Charleston’s All-Stars Shine, SI Yanks’ Season Kicks Off June 18, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Abraham Almonte, C.J. Henry, Charleston RiverDogs, David Adams, Jesus Montero, Justin Snyder, Pat Venditte, Taylor Grote.
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Last night was Charleston’s Home Run Derby and All-Star Game. Of course, Jesus Montero was in both, and Montero finished second to Hagerstown’s (WAS) Michael Burgess. In the game, he started, DHing and hitting 6th, and went 0-2. Justin Snyder, Abe Almonte, Lance Pendelton, Jason Stephens, and Jon Ortiz also appeared in the game. Of the prospects:
Snyder: 1-2, R, K
Almonte: 0-2, K
Both came in the sixth.
In other news, the Staten Island Yankees (A-) started their season. There aren’t many prospects on the team, but the players worth looking at are Taylor Grote, David Adams, and Pat Venditte. Two sleepers on the team are D.J. Hollingsworth and Raymond Kruml. Anyway, it was a 3-1 loss to the rival Brooklyn Cyclones (NYM).
Lastly, C.J. Henry, the Yankees’ first rounder in 2005, returned to action with A+ Tampa on the night before last. In his first full day of action, he went 1-3 with a double.
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.