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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

ESPN: The Yankees have shown remarkable weakness in drafting and developing talent

Gumbs up the works. Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand have a look.

Since Manny Banuelos was promoted to Triple-A ball before the 2011 season, he is 2-4 with a 4.32 ERA. His walks-per-nine innings ratio has soared and his strikeouts-per-nine innings ratio has dropped.

Plus, he is coming off Tommy John surgery and has not thrown a pitch in a professional ballgame in more than 18 months.

In spite of it all, the soon-to-be 23-year-old remains the only top prospect in the Yankees’ farm system who might—just might—have a chance to impact the major-league club in 2014.

“Banuelos has got that big arm,” a front office source said. “If it’s still there and the lightning still strikes then you’re going see people say, ‘F—- it, bring him with us [on Opening Day].’”

The source said that as soon as this season, Banuelos—who has yet to distinguish himself even at the Triple-A level and still projects as a starter long-term—might turn out to be a useful part in the Yankees’ bullpen. This is either irrefutable evidence of the electricity in Banuelos’ left arm, or the lack of juice in the Yankees’ farm system.

...“It’s not as good as we need it to be in terms of results,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman said when asked if it was fair to characterize his farm system as a bust. “There are a number of reasons behind that. At the end of the day, we’ve had some misses, without a doubt. We’ve had some guys who didn’t make their projections, who failed to cross the finish line. So basically it’s fair to criticize where we’re currently sitting.”

...“The Yankees prospects have so much written about them,” said an AL scout who has worked with the Yankees. “If a player is a Brewer, he doesn’t get as much attention. The standard becomes so high. So guys like David Phelps, Adam Warren or an Ian Kennedy aren’t looked as good. It is either you are the next Derek Jeter or a failure.”

Repoz Posted: February 05, 2014 at 08:35 AM | 86 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

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   1. The TVerik of Lordly Might Posted: February 05, 2014 at 09:10 AM (#4651914)
The Yankees drafted well in 2004 through 2006, getting Joba, Hughes, Robertson, Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson, and Ian Kennedy. Major-leaguers all, and a few All-Star games thrown in there.

In the modern drafting era, we have not seen a team go on such a sustained run of success on the major-league level, leading to low draft picks year after year. It isn't an excuse in baseball, but it's a thing.

If you go granular pick by pick over the last few years, many are defensible, but sidelined with the normal baseball minor-league injuries. One such case is David Adams, who hurt himself in 2010 (ankle), and went from a potential career (particularly as Cano left) with the big club to DFA'd and playing for Cleveland now.
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2014 at 09:54 AM (#4651944)
If you go granular pick by pick over the last few years, many are defensible, but sidelined with the normal baseball minor-league injuries. One such case is David Adams, who hurt himself in 2010 (ankle), and went from a potential career (particularly as Cano left) with the big club to DFA'd and playing for Cleveland now.

If one or two good prospects get hurt, that's luck. If ALL your good prospects get hurt or fizzle, that's poor drafting and development.
   3. The TVerik of Lordly Might Posted: February 05, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4651977)
I'd quibble with the numbers a bit, snapper. I would argue that an injury-free class in the minors is pretty much completely unheard of. I think the "injury floor" is closer to 1/3 or even 1/2 of draftees, particularly pitchers.

But I won't argue your second sentence much, except to say that the Yankee organization has more or less employed the same leadership/scouting/development people since at least 2004 or so. Did they suddenly get worse?
   4. villageidiom Posted: February 05, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4651982)
In the modern drafting era, we have not seen a team go on such a sustained run of success on the major-league level, leading to low draft picks year after year. It isn't an excuse in baseball, but it's a thing.
The Braves and Cardinals say hello. For that matter, across the span where the Yankees have been successful at the major league level, the Red Sox have only had slightly better draft position. Too, the A's.

The biggest difference is the impact of the compensatory draft pick system, in its many incarnations. Of all these teams the Yankees have been the most frequent to sign free agents that trigger compensation or penalties on the draft side. The frequency of success with picks 25-40 is low, but that just means there is great value in having many picks in that range.
   5. villageidiom Posted: February 05, 2014 at 10:52 AM (#4651986)
the Yankee organization has more or less employed the same leadership/scouting/development people since at least 2004 or so. Did they suddenly get worse?
They went from paying Gene Michael to draft and develop, to paying Gene Michael not to leave for another team. Ask him if he is doing anything different since then.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2014 at 10:55 AM (#4651989)
But I won't argue your second sentence much, except to say that the Yankee organization has more or less employed the same leadership/scouting/development people since at least 2004 or so. Did they suddenly get worse?

Why not? People get older, less motivated, i.e. "Fat and Happy".

   7. The TVerik of Lordly Might Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:05 AM (#4651994)
The Braves and Cardinals say hello. For that matter, across the span where the Yankees have been successful at the major league level, the Red Sox have only had slightly better draft position. Too, the A's.


No. The Braves, Cardinals, and Red Sox have not been in the same boat. The Braves lost 90 games in 2008 and 83 in 2006. The Cardinals finished 3rd and then 4th in their division in 2007/2008. The Sox lost 93 in 2012 (too soon for definitive drafting results, but I believe a poor season like that is freeing for team executives to make the changes they think are important in a way that an 85-win season is not). From 2007 until 2011, the A's finished as good as .500 one time.
   8. valuearbitrageur Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4651997)
If one or two good prospects get hurt, that's luck. If ALL your good prospects get hurt or fizzle, that's poor drafting and development.


Small sample size bias, much?

The Braves and Cardinals say hello. For that matter, across the span where the Yankees have been successful at the major league level, the Red Sox have only had slightly better draft position. Too, the A's.


This isn't close to true. The Yankees haven't drafted before the 28th pick in ages. The As have had 9th, 11th & 13th in the last 5 years. The cardinals rarely draft worse than early 20s, and have some recent picks in the teens. And it's not just the first round, those draft positions add value every round, it is almost as if the Yankees start their draft a round later every year.

Why not? People get older, less motivated, i.e. "Fat and Happy".


They also get more experienced and should get better at their jobs.

The real problem isn't the draft personnel, or draft decisions they've made, it's their commitment to winning every single season without ever taking a year off to reload. At the major league level this means signing lots of free agents, and rarely letting players walk, which has led to a very old, very expensive team. But for their drafts it's meant forfeiting a few first round picks (starting their draft just before the 3rd round those years), rarely getting comp picks, and almost always drafting at the very end of rounds.

We are just witnessing the cumulative damage of this approach on their draft results. Compare them to the Red Sox and you see the Sox have poor draft position as well, but nowhere near as poor as the yanks over time, and the Sox get a ton of comp picks letting players walk, I think they average about 1 per year. The Sox end up with far more 1st/comp picks than the Yankees over the last decade, and at a significantly better average draft slots.

If the Yanks had taken the Sox approach, players like A-Rod/Sabathia would have been cut loose to rebuild through comp picks and keep from getting too expensive and old.

   9. The TVerik of Lordly Might Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:26 AM (#4652002)
If the Yankees hadn't been terrible when I first started following them, they wouldn't have been in a position to draft Jeter/Posada. Bernie, too.

Is the long-term solution to this an extended period of terrible from the big club? I hope not.
   10. Rants Mulliniks Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:28 AM (#4652003)
The Jays have been brutal in the draft over the last 15 years. Beginning with the 2004 draft, they have only produced three players with as much as 5 career bWAR (Janssen, Lind and Romero) and none with 10. Their last good draft was 1997, which produced Vernon Wells, Orlando Hudson and Michael Young. When your last good draft produced players that are all now retired, you know you suck.

Edit: As if it weren't obvious, this franchise has been utterly inept for the last 20 years.
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4652014)
If the Yanks had taken the Sox approach, players like A-Rod/Sabathia would have been cut loose to rebuild through comp picks and keep from getting too expensive and old.

Cutting loose ARod when he opted out wasn't "rebuilding", it was minimal competence. Everyone in the world knew 10 years to ARod was horrendous.
   12. valuearbitrageur Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4652015)
And I don't think the Stick Micheals years were a triumph of drafting as much as excellence in signing international free agents. Mo, Bernie, Soriano, Cano, Melky Cabrera, etc. You can argue that the draft results actually improved after he left, given how much useful talent their drafts hit on a decade ago.
   13. valuearbitrageur Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:38 AM (#4652019)
Cutting loose ARod when he opted out wasn't "rebuilding", it was minimal competence. Everyone in the world knew 10 years to ARod was horrendous.


Yea, it's not the best example of guys they should have cut loose given the value of the comp pick is so dwarfed by his value and cost, that the comp pick is a pretty minor consideration.

But somehow the Sox find ways of getting comp picks regularly, and Yankees rarely do. My guess is differences in how they treat their mid-tier players, and that the Yankees habitually re-sign aging vets to squeeze out every last bit of plus performance from them, while the Sox are much more likely to let them walk.
   14. The TVerik of Lordly Might Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4652021)
Cutting loose ARod when he opted out wasn't "rebuilding", it was minimal competence. Everyone in the world knew 10 years to ARod was horrendous.


I don't think any other franchise would have signed him. The economics were different for the Yankees - he had won an MVP for them that year, and flags fly forever. Heck, you can argue that they don't win in 2009 without him and that in the grand scheme of things, though it wasn't an optimal use of resources, the second Rod deal was kind of worth it. We'll see what/if he contributes for the next few years.

My point is that it would have been incredibly hard for this team to sell a "We had to let him go, for the good of all that is right and holy" message to the fanbase in that spot.
   15. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4652029)
The Braves lost 90 games in 2008 and 83 in 2006.


Which got the Jason Heyward (who fell to 14 in 2007) and Mike Minor (who was panned as a terrible first round pick by all the smart kids.)

In 2007 the Yankees drafted Andrew Brackman with the last pick of the first round, leaving Jordan Zimmerman, Giancarlo Stanton, Freddie Freeman and Matt Harvey on the board, to name a few.

In 2009 the Yankees drafted Slade Heathcott with the 29th pick, leaving Wil Myers, Brandon Belt, Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter on the board, to name a few.

Stop making excuses. The Yankees haven't been very good at drafting and developing players.
   16. valuearbitrageur Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4652031)
My point is that it would have been incredibly hard for this team to sell a "We had to let him go, for the good of all that is right and holy" message to the fanbase in that spot.


You have clearly identified the mentality that dooms the Yankee farm system.

The Cardinals survived letting Pujols walk, the fans didn't storm the team offices with pitchforks and flammable devices. When you think you have to make bad deals (and A-Rods 2nd deal was clearly a bad deal even for Yankees when signed) to please your fans, you end up with a decrepit MLB roster and a bad farm system. It's a fine approach if the Yankees want to spend $300m a year on payroll, but it's not really working at $200m.
   17. Nasty Nate Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4652034)
Is the long-term solution to this an extended period of terrible from the big club? I hope not.


The solution is what they have been doing: add players from other teams rather than from their farm teams.

My point is that it would have been incredibly hard for this team to sell a "We had to let him go, for the good of all that is right and holy" message to the fanbase in that spot.


But they had set up the framework for selling that to the fans with all their BS about "if he opts-out, he doesn't appreciate being a Yankee" etc...

Their comments that summer and fall was posturing that could either help losing him as a player or give them some negotiating oomph. And then they ... didn't get either benefit (and in addition looked like bozos by going back on their word and also by giving out such a stupid contract).
   18. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:59 AM (#4652036)
Speaking of Banuelos, I looked up his fellow future Yankees ace Dellin Betances, who is still in the Yankees organization and has never been injured as far as I can tell. Will turn 26 during spring training. If you didn't catch his few relief appearances last fall, you probably think he got traded to the Indians and then had three shoulder surgeries or something.
   19. The TVerik of Lordly Might Posted: February 05, 2014 at 12:03 PM (#4652041)
Stop making excuses. The Yankees haven't been very good at drafting and developing players.


It's evident to everyone (yes, including me) that the results from the Yankee minors have not been good these last few years. I expect better, and I think fans agree with me. But I don't see how simplifying it by reducing the choices to "good" and "bad" helps to identify specifically why this is and what can/should be done about it.

But they had set up the framework for selling that to the fans with all their BS about "if he opts-out, he doesn't appreciate being a Yankee" etc...


Trial balloon. They wanted to see if NY would freak out in a world in which fiscal "responsibility" leads to the MVP leaving the team. And the answer was pretty clearly "yes, the fans would freak out". And, as I posit above, defensibly so. Sometimes penny-wise is pound-foolish, and Randy Levine and I clearly have different ideas about what exactly constitutes pennies and pounds.
   20. valuearbitrageur Posted: February 05, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4652043)
In 2007 the Yankees drafted Andrew Brackman with the last pick of the first round, leaving Jordan Zimmerman, Giancarlo Stanton, Freddie Freeman and Matt Harvey on the board, to name a few.

In 2009 the Yankees drafted Slade Heathcott with the 29th pick, leaving Wil Myers, Brandon Belt, Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter on the board, to name a few.

Stop making excuses. The Yankees haven't been very good at drafting and developing players.


And in 1999 they drafted Dave Walling with the 28th pick while Albert Pujols was totally sitting there, waiting! In 1988 they had forfeited their first round pick, otherwise I assume they draft Mike Piazza with it.

LOL, at this superficial level of "analysis". In 2007 the Yankees 29th pick was after David Price, Jason Heyward, Matt Wieters, Madison Bmgarner, Josh Donaldson, Rick Porcello, Jarrod Parker, Mike Moustakas, Ben Revere, etc, etc, had been drafted. In 2009, Yankee draft position meant they were ineligible to draft Mike Trout, Stephen Strasburg, Dustin Ackley, Mike Leake, Shelby Miller, Nick Franklin, etc.

Cherry picking a few lottery tickets that cashed for teams after the Yankees whiffed on what was left on a picked over draft board tells us nothing about their drafting or development.
   21. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 05, 2014 at 12:18 PM (#4652057)
You can't eat the cake and have it too. The MLB draft, outside of maybe the first five picks every few years, is a lottery. Some teams are good at it. Other teams aren't. The Yankees have shown no skill in finding talent in the draft, where other teams (none of whom have drafted in the top five recently) have. You're making excuses.
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: February 05, 2014 at 12:22 PM (#4652060)
And I don't think the Stick Micheals years were a triumph of drafting as much as excellence in signing international free agents. Mo, Bernie, Soriano, Cano, Melky Cabrera, etc.


That's quite the expansive definition of the Stick Michael years, covering 1985-2001.

   23. Nasty Nate Posted: February 05, 2014 at 12:28 PM (#4652064)
You can't eat the cake and have it too. The MLB draft, outside of maybe the first five picks every few years, is a lottery. Some teams are good at it. Other teams aren't. The Yankees have shown no skill in finding talent in the draft, where other teams (none of whom have drafted in the top five recently) have.


I think your point is sound (i.e. picks 20 and 30 are not very different).

But calling the draft a lottery after the first picks directly contradicts the following sentences. No one has skill at picking lottery numbers.
   24. valuearbitrageur Posted: February 05, 2014 at 12:35 PM (#4652071)
Yankee drafts by WAR

1991 - 2
1992 - 79 (Jeter with 6th pick over-all)
1993 - 0
1994 - 5
1995 - 25 (Mike Lowell in 20th round)
1996 - 40 (Eric Milton/Nick Johnson in 20th & 24th round)
1997 - 8
1998 - 3
1999 - 0
2000 - 4
2001 - 2
2002 - 3
2003 - 14
2004 - 9
2005 - 40
2006 - 29

Since then their drafts are pretty barren. In fairness, players drafted since then should be early in their MLB careers so their WAR is going to be low right now, but even bearing that in mind you can see their drafts have whiffed pretty badly. But it also means the 2003-2006 drafts are going to look even better in a few years as those players should still be in their prime.

Not sure when Gene Micheals stopped having draft involvement, he was fired in 1995 as GM, but kept on as VP, Major League Scouting (which implies scouting opponents, not prospects to me) until 2003. The 1990 draft was huge ( Carl Everett with 10th pick, Pettite in 22nd round, Posada 24th round) but Stick wasn't officially hired till 2 months after that draft so not sure he should get credit for it. Even if he deserves credit for 1990, pretty clearly the only successes during his tenure were either top 10 picks that turned out (Jeter/Everett) or lucky lottery tickets (Posada, Pettitte, Lowell, Milton, Nick Johnson) picked so deep in the draft you can't give too much credit for (if he knew they'd be so good, why not draft them earlier before someone else snaps them up?).

And clearly their best drafts were after he left, they got lots of useful talent from 2003 through 2006, despite picking 27th, 23rd, 29th, and 28th. They had 5 extra picks during those 4 years (though also forfeited their first pick twice so a net of only 3 extras), their extra picks turned into Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, & Joba Chamberlin.

   25. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 05, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4652073)
But calling the draft a lottery after the first picks directly contradicts the following sentences. No one has skill at picking lottery numbers.


That's a fair point, and I should clarify. There are no "sure things" after the fifth pick or so. In a massively deep year, there might be 10 "can't miss" guys in a draft, half of which will nonetheless miss. Suggesting that the Yankees are notably hamstrung due to picking at 25-30, rather than having this big picks from 15-20 is whining. A good organization scouts talent outside of the "can't miss" zone, judges it based on their internal systems, decides if that player is the kind of player their development organization can improve and progress toward the majors, and drafts accordingly. The Cardinals and Braves are good examples of that. They go out and find the Matt Carpenters and Mike Minors of the world, draft them regardless of "buzz" and develop them internally. The Yankees have shown no real talent for doing any of those things as an organization.
   26. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: February 05, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4652084)
There is something to be said for having quantity of high draft picks.

From 2005 to 2013 - nine years - these teams have had the following number of 1st round picks:

Red Sox: 25
Yankees: 13
Rays: 19
Cardinals: 22
Tigers: 10
Pirates: 12

Nobody hits on all their 1st round picks, or anything close to it. I think it is interesting that in a quick search of various teams, the two World Series teams appear to have very high number of high draft picks the last nine years. Boston has been to three WS in the last decade (the time of these nine of drafts), and the Cardinals have been to four...so it's not like they have been regularly drafting in the top 10 or anything...
   27. Brian White Posted: February 05, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4652087)
To put Sam's point another way: the Braves had eleven players on last year's roster who were homegrown, and made significant contributions (>200 ABs or >60 IP). Only two of those eleven were first round picks (Mike Minor and Jason Heyward). There is a whole lot more to player development than just first round draft picks.
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4652089)
That's a fair point, and I should clarify. There are no "sure things" after the fifth pick or so. In a massively deep year, there might be 10 "can't miss" guys in a draft, half of which will nonetheless miss. Suggesting that the Yankees are notably hamstrung due to picking at 25-30, rather than having this big picks from 15-20 is whining. A good organization scouts talent outside of the "can't miss" zone, judges it based on their internal systems, decides if that player is the kind of player their development organization can improve and progress toward the majors, and drafts accordingly. The Cardinals and Braves are good examples of that. They go out and find the Matt Carpenters and Mike Minors of the world, draft them regardless of "buzz" and develop them internally. The Yankees have shown no real talent for doing any of those things as an organization.

I've got to stop agreeing with Sam, but he's right.

I suspect though, that the Yankees problem isn't player selection as much as player development. Their picks aren't usually panned, but they never seem to develop as expected.
   29. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: February 05, 2014 at 12:59 PM (#4652093)
I suspect though, that the Yankees problem isn't player selection as much as player development.


I wonder about the incentives for players and coaches in the minors, when there are essentially no holes on the major league roster and, generally, no realistic chance that anyone is being groomed to take over a major league job with the big club. Sure, there are always openings in the bullpen, but most Yankee prospects are far more likely to be flipped to Seattle or Arizona in a package deal than to slide into the lineup or rotation in the Bronx.

And really, what does it matter? The point is not to get the highest Baseball America ranking, but to have success at the major league level. As noted above, they've certainly done that, last year notwithstanding. Is the suggestion that they should have had a top prospect ready to step in for Jeter and/or A-Rod? That's preposterous.
   30. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: February 05, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4652094)
Just for fun, I looked up the draft positions of the Dodgers LCS team. Granted this isn't saying a damn thing about their player development system, but it is more of an effort to show that valuable players can be found later in the draft. In the outfield, Crawford and Ethier were 2nd rd. guys. Matt Kemp was drafted in the 6th. Mark Ellis was drafted in the 9th. Gonzalez was a #1 overall guy. AJ Ellis was drafted in the 18th. The rest of the regulars were international signings.

For the reserves, Schumaker was a 5th rd. pick. Punto was a 21st rd. guy. Hairston was picked in the 21st rd. Michael Young was a 5th rd. pick.


As for the pitching staff, Kershaw and Grienke were early first rounders. Nolasco was a 4th rounder. Ryu, international. Capuano was a 9th rd pick. Lilly was a 24th rd. guy

   31. billyshears Posted: February 05, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4652095)
But I don't see how simplifying it by reducing the choices to "good" and "bad" helps to identify specifically why this is and what can/should be done about it.


Don't you have to identify any given process as good or bad before deciding that something should be done about it?
   32. salvomania Posted: February 05, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4652101)
The Cardinals finished 3rd and then 4th in their division in 2007/2008.

They won 86 games in 2008 during their 4th-place season, so it's not like they were getting the equivalent of a lottery pick.

But still, that got them an earlier pick than the Yankees (19th vs. 29th), and the Cardinals were able to parlay that into Shelby Miller, and you're right, there's no way the Yankees could've had the opportunity to draft Shelby Miller in 2009.

So the Yankees drafted Slade Heathcote.

After Heathcoate, the Cardinals drafted six more players in that 2009 draft who have subsequently made the big leagues---four of whom are now in more or less starting roles---including Joe Kelly (3rd round), Matt Carpenter (18th round), Trevor Rosenthal (21st round) and Matt Adams (23rd round).

And while that's an extraordinary and unrepeatable draft, their 2013 team was littered with lower-round successes from other years, like Yadier Molina (4th round), Alan Craig (8th round), Seth Maness (11th round), Jaime Garcia (22nd round), and Kevin Siegrist (41st round).

I've just named nine current, contributing Cardinal major-league players drafted in the 3rd round or later (a tenth player, Jon Jay was a 2nd round pick, 74th overall), and there are a few more who've tasted big-league action but have yet to establish themselves.

And no matter where you're drafting, the first round (including supplemental picks in the 30s) is still an opportunity to make an impact, and the Cardinals have had tremendous recent success there.

Here are their 10 first-round picks, including supplemental round, from 2007 through 2012 (average draft position: 25th)

2007: Pete Kozma (18th pick, and you can argue about the success of this pick, but hey, without him, the Cardinals probably would not have won the 2011 World Series), and Clayton Mortensen (36th pick), who was traded for Matt Holliday
2008: Brett Wallace (13th overall pick), traded to A's along with Mortensen for Matt Holliday; and Lance Lynn (39th overall, in supplemental round)
2009: Shelby Miller (19th overall)
2010: Zack Cox (25th overall), traded to Marlins for Edward Mujica
2011: Kolten Wong (22nd overall)
2012: Michael Wacha (19th overall), plus 2/3 of this year's starting outfield at Memphis, James Ramsey (23rd pick) and Stephen Piscotty (36th pick)

Now here are the Yankees' 1st-round and supplemetal picks over that same period (average draft position: 35th, as low as it is because of Yankees losing some 1st-round picks after signing free agents)

2007: Andrew Brackman (30th overall), pitched A ball for White Sox in 2013
2008: Gerritt Cole (28th, didn't sign, went to UCLA instead); and Jeremy Bleich (44th pick), AA reliever last year
2009: the aforementioned Slade Heathcote (29th), Yankees AA CF last year, about whom Keith Law says "”He couldn’t run, his reads in center were poor, and his makeup has never been his strong suit.”
2010: Cito Culver (32nd), Kozma-like bat at SS who has yet to play above A ball
2011: Dante Bichette Jr., (51st in supplemental round), 3b who's been terrible in A ball last two seasons
2012: Ty Hensley (30th overall), pitched 12 innings in 2012 then missed all last year after hip surgery

So that's zero major-league value from their first-rounders over the past seven years, with only two players looking to contribute at even the AAA level.

They could get away with that if they'd produced even a handful of decent players in the later rounds---which is not an unrealistic expectation---but their utter failure there, too, just magnifies the poor results of their first rounds.

I think the headline stands: "The Yankees have shown remarkable weakness in drafting and developing talent"
   33. valuearbitrageur Posted: February 05, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4652107)
You can't eat the cake and have it too. The MLB draft, outside of maybe the first five picks every few years, is a lottery. Some teams are good at it. Other teams aren't. The Yankees have shown no skill in finding talent in the draft, where other teams (none of whom have drafted in the top five recently) have. You're making excuses.


It's either a lottery or some teams are good at it, which is it?

It's far easier to find good players in the top 5 picks than it is in picks 6-15.

It's much easier to find good players in picks 6-15 than it is picks 16-30.

It's significantly easier to find good players in the first & sandwich rounds than it is in rounds after that.

After a certain point it's entirely a lottery. The Cardinals didn't wait till the 12th round to draft Pujols to be tricky, they did it because they (and everyone else) didn't think he was likely to be a MLB player. The Dodgers didn't wait till the 63rd round to draft Piazza because they thought he was great, no one thought a college player struggling to play first base competently would ever make the majors, even though he could hit a little bit.

Every year the Yankees make their draft directors job of drafting the best prospects the hardest in baseball, even if it's only by degrees. They regularly forfeit their first round pick. They don't pick up as many extra comp picks in the first round and the sandwich round as their competitors. And they consistently have the worst average draft position, and that position is repeated round after round for the entire draft, 20+ rounds of picking after almost everyone else.

First & Sandwich round picks
---------------------------
2013: Yankees (33, 32, 26), Braves (31), As (24), Rays (29, 21) Cardinals (28, 19), Red Sox (7)
2012: Yankees (30), Rays (25), Red Sox (37, 31, 24), Cardinals (59, 52, 36, 23, 19), Braves (21), Athletics (47, 34, 11)
2011: Yankees (51), Rays (60, 59, 56, 52, 42, 41, 38, 32, 31, 24), Braves (28), Red Sox (40, 36, 26, 19), Cardinals (22), Athletics (18)
2010: Yankees (32), Red Sox (39, 36, 20), Rays (42, 31, 17), Cardinals (50, 46, 25), Braves (35), Athletics (10)

Edit: Totals
Yankees - 5 picks
Braves - 4 picks
Athletics - 6 picks
Red Sox - 10 picks
Cardinals - 11 picks
Rays - 15 picks

Here's top picks last 4 years just between Red Sox and Yankees.
Yankees - 51, 33, 32, 30, 26
Red Sox - 40, 39, 37, 36, 36, 31, 26, 24, 20, 19, 7

The Yankees best pick was 26th, the Red Sox had 4 picks better than that, including a super valuable #7 pick.
The Yankees had 5 picks in 4 years, the Red Sox had 10.
The median Yankee pick was 32nd, the Red Sox had 6 picks better, more than the total Yankees picks.
The Rays had 15 picks, three times as many as the Yankees. While many were late comp picks, they also had 4 picks lower than Yankee's best, and the exact same median (32) meaning they had 7 picks lower than Yankee's median.

If you think it's a lottery, how are the Yankees going to win when their competitors get so many more tickets?

If you think it's a skill, how can the Yankees win when they get so many fewer opportunities to use their skill?
   34. salvomania Posted: February 05, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4652116)
If you think it's a skill, how can the Yankees win when they get so many fewer opportunities to use their skill?

No one expects most, or, say, even a quarter of these picks to succeed. But after a certain point every team is able to pick players every other team passed on. And since 2006, dozens, if not hundreds, of these picks have made the majors---or been used to acquire major-league talent---and not one has been a Yankee.
   35. villageidiom Posted: February 05, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4652117)
It's either a lottery or some teams are good at it, which is it?
Teams can be good at it, and some are. Those that aren't good at it might as well treat it as a lottery because they have no clue how to win at it.
   36. valuearbitrageur Posted: February 05, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4652119)
Now let's compare Yankees to the teams that didn't have a ton of extra picks, the Braves and As

Yankees - 51, 33, 32, 30, 26
Braves - 35, 31, 28, 21
A's - 47, 34, 24, 18, 11, 10

The A's draft positions blow away the Yankees. Their 11th and 10th alone are probably worth more than the Yankee's five picks.

It's looks close to a wash with the Braves, so let's go to additional rounds

2010 - Braves pick 20th (Andraelton Simmons in 2nd) every round, the Yankees 32nd. The Braves also pick up the 53rd pick (#3 in 2nd round) as a special comp. The As get to pick 10th every round, almost a full round better than the Yankees.
2011 - Braves are 25th, Yankees 32nd. Rays pick up another comp pick in 2nd (like they needed more) that the As forfeited, but As get to pick 15th in all subsequent rounds, way ahead of Yankees.
2012 - Braves pick 25th, Yankees 29th. Yankees pick up a comp pick at end of round (94th), Athletics get a bonus pick at 2nd (62nd overall) and pick 14th.
2013 - Braves pick 26th, Yankees 27th. Athletics get a bonus pick (71st overall) and pick 24th.

Every round in all four drafts the Braves (and As) pick ahead of the Yankees, that small but useful edge adds up making the Braves GM's job a little bit easier, and the Yankee GM's job a little bit harder. The Yankees 2nd round bonus pick isn't nearly as good as the Braves 2nd round bonus pick. Clearly even the Braves have better draft options than the Yankees. And the As pick way ahead of Yankees most of the time and get two bonus picks better than the Yankees one, making the difference even starker.

I'm pretty confident if I took this exercise back 10 years instead of just 4, the Braves end up having far higher quality and higher volume picks than the Yankees. In fact, the Yankees likely get crushed by every team in this comparison in volume and quality even worse.
   37. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 05, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4652121)
To put Sam's point another way: the Braves had eleven players on last year's roster who were homegrown, and made significant contributions (>200 ABs or >60 IP). Only two of those eleven were first round picks (Mike Minor and Jason Heyward). There is a whole lot more to player development than just first round draft picks.


And a true accounting needs to take into consideration players like Eric O'Flaherty and David Carpenter, both of whom flamed out of other teams' organizations, were picked up off the scrap heap by Atlanta and converted into extremely productive Major League contributors.
   38. valuearbitrageur Posted: February 05, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4652125)
Teams can be good at it, and some are. Those that aren't good at it might as well treat it as a lottery because they have no clue how to win at it.


Either way, having a higher volume of higher quality picks means it's much more likely they will produce better results.

No one expects most, or, say, even a quarter of these picks to succeed. But after a certain point every team is able to pick players every other team passed on.


Can't you also say they are able to pick players they themselves passed on?

And since 2006, dozens, if not hundreds, of these picks have made the majors---or been used to acquire major-league talent---and not one has been a Yankee


Not a one? Not a Drew Storen? David Phelps? Gerrit Cole? Rob Scahill? Adam Warren? Jake Petricka? Obviously these might not fit your definition of major league talent. But from 2003 through 2006, the Yankees were one of the best organizations in baseball at producing major league talent from a poor draft position, and it's the same people running the draft since.

So laziness? Or variance? I'll let you guess if you can first tell me how large the expected statistical variation is for the sample sizes that you will be basing your decision with.
   39. JJ1986 Posted: February 05, 2014 at 01:55 PM (#4652129)
Not a Drew Storen? David Phelps? Gerrit Cole? Rob Scahill? Adam Warren? Jake Petricka?


Only two of these guys signed with the Yankees.
   40. salvomania Posted: February 05, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4652131)
And since 2006.... Not a one? Not a Drew Storen? David Phelps? Gerrit Cole? Rob Scahill? Adam Warren?

EDIT: Sorry, whiffed on Phelps, didn't know Scahill or Warren.
EDIT: as mentioned above, neither Storen nor Scahill was drafted and signed by Yanks.
   41. valuearbitrageur Posted: February 05, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4652133)
Sorry, I wasn't clear: I meant players drafted since 2006, and I also meant (for the sake of the Yankees' situation I was writing about) players drafted who chose to sign, meaning not Gerrit Cole.


I think people are missing the forest for the trees. What kind of farm development strategy should the Yankees use if they are pursuing a major league strategy that means they will consistently have the worst draft positioning and fewest draft picks to work with?

I think the answer is obvious. Leverage their number one asset, spending, to maximize the value of those picks as well as getting prospects from other available sources. The real criticism of Cashman should be.

1) Why didn't they spend more internationally?
Where were the Yankees in Cuba? Where were they internationally the last decade? Why didn't they overpay for foreign talent when they had the opportunity to do so?

2) Why didn't they spend more on the picks they did draft?
Why didn't they sign Gerrit Cole, Doug Fister, Daniel Bard, Chris Davis after drafting them?

Overpaying internationally and on draft picks were areas where they weren't taxed, and the amounts are relatively small in relation to their MLB payroll. These are (or were) areas they could use to compensate for draft position/loss of picks that statistically dooms their drafts to be substandard over the long run.
   42. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 05, 2014 at 01:59 PM (#4652134)
I wonder about the incentives for players and coaches in the minors, when there are essentially no holes on the major league roster and, generally, no realistic chance that anyone is being groomed to take over a major league job with the big club.


Cashman once went and visited the Staten Island Yankees (NY Penn League), included in a "pep" talk he gave the team was his advice to not be worried that there would be no openings on the Yankees, Yankee farmhands made the majors all the time he said, just not with the Yankees. The reporter for the Staten Island Advance, was quite perplexed, what kind of team talked to their minor leaguers like that?
   43. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 05, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4652136)
It's either a lottery or some teams are good at it, which is it?


I clarified. To sum up; you are whining.
   44. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 05, 2014 at 02:04 PM (#4652138)
Cashman once went and visited the Staten Island Yankees (NY Penn League), included in a "pep" talk he gave the team was his advice to not be worried that there would be no openings on the Yankees, Yankee farmhands made the majors all the time he said, just not with the Yankees. The reporter for the Staten Island Advance, was quite perplexed, what kind of team talked to their minor leaguers like that?


One of the likely reasons the Yankees are bad at drafting and developing players is because they don't use their minor league system to build a team. Outside of rare birds like Jeter or Cano, they just don't fill from within. Prospects aren't future players in the Yankees' system. They're currency to include in trades for established players who are getting too expensive for other markets.
   45. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: February 05, 2014 at 02:05 PM (#4652140)
I think people are missing the forest for the trees. What kind of farm development strategy should the Yankees use if they are pursuing a major league strategy that means they will consistently have the worst draft positioning and fewest draft picks to work with?


I don't think it's a change of strategy so much as a change of execution. Yes they are somewhat challenged because of other decisions but they don't seem to be very good at drafting and signing players at those spots that are particularly good. There are plenty of guys who become good MLB players who are drafted after #30 in the draft.

However, to answer your question I think the Yankees should go for a boom or bust strategy. I loved their selection of Aaron Judge last year as an example. He could be a real bust but I wouldn't be shocked if he became a star either. To put it in baseball terms I think the Yanks are better off going 1 for 5 with a homer than 2 for 5 with a couple of singles.
   46. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: February 05, 2014 at 02:32 PM (#4652160)
Cashman once went and visited the Staten Island Yankees (NY Penn League), included in a "pep" talk he gave the team was his advice to not be worried that there would be no openings on the Yankees, Yankee farmhands made the majors all the time he said, just not with the Yankees. The reporter for the Staten Island Advance, was quite perplexed, what kind of team talked to their minor leaguers like that?


I didn't know that, but that's the kind of thing I'm talking about.

Reminds me of an anecdote in Bill James' original Historical Baseball Abstract, where the manager of the Pirates in the 1920s gathered everybody in spring training for a pep talk. They'd been NL champs a couple years in a row and had stars at practically every position, the Waners, Pie Traynor, George Grantham, Glenn Wright, etc., a solid pitching staff. The manager assured everybody that every position was open to competition.
   47. villageidiom Posted: February 05, 2014 at 02:48 PM (#4652168)
The Sox lost 93 in 2012 (too soon for definitive drafting results, but I believe a poor season like that is freeing for team executives to make the changes they think are important in a way that an 85-win season is not).
A major factor in their finishing with 93 losses was that they traded away several stars in return for prospects in the middle of the season. I suppose they could have kept those stars, acquired Alfonso Soriano, and made a desperate attempt at 85 wins instead, but then they wouldn't have the freedom to make the changes they think are important?

The Yankees ate all their cake, and they suck at baking, and they suck at choosing ingredients. They are very good at buying more cake.
   48. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: February 05, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4652172)
Not signing Gerrit Cole and others isn't a matter of simply not having the money. The players were available because everyone knew they were unsignable. The Yankees don't get credit for knowing Cole was going to be good -- everyone did. On talent he was an easy Top 10 pick. The Yankees with had some false sense he'd change his mind once drafted/Yankee allure, or were basically punting the pick to save money.

A weighted average of the Yankees' farm system shows them to very unsuccessful. You should expect them to produce less WAR given their draft position and lack of picks. The expectation shouldn't be 5-7 years of utter failure, and that type of output is inexcusable even with their reduced/lesser opportunities. Maybe their 2012/2013 drafts pan out to something, but right now the analysts aren't expecting them to. 2006-2011 are already mostly sunk and align with the title of the article.
   49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4652175)
Not signing Gerrit Cole and others isn't a matter of simply not having the money. The players were available because everyone knew they were unsignable. The Yankees don't get credit for knowing Cole was going to be good -- everyone did. On talent he was an easy Top 10 pick. The Yankees with had some false sense he'd change his mind once drafted/Yankee allure, or were basically punting the pick to save money.

There was a price at which he would sign.

I see no reason why, in the pre-cap era, the Yankee shouldn't have paid that price.
   50. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 05, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4652185)
It takes a bit of a Yankees fan-boy to not see the fact that they don't have a development program that produces quality players with any regularity.
   51. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4652189)
It takes a bit of a Yankees fan-boy to not see the fact that they don't have a development program that produces quality players with any regularity.

This Yankee fan thinks they all should be fired from Cashman on down.
   52. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: February 05, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4652212)
Wouldn't the right way to answer this question be to compare all the MLB team drafts and add up the total WAR or something? The Yankees seem like they wouldn't fare that well, but it's hard to say without comparing them to all the other teams, and maybe doing an additional analysis where you account for number of picks and the quality of those picks. They might only be a little below average if you actually did a full comparison. Not having encyclopedic knowledge of every teams' systems, I'm not sure. I mean, off the top of my head it seems like they've done better than say, the Astros, Jays, or Cubs. Maybe those are the only teams they've done better than, but it seems like this could be answered by actual data rather than speculation.
   53. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: February 05, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4652219)
Someone else can do the legwork but aside from a lot of number crunching it should be fairly easy to figure out if the Yankees are getting value out of their drafts. Find the historic WAR return for each draft slot, add up the expected WAR for each Yankee draft based on the draft slots they had, and then do it for a few other teams. Oh, and find a good acronym, something like NAMBLA or DJLTGGB'S.

EDIT:
Ninja'd by ellsbury. Non-diet, non-sugary beverage of your choice my good man.
   54. pkb33 Posted: February 05, 2014 at 07:08 PM (#4652356)

It takes a bit of a Yankees fan-boy to not see the fact that they don't have a development program that produces quality players with any regularity.


As you can see there are several who qualify! One element that probably needs more attention is giving away draft picks to sign free agents; that is a little bit of a 'winner's curse' of free agency and it is part (and at most, only part) of the Yankees problem here.
   55. valuearbitrageur Posted: February 05, 2014 at 07:13 PM (#4652360)
It takes a bit of a Yankees fan-boy to not see the fact that they don't have a development program that produces quality players with any regularity.


I'm not a Yankee fan in any way, I've given you facts and they don't fit with your pre-decided opinion so you ignore them.

The Yankees wee very good at drafting for four years straight, and then sucked for 4 or 5 years and we don't have enough data yet to really grade the last couple years. Your agenda requires you ignore the 4 good years and focus on 5 or 6 bad years. But the truth is their is a huge amount of variance in the draft. The first rounder slots they draft in turn into MLB players maybe 1 in 4 times on average, and stars maybe 1 in 30 times? Then the rest of their picks are in slots ranging from maybe 1 in 10 to get a cup of coffee, at best to worse than 1 in 100.

So they had less than 200 that didn't pan out? What are odds that happens by chance? Do a shred of math before you come back and show your work. Otherwise you are just bloviating. Constantly repeating unfounded personal opinions never turns them into facts.
   56. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 05, 2014 at 07:20 PM (#4652366)
the Cardinals drafted six more players in that 2009 draft who have subsequently made the big leagues---four of whom are now in more or less starting roles---including Joe Kelly (3rd round), Matt Carpenter (18th round), Trevor Rosenthal (21st round) and Matt Adams (23rd round).

And while that's an extraordinary and unrepeatable draft, their 2013 team was littered with lower-round successes from other years, like Yadier Molina (4th round), Alan Craig (8th round), Seth Maness (11th round), Jaime Garcia (22nd round), and Kevin Siegrist (41st round).


Getting this kind of value from late round draft picks doesn't mean that you're good at drafting, it means you're good at player development. If they had really known something about these guys that nobody else had figured out, then they'd have drafted them sooner. After all, the Cardinals themselves passed on Matt Adams 22 times, and 17 of those guys haven't sniffed the majors yet.
   57. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 05, 2014 at 07:35 PM (#4652372)
And really, what does it matter? The point is not to get the highest Baseball America ranking, but to have success at the major league level.

It matters, because every time they don't develop a player, they have to pay a FA to fill that hole. And even the Yankees pockets have their limits, as they have clearly shown. If they had developed another OF, or Catcher or SP for example, they could have thrown that extra cash at Cano. Instead, they are starting Kelly Johnson at 3B, the corpse of Brian Roberts at 2B. Or be counting on David Phelps as their 5th starter, and god knows who when they have to go to their 6th and 7th.

That's the price of not developing players.
   58. Walt Davis Posted: February 05, 2014 at 08:28 PM (#4652393)
The Yankees "loss" of draft picks is greatly overstated.

From 2001-2013 they have had 12 first-round picks. On average of course they would have 13. This is not a big deal in itself.

In many of those years, due to the compensation rules that existed, their actual first round pick was better than their original first round pick -- they lost their first rounder by signing an FA but gained a lesser team's first-rounder due to losing an FA. In most years they picked where they would have but:

2001: down to 23 (Mariners) from 19
2002: no first round pick
2004: up from 28 to 23 (Astros)
2005: up from 29 to 17 (Phillies)
2006: up from 28 to 21 (Phillies)
2009: down from 25 (Trout, ouch!) to 29 (a 1s?)

It was a great strategy that exploited the FA system as it existed. They added top quality ML talent to the current roster while improving their draft position.

In addition, they added 8 supplemental picks in those 13 years. From 2001-2006 there were an average of about 12.5 supplemental picks per year or 2.5 per team over those 6 years. In that time period, the Yanks had 5.

I assume we get rule changes and I can't remember them all, from 2007 on. The number of 1s go way up and, starting in 2008, you start getting some "1s" picks before "1" picks. Anyway, 34 supps in 2007, 16 in 08, 19 in 09, 20 in 2010, 30 in 2011, 30 in 2012. In 2013 -- is this a coding thing? Anyway, they now list 39 "1" picks at b-4 so call that 9 supplementals. So from 2007-13, the average number of 1s picks would have been about 5 per team while the Yankees had 3.

All told, over 2001-2013, the Yanks had essentially an average number of 1 and 1s picks. They often moved up in the draft order under the old system. Their strategy of signing big FAs is not to blame for any poor draft/develop outcomes. Obviously they could have let stockpiled picks (i.e. their original picks, the comp picks they received and letting more of their FAs walk for even more picks) but that strategy would have required not adding CC, Tex, etc. and a much worse ML performance.

There was nothing wrong with the strategy that they followed. In fact I think it was close to exactly how a big market franchise should have acted under the rules at the time. Give away your first rounder by signing an FA you want while picking up a first-rounder (sometimes better) and (sometimes) a supp pick by letting a player you don't want go on the FA market.
   59. Publius Publicola Posted: February 05, 2014 at 08:29 PM (#4652395)
I agree with snapper. I think it's not so much misidentifying of prospects to draft as it is "failure to thrive" issues once they join the Yankee minor league system. Perhaps they've gotten sloppy or neglectful with their instructional/developmental infrastructure but after reading the Baseball America summary of the across-the-board disappointments of their senior prospects, there's no mistaking they have some reorg to do.
   60. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2014 at 08:37 PM (#4652398)
There was nothing wrong with the strategy that they followed. In fact I think it was close to exactly how a big market franchise should have acted under the rules at the time. Give away your first rounder by signing an FA you want while picking up a first-rounder (sometimes better) and (sometimes) a supp pick by letting a player you don't want go on the FA market.

Their failure was not to be more aggressive with Int'l FAs and signability guys when there were no $ limits.

Pay Gerritt Cole, Miguel Sano, Cespedes, Chapman, Puig, etc, whatever it takes.
   61. this space for rent Posted: February 05, 2014 at 08:46 PM (#4652405)
Their failure was not to be more aggressive with Int'l FAs and signability guys when there were no $ limits.


Why are the Yankees letting the "limits" stop them now?

It seems like the Yankees' best strategy is to simply thumb their noses at the spending limits. Instead of cooperating with the "draft cap," draft as many tough signs as possible and sign as many as you can.

Doing so would have two penalties:
1) 100% tax on draft spending -- but it's still probably a bargain, especially for the Yankees.
2) Forfeiting their "top" pick forever -- but since that top pick is usually well past the first round thanks to signing FAs, not a big deal.

But the benefits could be significant: signing a whole bunch of top-3 round talents rather than getting a shot at maybe one or two if they played nice. And while 2nd/3rd round talents are gambles, if you buy enough of them your odds start looking pretty good.

In fact, it sounds like the Yankees intend to do exactly this in the international market -- rumor has it they are planning to spend $10M+ despite being "capped" at $2M. And the penalties there are, if anything, more severe -- apparently they will be barred from paying more than $300K for any international signing for the next two years if they go through with this.

So if they're willing to go for it in the international market, why not do the same in the Rule 4 draft?
   62. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: February 05, 2014 at 08:57 PM (#4652413)
It matters, because every time they don't develop a player, they have to pay a FA to fill that hole. And even the Yankees pockets have their limits, as they have clearly shown. If they had developed another OF, or Catcher or SP for example, they could have thrown that extra cash at Cano. Instead, they are starting Kelly Johnson at 3B, the corpse of Brian Roberts at 2B. Or be counting on David Phelps as their 5th starter, and god knows who when they have to go to their 6th and 7th.


Sure, that's true in the abstract, but it doesn't necessarily hold up in practice. The failure to develop talent over the last 5-10 years and to have that talent on hand is, at least partially, a result of the choice to focus on maximizing the major league roster. Just as their pockets have limits, so does their resource allocation. The Cano example only goes so far -- they were willing to pay him market value or more, but Seattle wildly overpaid. Had the Yanks outbid that, they might have kept him, but would that have been wise?
   63. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2014 at 08:59 PM (#4652414)
Why are the Yankees letting the "limits" stop them now?

Sure, it might make sense to go over now. But back then, it was a no brainer.
   64. Karl from NY Posted: February 05, 2014 at 09:13 PM (#4652419)
I think it is interesting that in a quick search of various teams, the two World Series teams appear to have very high number of high draft picks the last nine years.

There could be causation in both directions there. World Series teams are likely to have had players fluctuate to performances above their true talent, both becoming more attractive for other teams to sign and more likely to be on the Elias A/B lists to produce a compensatory pick. (Now it's the qualifying offer that triggers the pick, but before 2012 it was the Elias rankings.)
   65. ptodd Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:03 PM (#4652458)
Yankees draft picks in 2006-2013 have accumulated 35.4 WAR, same as the Red Sox.

Their biggest deficiency is in the amateur free agent arena. That used to be a strong point but since their LA scouting director got fired for kickbacks in 2007 they have not signed much of value out of Latin America or elsewhere

Injuries have hurt them a lot though. That could be bad luck or something wrong in their program.
   66. JJ1986 Posted: February 05, 2014 at 11:19 PM (#4652465)
Yankees draft picks in 2006-2013 have accumulated 35.4 WAR, same as the Red Sox.


Almost all of this is from 2006 picks. They have about 2 WAR from 2007-2013.
   67. Chase Insteadman Wannabe Posted: February 06, 2014 at 12:50 AM (#4652481)
I'm stuck in a hotel while my place is recovering from a lack of electricity, so I can't really fact check the things I'm about to write, so I apologize in advance if any of this is less than perfectly recalled, but as a Yankee fan who follows prospects closely enough to have spent five years or so shadow drafting to see if I could do better (with BA and John Sickels as my scouting department,) these are a few quick thoughts I had reading this thread.

--If I recall correctly, the Yankees never officially made an offer to (lifelong Yankee fan at the time) Gerrit Cole after drafting him. He was a top 10 guy based on pure talent, but a lot of scouts questioned his makeup. (Also: his off-speed stuff.) The Yankees told Cole they were willing to give vast quantities of dollars to sign, but he spent the summer debating whether to sign or go to college, and eventually told the Yankees he wanted to go to UCLA. So the Yankees never made an official offer, and Cole was complimentary about how the organization handled the process.

--The Yankees have fared poorly when bucking the scouting consensus. Most notably, leading their drafts with SS Cito Culver and 3B Dante Bichette Jr. when both were seen more like 4th or 5th round guys has yielded pretty crappy returns. The more successful picks of the last 10 years or so (Joba, Hughes, etc.) were well regarded. Whether this had an impact on their taking three guys in the first round this year who were seen as good picks by most analysts or not remains to be seen, but it was encouraging.

--One ultimately meaningless thing I remember with the crystal clarity precision of laser memory is that on a BA podcast after Mike Trout established how damn good he is in the minors, John Manuel talked about how a lot of scouting directors were trying to claim their team was on Trout all along. He also said the only team he knew for a fact had Trout #2 on their board (behind Strasburg) was the Yankees. If he lasted three more picks, this is a different conversation altogether without any change in their process or personnel.

--This is mostly very vague recollection and a healthy dose of supposition, but the Yankees spent big money (by their standards) in 2006 and wound up bringing in a lot of talent. Encouraged, they spent money again in 2007 and wound up with players like Andrew Brackman and Bradley Suttle. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe they scaled their spending back down again the next year.

--I sometimes wonder if the Yankees are really committed to building a strong system. With the exception of an occasional rare talent they believe in (Jesus Montero, Gary Sanchez) or draft class ('06 and '07) they have never been one of the top spenders on amateur talent. The story about Cashman trying to inspire the younglings with a motivational speech about the exciting opportunities which await them on other team's rosters is rather chilling.

But whether or not there is a lack of desire to build a better system (and the Yankees certainly publicly proclaim a commitment to promoting prospects rather than just purchasing players as free agents), whether it has more to do with scouting, developing or both, we can certainly all agree it's a bad idea to question Gene Michael to Yankee fans who love Gene Michael because the man is a ####### God, and we should all be honored to share the planet with such a visionary luminary.
   68. Walt Davis Posted: February 06, 2014 at 02:47 AM (#4652496)
Their failure was not to be more aggressive with Int'l FAs and signability guys when there were no $ limits.

I agree strong international and signability guys (although I'm not sure these exist anymore) should have been spent on fairly heavily -- but then international FA information really isn't available on b-r so I can't verify the claim that they've underspent there. Obviously they didn't spend on Cubans but they have spent on Japanese players (sometimes to their dismay) and I have no idea if the young Latin players they have or have not signed were good ideas.

Why shouldn't the Yankees blow past the limits? Because the penalties are severe. They're up to 50% now I believe. If they sign some elite FA (or international or whatever) at $25 M per year and if that is entirely marginal payroll (i.e. above the lux tax threshold), they are in fact paying $37.5 M per year for that player. The $25 M per year was probably already more than anybody was willing to spend but you're going to add another 50% on top of that? Going a little bit over the threshold won't hurt the Yanks ... or going over regularly but re-setting the lux tax every few years ... are perfectly viable strategies. Running a $250 M payroll which is actually a $280 M payroll with $30 M of it just going into Bud's slush fund makes no sense at all as a long-term strategy.

Anyway, back to the bigger theme ... we've seen the Yanks have had an essentially average number of 1 and 1s picks over the last 13 years. So that's the quantity question. What about the quality question?

General approach is to look at the specific slots the Yanks drafted in and see how the same picks in the previous 5 and subsequent 5 years did -- this will give us an idea of what you can expect out of those slots. So for their 2001 pick, I'll look at how that slot did from 1996-00 and 02-06. Obviously as we move forward in time, we won't have any WAR value for the subsequent picks. The Yankee "outcome" is what the player eventually did given he signed with the Yanks, even if that value wasn't with the Yanks (i.e. they traded him away for somebody). The before/after numbers are WAR totals, not the average of the draft pick.

2001: #23 -- Yanks got 0 WAR, negative WAR the 5 years before, 30 WAR in the 5 years after. Most of that is Ellsbury with 21 WAR and 6 of that is Phil Hughes. There's also 7 from Francoeur, that would have been fun.

2001: #34 -- Yanks got 0 WAR, 1.4 WAR before, -2 WAR after. Todd Frazier and Rex Brothers were drafted in this slot after the window.

2001: #42 -- Yanks got 0, 0 before, 19 after (Buchholz, Chris Perez)

2002: nothing

2003: #27 -- Yanks got 0, before 3 (Santos), after 9 (mostly Porcello)

2004: #23 -- Yanks got 6 (Hughes, 8th best #23), before 3, after 21 (all Ellsbury)

2004: #37 -- Yanks got 0, before 20 (all Adam Jones), after 0

2004: #41 -- Yanks got 0, before negative, after 10 (mostly Joba so ... the rest is Sean Doolittle, drafted as a 1B and later converted to pitcher)

2005: #17 -- Yanks got 0 (but traded for Abreu), 45 before (Hamels, Murphy), 5 after

2006: #21 -- Yanks "got" 9 (Kennedy, 6th best #21), 11 before, 3 after

2006: #41 -- Yanks got 7 (Joba), negative before, 3 after

2007: #30 -- Yanks got 0, 4 before, negative after

2008: #28 -- Yanks did not sign, 32 before, 0 after

2008: #44 -- Yanks got 0, 0 before, 2 after (but Joey Votto in the year before the "before")

2009: #29 -- Yanks 0 so far, 2 before (Chisenhall, just starting), 0 after ... Quentin and Wainwright in earlier years

The most common outcome by far for any player picked in those slots over a 10-year period was -2 to +2 WAR, including about half never making the majors. The Yanks certainly never hit it big but there are only a few players that were big hits. Those outliers are the only thing making this performance look bad.

Take 2001 #42. Yanks got zero but the other 10 picks totaled just 19, all in 2 players. If we take that as a straight average, then the average pick produces 2 WAR total over the 6 year FA period ... "bad" drafting cost the Yanks .3 WAR per year? Oh no! If you look at in a percentile/probability fashion then the 0 WAR the Yanks got is, what, the 80th percentile outcome for that slot? At least median.

The worst slot is 2005 #17 where, thanks to Cole Hamels, the average in these 5 years was 5 WAR. Fortunately that was the guy they traded for Abreu who produced 7 WAR for the Yanks.

In some years, they clearly beat the average. 7 out of Joba and even 6 out of Hughes (despite the presence of Ellsbury in his comp group) were quite good.

All told the Yanks "got" 22 WAR out of these, 9 of that Kennedy. The comp picks totaled about 200 WAR (and potentially counting) -- since there were 10 times more comp picks than Yank picks, that gives us an expectation of, shazam, 20 WAR. The Yanks did just about as well as you'd expect.

Their "poor" performance is purely a factor of hitting it big with Ellsbury, Jones or Hamels. The 4th and 5th best players out of this set of 154 picks are Buchholz and Daniel Murphy.

How about looking at it another way ... the 10 picks after the Yanks pick ...

2001: #23 -- Yanks got 0 WAR, 22 WAR after (Jeff Mathis as average pick)

2001: #34 -- Yanks got 0 WAR, 50 WAR (David Wright!)

2001: #42 -- Yanks got 0, 17 WAR

2002: no pick -- Yanks got 0, 37 WAR (Matt Cain! passed over by the A's for Joe Blanton)

2003: #27 -- Yanks got 0, 48 WAR (Jones, Quentin, Barton)

2004: #23 -- Yanks got 6, 8 WAR

2004: #37 -- Yanks got 0, 45 WAR (Gio, Street, Gallardo)

2004: #41 -- Yanks got 0, 22 WAR (Gallardo)

2005: #17 -- Yanks got 0, 46 WAR (Ellsbury, Garza)

2006: #21 -- Yanks "got" 9, 9 WAR

2006: #41 -- Yanks got 7 (Joba), 11 WAR

2007: #30 -- Yanks got 0, 11 WAR

2008: #28 -- Yanks did not sign, 0 WAR

2008: #44 -- Yanks got 0, 4 WAR

2009: #29 -- Yanks 0 so far, 7 WAR

This doesn't look so good but it's still 22 WAR for the Yanks vs. 337 WAR for the following 10 picks, an average of 34 WAR. So, over the 13 years we're looking at, the Yanks are 1 WAR per year below expectation. That's not good but it's hardly crippling and, again, their "poor" performance is just a function of not hitting it big on a player. Over those 13 years I think there were 9 players worth 10+ WAR from these 164 picks (since I've added 2002).

So you've got about a 6% chance of getting a 10+ WAR player in this setup and missing on that 15 years in a row -- I get about a 40% chance of that happening.

In 2001, the Yanks should have drafted David Wright and Noah Lowry. That year, the Red Sox had no 1/1s pick, the A's picked up Crosby and Bonderman, the Braves passed on those same players twice too in favor of two 0 WAR players and the Cards passed in favor of a 0 WAR player.

In 2002, the Yanks should have kept their pick and gotten Cain. Instead it went to the A's who took Blanton (and earlier taking Swisher over Hamels). The Red Sox lost their pick to the A's and the Cards lost their pick to the A's and the Braves took Francoeur just ahead of Blanton and Cain.

In 2003, the Yanks should have grabbed Adam Jones or at least Quentin. The A's had the two picks immediately before the Yanks and another pick before Jones was drafted and got negative WAR for their trouble. The Cards picked right after the Yanks and did grab Barton (9 WAR) who they traded to the A's. The Braves gave their #30 pick to the Royals, had the two picks just before Jones and grabbed Salty (6 WAR).

In 2004, the Yanks did get Hughes but I suppose should have gotten Gio (15 picks after Hughes). The Red Sox again gave theirs to the A's who got nothing from their 2 picks, they also had a supp just before Gio and one just after him (Street). The Braves gave their pick to the Rangers and the Cards got 0 WAR.

In 2005, the Yanks should have drafted Ellsbury, Garza or Rasmus. I think a lot of people did question the Henry pick. The Red Sox gave theirs to the Cards but got two others grabbing Ellsbury and passing on Rasmus. They also got Buchholz and Lowrie in the supp round so a great drafting year for them. The Cards grabbed Rasmus with their Red Sox pick but whiffed on their own plus two supp picks. The A's grabbed Pennington just before Ellsbury and the Braves grabbed Joey Devine over Rasmus and Buchholz.

In 2006, the Yanks grabbed Ian Kennedy. There is no 1/1s player picked after that who was better than Kennedy. The closest is Joba. Red Sox and Braves both whiffed, the A's gave their pick away and the Cards got 3 WAR.

In 2007, they picked 30th and the best players they passed on were Frazier, Donaldson and Tommy Hunter. The Braves got Heyward at #14, the Cards got Kozma, the A's got nothing then Doolittle, the Red Sox gave theirs away.

Other than 2005, the teams we're supposed to be impressed with didn't do any better in the 1/1s round than the Yanks. Other than the Red Sox on Ellsbury, they all passed on the stars.
   69. The TVerik of Lordly Might Posted: February 06, 2014 at 08:26 AM (#4652515)
In a world in which the Yankees are famously paying Rod now for production in 2008/2009, do they refuse to overpay Cano? Burned once, do they stay away from 10-year "stoves"?
   70. Mike Emeigh Posted: February 06, 2014 at 08:58 AM (#4652523)
I suspect though, that the Yankees problem isn't player selection as much as player development.


I think this is true, especially at AA and AAA.

The Yankees had a reputation for saving money (OK, for being cheap) in the minor league system. I remember attending a game at the old War Memorial Stadium in Greensboro, back when the Yankees had their low-A affiliate there, and seeing the players routinely throw foul balls fielded down the lines back into the dugout rather than into the stands; a scout told me later that the Yankees would fine players who tossed balls into the stands for the fans. I don't know whether that's still true, but the Yankees are making some changes, as this article indicates. Damon Oppenheimer, the overseer of the draft, still has a pretty good reputation; don't hear a lot about Mark Newman.

-- MWE
   71. salvomania Posted: February 06, 2014 at 10:33 AM (#4652573)
Why does #69 very narrowly focus extensively and exclusively on the performance of only first-round picks, instead of comparing all draftees?
   72. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 06, 2014 at 10:43 AM (#4652584)
I suspect though, that the Yankees problem isn't player selection as much as player development.


But given that the deck is already stacked against the Yankees as a result of their draft position how much of any purported failure in player development is systemic failure and how much is simply a handful of injuries ruining promising careers of the handful of potentially elite talents the Yankees were actually able to obtain through the draft? Are we even having this conversation if Manny Banuelos hadn't lost almost two seasons to elbow surgery, or if Joba Chamberlain doesn't hurt his shoulder in a freak injury in 2008?

There's also the issue of how we're assessing the ability of the Yankees to develop talent by looking at their current roster. Are we having this conversation if Austin Jackson is playing in the outfield and Ian Kennedy is in the rotation, rather than having both been converted into an established center fielder who averaged over 4 WAR a year for three years in pinstripes?

I'm certainly disappointed in the failure of so many of the Yankees' most promising prospects to have the hoped-for success at the major league level but so much of that failure is linked to injury and I'm not sure how much the Yankees themselves are to blame for that. We accept that pitching prospects get hurt and we'll see if having former A's Gil Patterson as the minor league pitching coordinator has any positive effect here. I do think the Yankees have tried to exploit the market for players who are known to carry some injury risk as a way of potentially getting a higher level of talent into the system and that hasn't worked out thus far - Humberto Sanchez, Andrew Brackman, and Slade Heathcott, for example.

As I posted in another thread, consider this: in 2007 Baseball America ranked the Yankees as having the #5 farm system in baseball. Here's their list of the top players they found:

1. Philip Hughes, rhp (DL time for cracked rib 2008, "dead arm syndrome" 2011, bulging disc in back 2013)
2. Jose Tabata, of (traded)
3. Dellin Betances, rhp (elbow ligament surgery 2009)
4. Joba Chamberlain, rhp (DL time for rotator cuff strain 2008, TJS 2011)
5. Ian Kennedy, rhp (axillary aneurysm 2009, traded)
6. Chris Garcia, rhp (TJS 2007 AND 2010)
7. Tyler Clippard, rhp (traded)
8. J. Brent Cox, rhp (TJS 2007)
9. Mark Melancon, rhp (TJS 2007, traded)
10. Brett Gardner, of (starting CF)

That's an awful lot of DL time at both ML and MiLB levels. I'm not saying the Yankees don't have some systemic issue with injury control but if anyone wants to make that case I'd want to know exactly what they think the Yankees are doing wrong.
   73. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: February 06, 2014 at 11:29 AM (#4652619)
Why does #69 very narrowly focus extensively and exclusively on the performance of only first-round picks, instead of comparing all draftees?


I would guess because that's a lot more work, and he probably already put in a bunch doing it the way he did.
   74. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 06, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4652620)
That's an awful lot of DL time at both ML and MiLB levels. I'm not saying the Yankees don't have some systemic issue with injury control but if anyone wants to make that case I'd want to know exactly what they think the Yankees are doing wrong.

You can start with the fact they draft way too many guys who already have an injury history. Also, jerking young pitchers around between the rotation and short relief (as opposed to breaking them in as long relievers, a la Earl Weaver) seems sub-optimal.
   75. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 06, 2014 at 12:03 PM (#4652640)
You can start with the fact they draft way too many guys who already have an injury history.


Well as I mentioned I think that was their attempt at trying to overcome their consistently-poor draft positions. A guy like Andrew Brackman, for example, would have been a top-10 pick if he were 100% healthy. When you're picking 30th I can see the allure of rolling the dice on a guy like that coming back from TJS instead of going with safe choices. BA's pre-draft prediction said, "Now a legitimate 6-foot-10, 240 pounds, his upside is considerable. His athleticism helps him repeat his delivery, but he struggles with his balance and release point, leading to erratic command, especially of his secondary stuff. He touched 99 mph in the Cape Cod League in 2006 and again during an early-season outing in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and he pitches at 94 with exceptional plane. His mid-80s spike-curveball is filthy. Brackman's changeup was the pitch that had improved the most this spring, and grades as a third potential plus offering. He's still unrefined, but even without the polish, Brackman shouldn't slide out of the top 10 picks."

I think it's perfectly defensible for the Yankees to roll the dice on someone like that.

Also, jerking young pitchers around between the rotation and short relief (as opposed to breaking them in as long relievers, a la Earl Weaver) seems sub-optimal.


How many players does that really apply to?
   76. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 06, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4652645)
How many players does that really apply to?

Their two best pitching prospects.
   77. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 06, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4652661)
Phil Hughes had the best season of his career as a starter in 2010 after pitching out of the bullpen in 2009. I don't think a sore arm in 2011 is really proof of anything, especially given that it happened so early in the season after a full offseason of rest. Chamberlain hurt his shoulder on a fluke injury in 2008, I don't think that's the sort of thing you can plan for or successfully mitigate in advance regardless of how you're used.

But your answer of "two players out of all of them" shows how much your assertions rely on small numbers. Young pitchers get hurt. They get hurt if you limit their workload and they get hurt if you let them rack up lots of innings in the minors. Two pitchers going between the bullpen and rotation 5 years ago probably isn't indicative of anything.
   78. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 06, 2014 at 12:51 PM (#4652666)
A guy like Andrew Brackman, for example, would have been a top-10 pick if he were 100% healthy. When you're picking 30th I can see the allure of rolling the dice on a guy like that coming back from TJS instead of going with safe choices.


The trouble is that the success rate of TJS is greatly overrated- medically speaking it has a near 100% success rate- you have it and you come back and pitch, trouble is, contrary to a certain MSM narrative, people don't generally speaking come back with the same or better stuff, the lucky ones come back with the stuff they would have had if they never hurt their elbow in the first place, but most come back with less, some a lot less. Maybe I'm biased because I'm a Mets fan, but I've seen guys like Humber and Benson and [wrong] Zambrano, who came back after TJS- but had nothing like the stuff they had before getting hurt. (I wouldn't say the Mets were unlucky in this regard- they traded FOR Benson and Zambrano after they'd lost their stuff, stupid yes, unlucky no).

Which is along way of saying that picking a guy lie Brackman before you have any idea what kind of stuff he'll have is ok in and of itself, but 1st round, even end of the 1st round, is a serious overreach.
   79. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 06, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4652676)
Also, jerking young pitchers around between the rotation and short relief (as opposed to breaking them in as long relievers, a la Earl Weaver) seems sub-optimal.


Well, there's no real thing as a "long reliever" anymore, and the Yankees aren't the only team that moves young starters into and out of their rotation. The Braves notably have done that with Kris Medlen, with very good results, and are almost certainly going to do a "reverse Medlen" with Alex Wood in 2014.

(A "reverse Medlen" is starting in the rotation and then being shifted to the pen as he tires down the stretch, as opposed to the "Medlen" which is to start in the pen to save innings, and then shift to the rotation to close the year. Braves watchers fully expect Wood to start in the rotation and then go to the pen when Gavin Floyd gets healthy in the second half.)
   80. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 06, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4652764)
Which is along way of saying that picking a guy lie Brackman before you have any idea what kind of stuff he'll have is ok in and of itself, but 1st round, even end of the 1st round, is a serious overreach.


I guess I'll just agree to disagree on this. Brackman came back from the surgery with his velocity intact but outside of a solid 2010 he just couldn't repeat his delivery, a pretty well-known risk for a guy almost 7-feet tall. I think going for blue-chip talent with an injury risk is a better bet for a team like the Yankees than going to guys with higher floor and lower ceilings; just looking at the draft list, here are the pitchers taken right after Brackman in 2007:

- Josh Smoker
- Clay Mortenson
- Brett Cecil
- James Adkins
- Sean Doolittle
- Neil Ramirez
- Nathan Vinyard
- Wes Roemer

I guess Brett Cecil and Sean Doolittle would have been preferable to Brackman but the Yankees aren't really hurting for bullpen arms (and Doolittle missed a whole season due to injury). I want the Yankees to absorb these sorts of risks in obtaining young talent because the league is continually recasting its rules to hinder their ability to do so. In retrospect I'm guessing the Yankees will admit, privately, that they should have been more aggressive in their pursuits of Cuban and Japanese talent in the last 5 years or so. That's the real onus on the team, not the fact that a handful of prospects get hurt as prospects are wont to do.
   81. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 06, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4652798)
I guess I'll just agree to disagree on this. Brackman came back from the surgery with his velocity intact but outside of a solid 2010 he just couldn't repeat his delivery, a pretty well-known risk for a guy almost 7-feet tall. I think going for blue-chip talent with an injury risk


He wasn't a blue chip talent with an injury risk- he was injured AT THE TIME- the Yankees had no way of knowing when they drafted him what kind of stuff he'd have when he came back from surgery.

solid 2010
He had a good half season at Trenton in 2010, other than that he was ineffective his entire pro career.

And having post-surgery trouble with command is kind of a hallmark of TJS.

   82. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 06, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4652802)
just looking at the draft list, here are the pitchers taken right after Brackman in 2007:

- Nathan Vinyard


You had to haul him out didn't you :-)
Hey, at least Vinyard had the decency to return (most of) his signing bonus.

But that reminds me of another problem with the Brackman signing - as a general rule if you draft a player- a pitcher in the first round- and he flunks his physical, needs surgery- you don't sign him- or you sign him for a drastically reduced bonus.

The Yankees not only drafted Brackman in the first round knowing he needed surgery, they didn't even get a discount, they paid full freight- he got the 5th highest bonus of the whole draft- that was nuts (not that it hurt the deep pocket Yankees, but it really massively pissed off other teams, and Bud, don't forget Bolshevick Bud)
   83. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 06, 2014 at 09:06 PM (#4652985)
He had a good half season at Trenton in 2010, other than that he was ineffective his entire pro career.


He was actually quite good in Tampa too, you just have to look beyond the baseball card stats. I remember this discussion as it happened in real time. The scouting reports were glowing but he got BABIP'd to death. 60 IP, 67 hits, 9/56 BB/K and a sparkly 5.10 ERA. It was the lowest WHIP of his career and easily as good or better than what he did at AA that year. Here's Kevin Goldstein from Prospectus reporting on Brackman right before he was promoted to AA:

“He’s been throwing an almost shocking number of strikes all season (7 BB in 55 IP), but his stuff is getting better and better, as the Yankees have put considerable work into nearly every aspect of his game and the results are finally showing up. With a fastball suddenly getting up to 96 mph, two distinct breaking balls and a changeup, Brackman has allowed six runs over 29 innings in his last five starts while whiffing 34, and he’s back on the prospect map.”


The Yankees not only drafted Brackman in the first round knowing he needed surgery, they didn't even get a discount, they paid full freight- he got the 5th highest bonus of the whole draft- that was nuts (not that it hurt the deep pocket Yankees, but it really massively pissed off other teams, and Bud, don't forget Bolshevick Bud)


I don't see why that really factors into the assessment, I'm glad Brackman has a little nest egg behind him now that his career is essentially over. The Yankees paid what they wanted to pay, not what Bud and his cronies wanted them to pay.
   84. Chase Insteadman Wannabe Posted: February 07, 2014 at 01:23 AM (#4653037)
The Yankees not only drafted Brackman in the first round knowing he needed surgery, they didn't even get a discount, they paid full freight- he got the 5th highest bonus of the whole draft- that was nuts (not that it hurt the deep pocket Yankees, but it really massively pissed off other teams, and Bud, don't forget Bolshevick Bud)

To me, the crazy part of the Brackman deal wasn't the money to a guy who needed surgery, it was the fact that they gave a Major League Deal to a guy who needed surgery. Brackman's upside was considered as high as just about anyone in that draft, but even before the injury he had trouble repeating his delivery. Maybe Brackman would never have become a frontline pitcher no matter how he was handled, but giving him a contract that forced him to make the big leagues in four years when they knew he needed at least a year to recover from a surgery he hadn't even had yet was putting him in a bad position from the beginning.
   85. Mike Emeigh Posted: February 07, 2014 at 09:09 AM (#4653091)
Again, I don't have a lot of problems with the Yankees' draft strategy in the context of the draft positions they had - it may not have been optimal, but it makes sense for a team that isn't depending primarily on their farm system to take a high risk/possibly high reward approach.

But if you are going to take that approach, you can't skimp on player development - and I believe that's where the Yankees have failed. As I said earlier, for a long time the Yankees had a reputation of not investing too much money in the farm system, and while I don't know if that is still true I would not be at all surprised if it were.

-- MWE
   86. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: February 07, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4653144)
Has anyone actually looked to see if there is skill in drafting / player development? That is, anyone can look back in time in a given year and say that these 3 teams have had he best results over the past decade, but does that have any predictive value? Because if not, then random variance can't be ruled out, especially with a chunky data set like this.

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