Signing Deadline Passes: Cole Wasn’t Bluffing August 16, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in 2008 MLB Draft, Brett Marshall, Garrison Lassiter, Gerrit Cole, Jeremy Bleich, Scott Bittle.
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Yesterday, we were waiting for three signings: RHP Gerrit Cole (1), LHP Jeremy Bleich (1S), and SS Garrison Lassiter (27). We were hoping for RHP Scott Bittle (2), C Ben McMahan (30), and LHP Chris Dwyer (36), but we knew from D-Opp himself that these were very unlikely signings.
Thursday I posted about how Cole decided to reject the Yankees’ offer and go to UCLA. However, a good point was made accross draft sites yesterday–the advisor to the draft prospect can merely advise the prospect, not negotiate for him. In this case, Scott Boras isn’t allowed to communicate with the Yankees; only Cole or his father, who really ran the show, would do that. With that information in mind, it makes the fact that Cole didn’t signed for reasons unrelated to money more believable.
The decision is quite shocking considering how Cole said he wanted to play pro ball and said that he was a Yankee fan growing up, even going to Arizona to cheer them on during the 2001 World Series. The Yankees can’t be faulted for this; they didn’t know that he would (or his father would make him, which is what I believe happened) change his mind and shaft them like that. Beyond that, it wasn’t a sensible idea, considering how Cole can’t be guaranteed the same money in three years, when he’s eligible again, because he could be injured and then jeopardize his career completely. Terrible decision by Cole, unfortunate outcome for the Yankees.
Bleich and Lassiter needed to get done; Bleich signed for $700K, ~$160K below slot, leading you to believe his elbow isn’t right yet, and that is worrisome. Lassiter signed for 2nd round money, $600K, and, according to Oppenheimer is ahead of Carmen Angelini both offensively and defensively than Angelini was when drafted.
Mediocre draft for the Yankees, but they did get some quality in the later rounds. I’d expect Lassiter or 6th rounder Brett Marshall to end up being the best players out of this harvest.
By the way, the Yankees will have pick 28A (really 30, after 9th overall pick Aaron Crow didn’t sign with Washington) and 60A as compensation for Cole and Bittle in next year’s draft. The class is kinda bad, so I don’t know how much it really helps.
Gerrit Cole Not Signing? August 14, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in 2008 MLB Draft, Gerrit Cole.
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Per Lane Meyer of NoMaas.org, via SI.com and Tyler Kepner, Gerrit Cole will turn down the Yanks’ offer. Both SI and Kepner say that Cole’s rejection was not about the money. If that indeed is true, he will go on to play ball for the UCLA Bruins next spring.
First of all, this isn’t Friday at 11:59:59 PM, the absolute deadline for these picks to sign. I think, in fact, that this is all about the money and, more than that, it’s posturing to despair the fans and pressure the Yanks into giving in a higher bonus. Frankly, if the Yankees gave a Major League deal to a college righty bound to TJ–Brackman–they’re pushing their luck if they don’t give Cole a $4-$5M bonus, even if he’s a high schooler. Remember, this is a kid with more raw talent than Rick Porcello, despite the maturity issues, and he is healthy.
However, Brackman’s deal, also orchestrated by Boras, is coming back to haunt them. While Brackman had to get signed and I am happy he was, the contract is a precedent for the current and future first rounders the Yankees will select. Now that Boras squeezed one out of the Yankees, he’s trying to do it again. The Yankees need to get this done without getting outdone again. Remember, Boras has a chip on his shoulder from losing bad with A-Rod.
In the end, I think this is posturing and a deal gets done.
Still no updates on 1S LHP Jeremy Bleich or 17 SS Garrison Lassiter. Both of these also need to get signed as well.
Mikey O’Brien Has “Better than Even” Chance to Sign June 10, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in 2008 MLB Draft, Mikey O'Brien.
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One of my late-round draft favorites, Mikey O’Brien, has a “better than even” chance to sign, according to Lane Meyer (of NoMaas fame) and his source. The hurdles are his strong commitment to Winthrop and his Red Sox fanhood. (Know a recent Yankees pitcher who was a Red Sox fan growing up? Answer below.)
The NoMaas draft blog is an indispensable resource for signing info, as there is signing info on everyone, even the draft picks in the very late rounds. Hat tip to Lane on this one.
NoMaas even found a surprising troll…
Post-Draft Top 30 Prospects June 7, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in 2008 MLB Draft, Top 30 Prospects.
Some notes before I delve in: First, the comments for prospects already in the organization are the same as the last one, which is here. Comments on drafted players included are here. Second, the list of players already in the system isn’t quite the same as it was originally, so this isn’t just some slotting of where the draftees fit.
- Jesus Montero, C, A
- Austin Jackson, OF, AA
- Gerrit Cole, RHS (2008 draftee)
- Mark Melancon, RHR, AA
- Zach McAllister, RHS, A+
- Dellin Betances, RHS, A
- Alan Horne, RHS, AAA
- Chris Dwyer, LHS, (2008 draftee)
- J.B. Cox, RHR, AAA
- Andrew Brackman, RHS, 60-day DL
- Dan McCutchen, RHS, AAA
- David Robertson, RHR, AAA
- Scott Bittle, RHR (2008 draftee)
- Jeremy Bleich, LHS (2008 draftee)
- Abe Almonte, OF, A
- Brett Marshall, RHS (2008 draftee)
- Jose Tabata, OF, AA
- Ross Ohlendorf, RHR, MLB
- Matt Richardson, SS/RHP (2008 draftee)
- Brett Gardner, OF, AAA
- Jairo Heredia, RHS, A
- Carmen Angelini, SS, A
- Bradley Suttle, 3B, A
- Garrison Lassiter, SS (2008 draftee)
- Corban Joseph, SS (2008 draftee)
- Humberto Sanchez, RHR, 60-day DL
- Austin Romine, C, A
- Chris Garcia, RHS, A+
- David Adams, 2B (2008 draftee)
- Mikey Brown, RHR (2008 draftee)
Just Missed: C Ben McMahan (2008 draftee); RHR Kevin Whelan, A+
Sleepers: OF Chris Smith (2008 draftee); 1B/DH Eric Duncan, AAA
Dropped out: Duncan; Whelan; C Francisco Cervelli, AA; UTIL Justin Snyder, A+; RHS Ryan Pope, A+; RHS Jeff Marquez, AAA; OF Colin Curtis, AA; LHS Mike Dunn, A+; 1B/DH Juan Miranda, AAA; OF Kevin DeLeon, Rk
This system is stacked. The top talent is bound to graduate, but there is depth to go around everywhere. There are quality players with solid opportunities to become useful if not solid Major League players ,if not more. With this talent, if even “just” 75% of it pans out, we will soon see the fading of the likes of Kei Igawa starting in AAA, and more of, say, Brett Marhsall. It’s things like these that make me proud to be a yankee fan.
Draft Recap and Review June 7, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in 2008 MLB Draft, Ben McMahan, Brett Marshall, Chris Dwyer, Chris Smith, Corban Joseph, David Adams, Garrison Lassiter, Gerrit Cole, Jeremy Bleich.
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Overall, I’d say the Yankees had a pretty good draft. First, I’ll review and grade each notable selection (note that the Yankees selected in every round but not every pick is analyzed):
- 1st rd., 28: Gerrit Cole, RHP, HS (California): The only reason Cole was available was due to signability concerns coupled with some overrated makeup issues. Either way, Cole has one of the better arms in the draft, boasting a plus 94-97MPH fastball, a sharp slider at 87-88, and a raw but fading changeup. The latter two pitches have plus potential as well. He still has some projection left, so the velocity may eventually rest in the high 90′s. His delivery is concerning as it is max effort along with other small, incorrect mechanics (showing the ball to CF, etc.) that can be injury concerns. However, these flaws will most likely be corrected by proper professional coaching. There is debate about whether he helps out best as a starter or as a dominant closer. I say to begin with him as a starter and to see how things pan out. Grade: A.
- 1st suppl., 44: Jeremy Bleich, LHP, Stanford: Bleich was on the prospect radar for a while, pitching very well at Stanford in his sophomore year and also doing very well at the Cape Cod League. However, an elbow strain that caused him to miss part of the season really put a damper on his star, and he didn’t have much in terms of stuff (88-91 FB, fading 78-79 change, loopy 72-73 curve), but, according to some reports, Bleich was throwing 93-94 upon returning from his injury late in the year. Apparently the Yankees, interested in a left-handed starter for their system, took Bleich based on seeing that. If he can improve his curve and if the 93-94MPH fastbal report is true, then I like this pick. Last night, at least, he was consistently in the low 90′s and had a very low pitch count throughout the game, which does a lot for me. If he still throws as had originally been reported, then there were certainly better options available–Robbie Ross, Nick Maronde, etc. Grade:B+
- 2nd rd., 75: Scott Bittle, RHP, Mississippi: Bittle throws a sick cutter in the mid-to-high 80′s with plenty of movement that no one can hit, and which he throws about 80% of the time. He can complement that with an 89-92MPH fastball. He struck out almost 2 batters per inning in college, in the SEC no less. His changeup has the potential to be an average pitch. Bittle is a solid grab here, and he should soar through the system as a college closer. Without the big fastball he projects to be a solid set-up guy in the Yankee ‘pen. He was drafted last year in the 48th round. Grade: B+
- 3rd rd., 106: David Adams, 2B, Virginia: Adams reminds me of Dustin Pedroia. A great contact hitter with 10-15HR power at best, not a burner but is good with the glove. And don’t forget all that gritty, hard-nosed stuff too. If the Yankees ever get sick of Cano’s slow starts/slumps and decide to trade him he wouldn’t be a bad replacement. Middle infielders are in short supply in the system but there were probably better options out there. Grade: B
- 4th rd., 140: Corban Joseph, 3B, HS (Tenn.): Joseph is an offensively-minded SS who doesn’t project to stay there for long. He has power to all fields as well as the ability to make solid contact. He has some frame to fill, so there should be more power (and a position change) coming. A good value at this spot and he has good potential. Grade: B+
- 5th rd., 170: Chris Smith, LF, HS (Cal.): I have mixed feelings on this guy. His coaches rave about his abilities, and one, who coached both him and Coco Crisp liked Smith’s skillset more. He had the highest batting average in the country at any level, batting .708 (that’s right, .708). However, BA had him as only the 109th best prospect in California, a baseball hub. Still, .708 is .708 anywhere you go, and if what his coaches say about him is true, I say it’s a good pick. Grade: B
- 6th rd., 200: Brett Marshall, RHP, HS (TEX): Another signability guy. This is an insanely good value pick at 200–plus mid-90s fastball and a potentially plus 87-88 slider. His fastball went up about 10MPH from last year to this year, and has pitched very well. He will take $1M to sign, but that shouldn’t be a problem. He needs to learn how to repeat his delivery, but he is relatively new to pitching. Grade: A
- 9th rd., 290: Mikey Brown, RHP, HS (FLA): Brown fell because of the so-called “undersized righty syndrome.” Brown is 5’11″, 185, but he has a low-90s fastball with both a solid change and curve. He has a little projection and has plus command. A great value at this spot. Grade: A
- 10th rd., 320: William Mitchell, RHP, Clemson: Mitchell is a lanky guy (6’2″, 165 lbs) who doesn’t have much in terms of stuff but gets the most out of it by being aggressive. Doesn’t really seem like more than a Grade C prospect until I see otherwise. Could be a back-of-rotation guy. There were better options out there, though. Grade: C/C+
- 15th rd., 470: Matt Richardson, SS/RHP, HS (FLA): Scouting report from Perfect Game via NoMaas:
- 27th Rd., 830: Garrison Lassiter, SS, HS (SC): Lassiter is a “major signability case” per NoMaas. According to Perfect Game, again via NoMaas:Garrison Lassiter is a 2008 SS/3B/OF with a 6′3”, 195 lb. frame from High Point, NC who attends West Forsyth HS. Tall athletic build, body projects well, solid hitting mechanics, easy swing, quick hands, good bat speed, stays inside the ball, turns on the ball easily, strong infield actions, quick hands, good transfer and release, raw arm strength, runs well, strong student, highest-level prospect with early round draft potential.
Another early round talent falling because of signability. Great value at this time, no let’s get him signed. Grade: B+, A if he signs
- 30th Rd., 920: Ben McMahan, C, HS (FLA): McMahan is a defense-first catcher with good speed for his position. He can eventually evolve into an above-average-hitting catcher with Gold Gloves at best, but is more likely to end up as a backstop. Still a little frame to fill out. I’d like to see him play before I make judgments Grade: B+
- 36th Rd., 1100: Chris Dwyer, LHP, HS (CT): I absolutely adore this pick. HOWEVER (big however): He is a huge signability concern. At 6’4″ and 200 lbs., he is pretty much filled out, though that isn’t a concern. Dwyer is an exceptional outfielder, and he also throws 92-94 with his plus fastball, to go along with a “tremendous” curve, per SI. If sign this year, at 20 he’ll be a draft eligible freshman, a rare occurence in the draft ranks. Either way, he may end up being the second best player the Yankees selected in this draft. Grade: A+
Matt Richardson is a 2008 SS/P with a 6′2”, 180 lb. frame from Lake Mary, FL who attends Lake Mary HS.Tall athletic build, projects well, solid bat speed, quick hands, short swing plane, high level hitting tools, runs well, very good raw arm strength in the field, quick actions, good release, hands work well, quick arm on the mound, high 3/4 arm slot, nice late life on fastball, tight spin on curveball, drop and drive delivery, big upside, strong student, highest-level two-way prospect with high draft potential.
According to this report, in the 15th rd., this is an excellent value pick. I would try him as a SS first. Grade: A
So, there are your most important draft picks. There are some other interesting picks (Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte [no gimmick], 1B Luke Anders [massive guy], etc.), but the listed players are the ones who should be on your prospect radar now. Overall, the grade of this draft is A- right now. I truly believe there is a great draft. You can’t compare any draft with the legendary 2006 draft, which produced, Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain, and Dellin Betances. Many of these ’08 guys are raw and young and have great potential, and could make a huge impact on future Yankee teams. We’ll see it in the future.
Some Catch-Up, and Pre-draft Top 30 Prospects June 4, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in 2008 MLB Draft, Top 30 Prospects.
Hey all–I’ve been really busy the last phew weeks, but as of Thursday I will be back to daily blogging (yay!) until my vacation. For now, before the draft tomorrow I just wanted to post some things.
On John Sickels’s blog, Minor League Ball, Keith Collins and I represented the Yankees on the mock draft. Our picks 1st, 1st supplemental, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th round picks are linked. Analysis from Mike A. of RAB and Eric Schultz of Pending Pinstripes can be found here and here. I’ll explain the picks on Thursday, and compare them with the real draft.
Now on to more in-depth stuff. Before the draft, I’d like to put up the top organizational prospects with their prospect grades. Please not Joba Chamberlain will not be ranked because he has 50 major league IP. A reminder on grades: Grades are an overall measure of everything–tools, youth, ceiling, likeliness to reach ceiling, projectability, and health. So some guys you may like may not receive a particularly high grade only because they are too raw or too far away.
- Jesus Montero, C, A: I don’t think there’s much dispute here. He’s cooled off a bit since his torrid start but he’ been hitting doubles everywhere, and has mixed a solid amount of home runs. As he grows look for some of those doubles to go over the fence. Grade: A-/A
- Austin Jackson, OF, AA: He’s been heating up recently, with two 7-RBI games in a week at one point. He continues to flash the five tools, and he should be a very good Major Leaguer. Grade: B+/A-
- Mark Melancon, RHR, AA: Seems like the rust of TJ rehab has worn away. His fastball is in the mid-90s and his curveball is just nasty. He’s the future closer and I just can’t wait to have him up here for this year. Grade: B+/A-
- Zach McAllister, RHS, A+: Lights-out start to the year at Charleston, earning a promotion to Tampa. He is learning to hone his stuff, and would make a solid #2/#3 guy in the majors. Grade: B+
- Dellin Betances, RHS, A: I don’t think there’s much to the shoulder injury. He’s pitched the most innings he’s ever had this year, and this may just be a way to control the innings on the year, similar to Phil Hughes’s “shoulder injury” in 2006. There’s a lot to love, and he can be an ace with his stuff if he could control it. Grade: B+
- Alan Horne, RHS, AAA: He hasn’t pitched much this year due to injury, but he was lights out in spring training and in his first start (or was it two?) before the injury. He should prove enough to contribute to the big league club soon. Grade: B+
- J.B. Cox, RHR, AAA: Like Melancon, the TJ rust has also worn off. He’s getting more groundballs than ever, but he’s not striking out enough people (12 in 23IP). Despite the AAA stats saying otherwise, he isn’t MLB ready until he gets his K’s roughly up to what they were before (60 in 77IP) in 2006. Grade: B
- Andrew Brackman, RHP, 60-day DL: He won’t pitch this year, but his ceiling and stuff are so tantalizing that he is definitely a Top 10 guy. Grade: B
- Ross Ohlendorf, RHR, MLB: His stats aren’t pretty, but he’s been criminally misused by Joe Girardi. He’s a 1-inning set-up man, and when he gets to that, he should excel. Grade: B
- Dan McCutchen, RHS, AAA: If he would’ve kept up his AA performance at AAA, then he would be higher. He has great stuff and all, but you have to wonder if his AAA struggles are foreboding of something. Grade: B
- David Robertson, RHR, AAA: He’s had a phenomenal year at both AA and AAA, using that sick curveball and good fastball. But he needs to cut down on the walks. Grade: B-/B
- Jose Tabata, OF, AA: I’ve soured on this guy a lot. He has shown no power, the plate discipline isn’t there, and he isn’t even making solid contact. He doesn’t have beyond next year to turn things around, and I’m not as sure anymore if he will. Grade: B-/B
- Humberto Sanchez, RHR, 60-day DL: I can’t wait forever for this guy. He should be starting rehab this month, and could be in the majors by next year. He has great stuff, but he actually needs to get on the mound. Grade: B-/B
- Brett Gardner, OF, AAA: He’s finally showing power at AAA with which he keeps pitchers honest. He’s still doing his trademark thing–stealing bases and extending hits–and is a solid catalyst for the Scranton lineup. I’m increasingly inclined to think that he can be a capable Major League starter in the OF. Grade: B-/B
- Abe Almonte, OF, A: At 19, he is flashing his five-tool skill set, and once he breaks out (he’s doing a real nice job already), people will realize his All-Star potential. Grade: B-
- Jairo Heredia, RHS, A: Boy this Charleston team is stacked. Anyway, Heredia has been very good this season, every bit as has been expected, but went down with an upper body injury earlier this year. He should be a solid mid-rotation starter at least, and there’s a lot to like in his fastball/curve/changeup combo. Keep in mind he’s only 17. Let’s hope it’s not related to his arm. Grade: B-
- Eric Duncan, 1B, AAA: Hopefully the last two hot streaks are a good sign. Duncan’s batting average is higher than it’s been in four years, and he’s showing power like he used to. If he could come back, this would be a great feel-good story. I think this year is his break-out year. Probably playing with a chip on his shoulder after not being protected from the Rule 5 draft. Grade: B-
- Carmen Angelini, SS, A: Angelini hasn’t started the year well, but is picking it up a bit. He has a very high ceiling, and I’m still very high on him and still view him as Jeter’s successor at short (when he’s ready). Grade: B-
- Austin Romine, C, A: The other, less-heralded but solid catcher at Charleston. Romine has cooled off since his torrid start (and since coming back from the DL) but he is doing very well in his own right, particularly considering he is. Grade: B-
- Chris Garcia, RHS, A+: He’s been shaky the last two starts after a stellar debut, but his return from TJ is coming along nicely. He has some of the best stuff in the minors, and he would be a top prospect if only he could stay healthy. Rule 5 eligible this year, so it’s make-or-break for him. Grade: B-
- Bradley Suttle, 3B/DH, A: He seems to have recovered from the winter ball disaster quite nicely. He’s hitting well but has been out of action a lot this season. He’s a solid hitter who projects for average power at least, and he can be a valuable piece in either trade or as a prospect for the organization. Hopefully he finishes the year strong. Grade: C+/B-
- Kevin Whelna, RHP, A+: He’s been doing well since returning from shoulder issues, except for the 5-walk outing recently. If only he could find the plate, he would be a solid, shut-down back-end of the bullpen guy. But, being relatively new to pitching, that may not happen for a while. Grade: C+
- Francisco Cervelli, C, AA: Cervelli would probably be in the big leagues right now out of necessity and not necessarily results. He has things to prove still–whether he can hold up solid stats throughout the season, and if he has any power–but his development has been slowed to a screeching halt by the wrist injury, which has taken forever to heal. The year is likely lost for him in terms of development, but his defensive prowess may be just enough to keep him on the 40-man when he’s Rule 5 eligible. Grade: C+
- Justin Snyder, 2B-SS-OF, A+: Snyder is proving last year was no fluke, hitting for a solid batting average, though taking less walks. He is seemingly always in a hot or cold streak. His inconsistency and scary (in a bad way) glove make him a supersub at best. Grade: C+
- Ryan Pope, RHP, A+: After a promising year last year, this year hasn’t been as kind to Pope. He’s done well but he’s been inconsistent from outing-to-outing. He profiles as a back of the rotation starter, and increasingly looks like a future Carlos Silva. Grade: C+
- Colin Curtis, OF, AA: The least heralded of the AA outfielders, but a solid performer in his own right. He hits for average well and walks enough, but his power is what keeps him back from being a potential ML starter. He will likely make a nice fourth OF, though. Grade: C+
- Jeff Marquez, RHS, AAA: His stocked as dipped pretty badly. He has no command of his pitches, leaving them high in the zone, and he doesn’t have enough stuff period, let alone for doing that. He’s working on a curve and slider, but last year’s smoke and mirrors are finally starting to crack. He can still be a back-end starter or middle reliever, though, but likely somewhere else. Grade: C
- Mike Dunn, LHS, A+: Still relatively new to pitching, he’s building on his low-90′s fastball and curve, but he’s still raw and command is a problem to correct. Grade: C
- Juan Miranda, 1B/DH: It seems as if Miranda is more like the guy at Trenton (4HRs) than the guy at Tampa (9HRs), and at 27 there’s not much hope that he can learn to hit lefties. A recurring shoulder injury has sapped him from his power, and I don’t see how he makes the bigs this year (and if he won’t this year, when?). I don’t think he’ll have a starting role on the ML level, but he might somewhere else. Grade: C
- Kevin DeLeon, OF, GCL: Reports from his signing last year place comps at about a Melky Cabrera skill set. Hopefully he can improve on that, but if not we have ourselves a fringe starter/4th OF. Grade: Inc.
Possibility of Hosmer Falling to the Yanks May 17, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in 2008 MLB Draft, Eric Hosmer, Scott Boras.
Here’s something to get Yankee fans salivating: there is a real chance that American Heritage (FL) 1B Eric Hosmer falls to the Yankees. First, let’s see the draft order:
|1||Tampa Bay Devil Rays|
|3||Kansas City Royals|
|5||San Francisco Giants|
|8||Chicago White Sox|
|13||St. Louis Cardinals|
|15||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|17||Toronto Blue Jays|
|18||New York Mets (from Atlanta)|
|22||New York Mets|
|23||San Diego Padres|
|27||Minnesota Twins (from LA Angels)|
|28||New York Yankees|
|30||Boston Red Sox|
Hosmer’s talent should ideally place him in the 5-10 range. However, Hosmer, who works with Scott Boras, has rumored demands of a $7 million, Major League contract, a large bounty on a high school player. As Jim Callis of BA pointed out yesterday, the Giants at #5 would prefer S. Carolina U 1B Justin Smoak, as he is the better player and is more polished. The Marlins at #6 are already maxed-out after signing Hanley Ramirez long-term and still having a small payroll until the revenues of the new stadium, and could instead go for UMiami 1B Yonder Alonso, a masher with less demands. The Reds (7), White Sox (8), and Astros (10) have established firstbasemen, and the Nationals (9) have recently converted top prospect Chris Marrerro in their system.
However, the first candidate to get Hosmer is Texas at #11. The Rangers don’t have an adequate firstbaseman now (depending on how you consider Jarrod Saltalamacchia), but one of Hank Blalock or Chris Davis will be moved there when Davis comes up. Blalock won’t stop the Rangers from drafting Hosmer, but Davis and his enormous power might. However, the Rangers aren’t afraid to negotiate with Boras, as seen by Alex Rodriguez’s then-record 10yr/$252M deal.
The next threat is Toronto at #17, who have an average/mediocre 1B in Lyle Overbay and don’t have a replacement in the system. They certainly have the money, with a $97M payroll for the season. The only question, again would be negotiating with Boras, as they have no major Boras-represented players in their organization.
Then there’s the Mets at #18. This is the likeliest place for Hosmer to be taken, as the Mets have an aging Carlos Delgado, who walks after this year, and no one in sight to replace him. Rumor has it that top prospect Fernando Martinez may be moved to 1B, but he hasn’t produced enough for his bat to play well there. The Mets have the third-highest payroll in baseball, coming in at $137.8M, and have a barren system. The Mets have also dealt with Boras players LHP Oliver Perez and CF Carlos Beltran, and they drafted RHP Mike Pelfrey, a Boras client, in the 1st round, though the negotating process took 7 months.
Detroit at #21 is the last threat before the Yankees. Detroit has spent heavily on the first round in the past for years, grabbing Justin Verlander, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller (previous two now with the Marlins), and Rick Porcello. They do have Miguel Cabrera at 1B, but he can always be moved back to 3B as Carlos Guillen is no guarantee to stay healthy with his knees, and will be 33 at year’s end. The smart thing to do would be to rebuild the farm system and draft someone like OF/RHP Aaron Hicks, as he would be a 1st-round talent at either position, but Hosmer’s talent may be too much to pass up.
Let’s not forget the Yankees might not take Hosmer, either. They had a bad experience with Boras over A-Rod this winter, but they have the money and a slot in the organization.
In total, I rate the possibility of Hosmer falling to NYY as unlikely, but possible.
UPDATE, 05/18/08 11:22 AM: Just read on MLB Draft University, which cites a Jim Callis chat saying that the Mets, whom I previously picked to land Hosmer and his $7M, that the Mets will not go over slot. So much for that…
Baseball America’s First-Round Mock Draft May 17, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in 2008 MLB Draft.
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Yesterday Baseball America posted their first mock draft. They have the Yankees taking Kyle Lobstein:
The obvious move would be for New York to use its financial muscle to pay what it takes to get whatever top talent falls because of signability. Hosmer would be a coup for the Yankees, but Cole could be too raw for their tastes. They’ve been scouting a lot of lefthanded pitchers, making high schoolers Kyle Lobstein (Arizona), Brett DeVall (Florida), Mike Montgomery (California) and Robbie Ross (Kentucky) candidates.
I’m not a draft expert, but the consensus is that Lobstein would be a reach in the first round, and he is likely available when the Yankees pick again at #44. I would prefer a power-hitting firstbaseman at this spot–Allen Dykstra, David Cooper, and maybe even Eric Hosmer. I wouldn’t mind DeVall falling to the Yankees, as he has better stuff than Lobstein and is a consensus 1st round talent anyway. But there are so many good pitchers in our system that I don’t think we need another, even if DeVall is left-handed.
Rivera Likely to Sign, Cordero is Plan B November 18, 2007Posted by Pablo Zevallos in 2008 MLB Draft, Elias Sports Bureau FA Status, Francisco Cordero, Mariano Rivera.
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According to the New York Post via MLB Trade Rumors, Mariano Rivera is likely to sign his 3 yr/$45M offer from the Yankees. No real news here, as he would have been crazy if he thought he’d get better.
According to the New York Daily News, also via MLBTR, the Yankees are looking at Francisco Cordero as their Plan B closer in the unlikely event Rivera doesn’t sign. I actually would prefer this signing. Cordero was decent in the bandbox that is Ameriquest Field for the Texas Rangers, but really proved his worth with a dominating season and a half in Milwaukee. He is younger (32 vs. 38) and in that event, while we would lose the 28th pick of the draft, Rivera could go to a team 16-27, and it’s basically trading upwards for a younger, at this point better closer, and a higher draft pick.