's skinny one and the major difference is Carr's right-handedness compared to Clarkin being a lefty, but I see a lot of similarities in the 2.  They're both prep arms, both have good 6'2" frames, both throw a low-90s fastball-power curveball-developing changeup mix, and both show good command for their age.    Hopefully the Yanks are able to use the money saved on their college player picks to incentivize DeCarr to skip Clemson and start his pro career.

- Also on DeCarr, yes I'm aware that he's a cold-weather pitcher and the Yankees haven't exactly knocked it out of the park with Jordan Cote, the last big time cold-weather HS righty they took.  That doesn't change my opinion now.  Every player is different.  You don't give up on guys with that kind of talent just because 1 similar draftee didn't pan out.

- While we're making comparisons, does anybody get a slight Andy Pettitte vibe from Jordan Montgomery?  6'4"/225, features a high-80s-low 90s fastball that he locates very well, a good changeup, a pretty good curveball, and some cutters every now and then, and makes his living by mixing pitches and setting up his out pitches well.  That's basically what Pettitte was in his final stint as a Yankee, so to have that profile in a pitcher 15 years younger than him is encouraging.  Montgomery is another guy I want to see signed and assigned quickly.  If he tears up A-ball and finishes in Double-A this season, he's a very legitimate prospect heading into 2015; top 20 potential.

- I could get onboard the Jordan Foley train soon too.  The Yanks took him in 2011 out of HS and couldn't sign him, so they tried again this year and got him in the 5th round.  He can touch 95 with his fastball, has a real good slider, and a pretty good splitter.  That could be a lethal combination as a starter, especially if the Yankee MiL staff is able to iron out Foley's mechanics.  If they can't, he can still profile as an above-average relief prospect down the road.  Those are the type of college arms I'd prefer they go after instead of the high number of already-converted relievers they did take.

- The lack of power added in the first 2 days of the draft was a bummer.  Conner Spencer, Mark Payton, Vince Conde, and Ty McFarland.  All taken in rounds 7-10, none with any kind of real power in their bats whatsoever.  I'm betting these are the guys who are going to get well below slot value signing bonuses to save money for DeCarr, but would it have killed the Yanks to draft somebody with some pop?  College hitters without it seem more destined for life as organizational filler than as legit Major League options.

- If there's another big bonus HS player, I bet it ends up being Garrett Cave, the righty HS pitcher taken in the 17th round.  He's got a great frame at 6'3", already throws mid-90s with his fastball, has a curveball that shows plus potential, and at 17 years old he was one of the youngest players in the draft.  He doesn't turn 18 until the middle of next month.  The Yanks can hand out a big bonus to him without pool restrictions and I'd really like to see them do it.  Lotta potential in this kid.

- From the scouting reports I read, it definitely seemed like the Yankees were following the St. Louis scouting method and targeting pitchers who were good athletes.  I saw a lot of "good athleticism" mentioned a lot in the profiles on the pitchers they took early, and it would be nice to see that translate into early success, good command, and quicker development.

- With so many first baseman taken out of the position players (4) and very few shortstops and catchers, I'm expecting the Yanks to use their upcoming international spending spree to add some impact up-the-middle talent.  They've been good at that lately (Montero, Sanchez, Torrens, Avelino, Estrada) and from what I understand there are some more gems out there to be had in this year's international class.

- Like I said in the intro, I feel better about this draft class right now than I did the last 2.  I also recognize that the ceiling on this class is lower than that of the last 2, so I won't really be able to say anything definiteive until some of these high picks get into game action and show what they're capable of to establish a more accurate ceiling.  I didn't love the strategy, but I understand why the team did it.  As long as they follow through on their big international spending plans, 2014 could turn out to be one of the best in terms of farm system building in the last few years.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

" The Yanks can hand out a big bonus to him without pool restrictions and I'd really like to see them do it. Lotta potential in this kid."

That isn't true, the Yanks can offer up to 100K without restrictions on the pool, anything over that comes out of the draft pool for the top ten picks.