The draft is tomorrow and all of the key front office people have gathered in Tampa.
Predicting the draft beyond the first few picks is impossible. Unlike football and basketball, the best players don’t necessarily go first. Some teams will draft for immediate need, others based on who the player has for an agent.
Andrew Brackman, for instance, was one of the five or six most talented players available last season. But he fell to the Yankees because of concerns about his elbow (which needed surgery) and his agent (Scott Boras).
Brian Cashman doesn’t make selections, Damon Oppenheimer does. But since he assumed control of the draft after the 2005 season, Cashman’s philosophy has been to select high-ceiling players regardless of the risk factors. The edge the Yankees have is their ability to make a financial mistake.
2006: Ian Kennedy (not a stellar junior year) and Joba Chamberlain (injuries) were the first two picks. Collin Curtis, who overcame cancer, was the fourth round pick. Mark Melancon had elbow issues. Dellin Betances had signability issues.
2007: Brackman had several red flags. His elbow, his agent, his desire to play basketball, etc. Brad Suttle was a draft-eligible sophomore who was a tough sign. The same was true of Carmen Angelini, who had to be paid off not to attend Rice. Chase Weems was a sixth-round pick who wanted second round money. Damon Sublett had injury issues.
So what happens tomorrow? Just a hunch but the Yankees could take Fresno State RHP Tanner Scheppers if he falls to them. He was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his shoulder and doesn’t have eye-popping college stats. But he has a 99-mph fastball and is still learning how to pitch.
Gerrit Cole is a high school right-hander who is repped by Boras. He reportedly annoys a lot of people with his attitude, to the point where some teams have dismissed him. But he is projectable and throws 96.
Casey Kelly of Sarasota, Fla., is the son of former Yankee Pat Kelly has signed to play football and baseball at Tennessee. He’s a pitcher and shortstop but is said to want to play shortstop. His bonus demands will scare some teams off.
Arizona State 3B Brett Wallace is a big guy (260) who doesn’t run well but really can hit. Maybe the Yankees see him as a first baseman. Wake Forest 1B Allan Dykstra is that kind of player as well, a 1B/DH type who rakes. He’s 6-5, 240.
One guy I like who I had a chance to see play is NYC native Anthony Hewitt, who attends a prep school in Connecticut. He’s a great athlete who has signed with Vanderbilt and will cost a lot. He could be another Angelini sort of player. He’s very raw but could be great.