Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Analyzing the Draft (Rounds One through Ten)

While it may go without saying, I feel the need to say it anyway - the MLB Draft is the biggest crapshoot within the big four professional sports and, as a result, is the most difficult to accurately gauge. That being said, that also makes it the easiest to pick apart, as the fruits are not likely to ripen until two or three years into the future (at the earliest). In the interest of time and space, I'll offer three or four sentences about the Yankees first fifteen selections. Let's dive right into the team's top-ten picks.

Round 01 - Cito Culver, SS, 08/26/1992
Culver's greatest strength lay in his glovework - it is quite likely that the Rochester native will remain at shortstop for the foreseeable future. Further, his athleticism should allow him to perform ably all over the diamond should his bat not pan out - which is the greatest question mark. While Culver's frame suggests he can add bulk and power, his offensive approach reminds me of David Eckstein - he'll need to retool his mechanics prior to adding power.

Round 02 - Angelo Gumbs, SS, 10/13/1992
A shortstop by trade, it appears to be a foregone conclusion that Gumbs will make the move to centerfield sooner rather than later, and I suspect that his speed and athleticism will make that transition fairly smooth. I'm a bit leery of calling him a true five-tool prospect, as his bat only began to show in his senior year, but his progress was admirable… and I don't think it's fair to criticize high school players for struggling with breaking stuff. Think 80% of Slade Heathcott.

Round 03 - Robert Segedin, 3B, 11/10/1988

Segedin's back woes of 2009 worry me a bit, and I highly doubt that he'll be able to remain at the hot corner (though he doesn't appear to be an embarrassment there). Scouts have raved about his bat speed and approach at the plate, and he's been labelled as one of the best "pure hitters" in the draft by many (whatever that means). I see him as a more athletic version of Blue Jays prospect Brett Wallace.

Round 04 - Mason Williams, CF, 08/21/1991
I won't waste much space here - he appears to be Brett Gardner 2.0, with strong marks across the board, save for below-average power.

Round 05 - Thomas Kahnle, RHP, 08/07/1989

A starter by trade, Kahnle was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA National and South Regional Tournament in 2008 as a reliever, and it appears that that will be his destiny in the majors. Kahnle is more of a thrower than a pitcher, touching 98 with his fastball (with movement), yet demonstrating no feel or control for his curve or change. He's built in the Chamberlain/Gagne mold, though I can't think of a performance comparison.

Round 06 - Gabe Encinas, RHP, 12/21/1991
Encinas demonstrated great control for a High School pitcher, and he has a heavy sinker which generates tons of grounders. He has flashes of brilliance with his curve, but it's fairly unrefined, and he has a decent feel for his change. A criticism that I've heard fairly often is that he doesn't really pitch downhill, which would make the 6'4" righty even deadlier.

Round 07 - Taylor Anderson, CF, 12/03/1991

A centerfielder by trade, I've heard that Anderson may end up as a second baseman - I'm not quite sure why, though, as I haven't heard anything other than solid reviews for his glovework in center. Anderson's swing has been referred to as 'sweet,' 'perfect,' or 'beautiful' more times than I can remember and, while he hasn't demonstrated too much home run power, he has hit a terrific amount of doubles and triples.

Round 08 - Kyle Roller, 1B, 03/27/1988
In a semi-hilarious circumstance, Roller may not be athletic enough to stick at first… a rare feat, indeed. That being said, Roller is a masher with solid plate discipline - and he's had success using wooden bats, to boot. His swing is a bit long, so he may need to work on handling breaking stuff, however.

Round 09 - Taylor Morton, RHP, 12/18/1991
I, for one, remember Morton as the pitcher that struck out Bryce Harper in a High School talent showcase in 2009. Morton stuff impresses me, as he has a good feel for a circle change, which baffled High School hitters over the past couple of years and could work out to be a plus-pitch. With his fastball sitting in the low-90s and no other real offspeed offering, he is certainly a project - but an intriguing one, at that.

Round 10 - Benjamin Gamel, CF, 05/17/1992
Gamel's older brother Mat is an all-hit, no-glove prospect in the Brewers system. I would call Benjamin his opposite per say, but he is likely to stick in the outfield (perhaps not in center, but he could be a plus fielder in either corner) and has a line-drive stroke with middling power.

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