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June 4, 2006

Draft Preview
by Fabian

In years past, I’ve criticized the Yankees draft picks as they occurred, but this year I’ve decided to switch it up. Utilizing as many reliable draft resources as possible (thank you, Baseball America,, and I’m going to attempt to project some players who SHOULD be available at each of the Yankees’ first 2 picks and then say who I would draft in that situation. I’m not attempting to predict who the Yankees will draft or follow their organizational philosophies, but just go about deciding whom I feel will be the best value at the position. In addition to this, I would like to, if possible, have a running diary during the first day of the draft and change my selections as I see who is falling and rising around the guys I have projected for certain picks. Most likely, it will be impossible for my diary to be completely “live” as I will be at work, so I’m going to try and take notes as the draft progresses and then post them when I get home from work.

The Yankees’ first pick is the 21st overall of the draft. The names that are most associated with that spot are David Huff (C LHP), Chris Marrero (HS 3B), Travis Snider (HS “OF”), Brett Anderson (HS LHP), Brett Sinkbeil (C RHP) and Matt Antonelli (C 3B/2B). Of this group of players the one that I would immediately cross is David Huff, this is despite the fact that he has been the prospect most linked to the Yanks thus far. I have never seen David Huff pitch, but I doubt that there is anything seeing him work could do to change my mind. Huff has average fastball velocity, average breaking stuff, and a supposedly outstanding changeup. He has been likened to Barry Zito because of his average fastball and saga with transferring schools, however, Zito struck out everyone in college and David Huff has only struck out 100 in 129.2 innings as of this writing. While it’s nice that he may reach the big leagues quickly, he looks like an average player at best and that’s not worth a first round pick. The next player I would cross off is Travis Snider, according to his scouting reports, Snider has just about no defensive value and just as with Jon Poterson in ’03, I can not see myself ever advocating the drafting of a player with no defensive value, regardless of how terrific their offensive potential supposedly is. Though I do like Sinkbeil quite a bit, I think he lags behind the other 3 due to inconsistent performance history in college. While college statistics aren’t the end of the world, I like to use them as a tiebreaker, and in this case they hurt Sinkbeil. Of the players left I would rank them Marrero, Antonelli, Anderson as to who I want the Yankees to select in this position. I’m still not sold on Marrero translating his performance to the pro ranks, but I feel his ceiling is considerably higher than the other two who are safer picks.

The Yankees’ second pick is the 41st overall of the draft. Some names commonly associated with that slot are Dallas Buck (C RHP), Matt LaPorta (C 1B), Matt Latos (HS RHP), Jason Place (HS OF), Kris Johnson (C LHP), and Dellin Betances (HS RHP). Buck’s injury issues, though they don’t appear to be too serious, scare me, so despite the fact that he looked like a first round selection entering the year, I would cross him off this list of players first. Matt LaPorta would be the next to go as he has had serious problems hitting for average this year, not to mention that outside of home runs he does not get many extra base hits. Those are two huge warning signs for me when it comes to prospects. Jason Place is considered to be a hitter with a very high overall ceiling, though there is a question about his offensive game translating to the pros. If, I’m able to pick up Marrero in the first round, I would pass on Place as I would like to avoid having too many high risk draft picks, however, if I get Anderson or Antonelli or a safer first round pick, I would keep Place on this list. That said, my top 3 for the Yankees’ 41st pick would be Betances, Johnson, and Latos. Of the three, Johnson seems the safest bet to contribute, but overall I like this group because they all throw hard and as such, even if they don’t make it as starters, they’d likely be converted to the bullpen for some long-term value.

If you’d like to get more up to speed on the draft prior to this Tuesday, you can check out the aforementioned sites as well as, which has videos of some of the draft’s top prospects.