Jobu analyses the Yankees’ 2013 MLB draft.
Also, I found myself excited to meet our “new sons,” which is what my buddy Tom and I refer to prospects As I’m sure many of you know, the 2013 MLB Draft took place over the weekend. It actually began last Thursday and ran through the weekend. I made it a point to try to watch most of the first round, especially the Yankees’ picks. Although it’s hard to get into the draft because college baseball isn’t very popular and most guys picked are high schoolers that even less people have heard of, I liked the job the MLB Network did of presenting the draft. I tend to believe that If you treat something like a big deal, it will some day become a big deal. MLB has gotten that off to a good start the last couple of years.
Like the title says, this post isn’t about the draft in general, it’s about how the Yankees did in the draft. Also, I found myself excited to meet our “new sons,” which is how my buddy Tom and I refer to prospects. Anyway, Let’s get to the analysis. Now, obviously I didn’t go around scouting all of these guys, so I’ve relied on the vast knowledge of the writers for MLB.com and great blogs that I follow, like River Ave Blues and the Lohud Yankees Blog to get the information I’m presenting in this post. Hope you enjoy it.
Round One: Fight!
Because of the departures of type A free agents Rafael Soriano and Nick Swisher, the Yankees ended up with three first round picks this year. They got their normal pick (26th), and then two picks in the supplemental round (#32 and #33) right after the first round. Needless to say, they had a good chance of picking at least one winner. They may have gotten three.
Eric Jagielo, 3B – Notre Dame
Normally, I don’t support anything that comes out of Notre Dame (go Eagles), but I am pretty happy about this pick for the Yankees. Jagielo (pronounced Ja-GUY-Lo for some reason) became the first collegiate position player drafted in the first round by the Yankees since 2001 (John Ford-Griffin). Young Eric is very polished at the plate, winning Big East Player of the Year for 2013 while hitting .388 with 9 homers and 53 RBI. What the Yankees like about him is that there’s not a whole lot of tinkering that needs to be done to his swing. It’s pretty much what it’s going to be. Now it’s just a matter of polishing him up just enough to get him ready for the big leagues. Assuming his defense holds up, the power-hitting lefty could rise quickly through the system.
I’ll forgive his Fighting Irish ties if he starts socking dingers over the short porch in a couple of years. Especially if we never have to see A-Rod again, right?
I don’t know what it is, but I love big beastly hitters. Even in other sports. I’m notorious for drafting the tallest players available (WR, OL, DL, TE, etc) in Madden. Maybe it’s because I’m not that tall and I like to live vicariously through giants? I dunno. Anyway, Aaron Judge is 6’7″ and weighs 250 lbs. That’s really all I needed to know about the center fielder out of Fresno State. Yes, I said center. Despite his size, Judge is a speedy athlete who can man center. He will undoubtedly be moved to one of the corner spots when he begins his minor league career, but it’s still impressive.
Scouts compare him to a Giancarlo Stanton, in that he’s big, quick on his feet and should develop a ton of power once he gets his mechanics together and faces some stiffer competition. He’s not going to be Giancarlo Stanton, but for him to even be in the same breath as the Marlins’ superstar, Yankees fans should be excited. Last year, Judge led the team in both homers (12) RBI and steals (12). Also, he kind of looks like Blake Griffin. Maybe he can jump over cars while robbing homers in right field. Either way, Here come de Judge. Watch out, world.
The Clarkin pick turned into one of the dumbest draft day stories of all time. In a pre-taped interview before the draft, Clarkin joked about how much he and his dad hate the Yankees, mentioning that he had cried tears of joy when Luis Gonzalez blooped the game-winning single over Jeter’s head in game seven of the 2001 World Series. When he was taken by the Yankees, he said all the right things, mentioning that he now loves the Yankees, and his father would have to learn to as well. He said the Yankees were the best organization, and was very complimentary about the Yankees and excited for the opportunity to join them. The next day, he had to issue an apology for his comments. First of all, he was six years old when that series happened. Second of all, he’s 18 years old. Thirdly, every Major League player grew up a fan of one team and hating their bitter rivals. Give the kid a break already, and drop the story. Let’s not scare him into not signing (he has committed to San Diego State).
As far as talent goes, Clarkin has it. During his senior year of high school, the lefty posted a 9-2 record with a 0.95 ERA. His fastball sits in the low 90s (although he has reached the miss). He also has a solid change up, and his curveball is highly touted as one of the best high school curves in the country, but command issues might get in the way of his climb to the bigs. I’m confident that the Yankees staff in Tampa can get him on track though. Any time you can add a lefty with potential to the mix, it’s a good pick.
The Yankees are excited about second round pick Gosuke Katoh. Katoh is a rare legitimate second base high school prospect. Most high school middle infield prospects are shortstops that end up being moved to second because of range or arm concerns. With Katoh, the arm is definitely holding him back. He really can’t play anywhere but second base, but he can hit. According to Scouting Director Damon Oppenheimer, the kid is an “excellent runner with great hand-eye coordination who can hit with some surprising power,” he can also really play the field. Being that Katoh is only 18, his climb to the bigs could be just in time for the Yankees to move Robinson Cano somewhere else (at some point he has to lose some range, right?).
Nepotism is the Best Ism
The Yankees drafted relatives of three of their former players in this draft. Most notable, in my opinion, is Michael O’Neill, the nephew of Yankees legend Paul O’Neill. The younger O’Neill, an outfielder out of the University of Michigan taken in the third round, has been nicknamed “The Laser Show” by Wolverines coach Erik Bakich because of his ability to hit line drives and his speed on the base paths. I don’t think O’Neill is viewed as the run producer his uncle Paul was, but he could be the table setting type of guy that every team needs.
In the 32nd round (that’s a lot of rounds), the Yankees took Cal Quantril, who is the son of former Yankees reliever, and Joe Torre target for shoulder surgery, Paul Quantril. Like his dad, the youngster doesn’t throw very hard (high 80s), but relies on a heavy sinker to get batters out. He’s committed to the Stanford, so signing him might be an issue.
Finally, in the 37th round, the Yankees took the son of another legend. Unfortunately, they have no chance of signing Joshua Pettitte (I don’t think I need to tell you who his dad is). Pettitte is committed to Vanderbilt, and his father has already announced that the kid is going to honor that commitment, but it was nice to see the Yankees try to get the kid. Would be a great story, especially since Josh can definitely pitch, throwing two no-hitters this year for Deer Park High School in Texas. The Yankees will have to try to get Pettitte again in three years if they really want him.
As I mentioned earlier, no casual fan knows much about the guys the Yankees drafted this year. In fact, most hard core fans probably don’t know much about them either. Percentages say that most of the guys drafted will not ever even sniff the big leagues. Sometimes projected talent levels are not reached. Sometimes guys get hurt too. You never know. I do think, however, that the Yankees had themselves a very good draft. There’s a handful of guys that have the potential to help the big league club in the next 3-5 years, for sure.
A lot has to go right for everything to work out for the drafted players, but it’s not unheard of for all the top picks to make it to the bigs. At least we’ll have new minor leaguers to follow and watch grow up.
Featured image courtesy of: Tomasso Derosa/AP
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