Six players from the Yankees 2006 draft class have already played in New York. Four others have been included in trades for Major League talent, another was taken in the Rule 5 draft, and another is currently one of the top prospects in the system. It’s been a fruitful draft for the Yankees, with Joba Chamberlain and Dave Robertson having already established themselves as mainstays on the roster.
By comparison, the group taken just one year later has been very quiet.
No one from the Yankees 2007 draft class has played in the big leagues, but that might be about to change. Six members of the ’07 class are in big league camp with the Yankees, and three — Andrew Brackman, Austin Romine and Brandon Laird — have put themselves among the top prospects in the organization.
“Some days (making it to the big leagues) feels a lot closer than other days,” Romine said. “You get tastes here and there of what it could be, and it makes you play even harder. Then there are other days when it seems it’s way out of reach.”
Half of the Yankees top ten picks in 2007 have been slowed by injuries, and the fifth and sixth rounders — Adam Olbrychowski and Chase Weems — have been traded away.
Brackman, though, took a huge step forward last season, and he’s begun to look like a legitimate first-round choice again. Romine has shown considerable talent as second rounder, third-round pick Ryan Pope put himself on the map with a move to the bullpen, and fourth-round pick Bradley Suttle is finally healthy and able to hit again. Laird is one of the more pleasant surprises in the entire system as a 27th-round pick who’s played his way to the verge of the big leagues.
“We came up playing together, so we all want each other to succeed,” Pope said. “For the most part there’s been a large core of us, (mostly) college guys, that have stuck together coming up. I think it’s important to keep a class like that together because, once you get to the big leagues, hopefully you guys have already been together three or four years and know how to play together. I think it works its way through, kind of like Mo and Pettitte and Jeter and them, kind of a core group of people.”
Of course, every draft class — fair or not — seems to be defined by its first rounder. For the 2007 class, that means Brackman.
“I didn’t talk to him a whole lot until he got to Double-A,” Pope said. “But if you’re talking about a first pick that’s going to define (class), he’s a pretty good one to follow because of his work ethic, his determination to succeed. He’s definitely a guy who’s going to set a standard for the class.”
Associated Press photo of Romine, headshots of Brackman and Pope