Yanks looking for haul with trio of early picks
Loss of free-agents Soriano and Swisher gives New York three first-rounders
NEW YORK -- The Yankees' plotting for the Draft began almost immediately last June, as director of amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer looked down the line and realized that this upcoming first round might be more active than in years past for the club.
Thanks to compensation for departing free agents, the Yankees will make three selections in the first round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. They have the 26th overall pick, and because Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano left the club over the winter, they will also have choices to make at picks Nos. 32 and 33.
"It's an opportunity to put in some quality talent, that's for sure," Oppenheimer said. "There's a long road to get to the big leagues, but obviously we're really excited about the chance to pick in this vicinity of players that we're talking about down here. We all like them quite a bit, so we feel like we're going to get some good players."
The 2013 First-Year Player Draft will take place Thursday through Saturday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 73 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. Rounds 3-10 will be streamed live on MLB.com on Friday, beginning with a preview show at 12:30 p.m., and Rounds 11-40 will be streamed live on MLB.com on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. Fans can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter, and get into the Draft conversation by tagging tweets with #mlbdraft.
Oppenheimer said that the Yankees' focus is to select three players with as much high-end talent as possible, and while the club believes they have some solid catching prospects and outfield talent already working its way up the chain, the Yankees -- as always -- will make their selections based upon evaluations and not necessarily for need.
"We're looking for everything," Oppenheimer said. "Really, honestly, we're looking to take the three best guys that we can get. It doesn't matter if it's high school, college, position player or pitcher.
"You just don't know who's going to get there. Even though we've got three picks, it's 26, 32 and 33. There's just so many things that can happen above us that doesn't really give us a chance to know what will get down to where we're at."
Here's a glance at what the Yankees have in store as the Draft approaches:
In about 50 words
There is a chance this could be a historic Draft, as opportunities with three first-round picks are rare. The last time the Yanks had this many, they took Jon-Ford Griffin, Bronson Sardinha and Jon Skaggs in 2001. Oppenheimer and his staff are looking for a far better bounty this time.
Oppenheimer said that he believes the distribution of talent in this year's Draft is pretty even between high school and college players; it may tilt slightly toward the college level, but he said it is fairly close. Later in the Draft, the Yanks believe they will be able to find more pitching. They're wary of a dearth of high-end position players after the first few rounds.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo's most recent mock draft speculates that the Yankees could take Stanford outfielder Austin Wilson with their first selection, as the 26th overall pick. Mayo offers that the Yankees might be interested in polished left-hander Rob Kaminsky from St. Joseph's Regional (N.J.) High School at No. 32, and catcher Jon Denney from Yukon (Okla.) High School at No. 33. Mayo has also connected the Yankees to Tim Anderson, a toolsy shortstop from East Central Community College in Decatur, Miss.
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.
Any team going up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75-percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75-percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100-percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100-percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.
The Yankees will have $7,957,400 in Draft pool money, which ranks as eighth most in baseball, to sign their 12 picks in the top ten rounds.
"It's nice. It just gives us the opportunity to hopefully take the people that are the best available and will sign," Oppenheimer said. "It does give us some flexibility and opportunity."
Even though the Yankees are already excited about the young catching and outfield prospects coming up through the system, that's no reason to shy away from adding to those stockpiles. They can always use pitching, particularly power starters, and middle infield help.
"We're not going to pass on anybody basically because we think we've got too much," Oppenheimer said.
The Yankees' top selections in the past five Drafts have tilted strongly toward high school players, as they have selected six college players out of a possible 16 picks in the first, second and third rounds since 2008. The Yanks' past four first-round picks have all been high school players, but they've selected at least one college player in the first three rounds each year.
• Recent Draft History •
Tyler Austin, a 13th-round selection of the Yankees in 2010, has moved through New York's chain in part thanks to a potent bat that has the club dreaming about installing him in right field. Currently with Double-A Trenton, Austin made a smooth transition from the corner infield spots to the outfield, and he profiles as a future big league regular.
David Robertson was selected in the 17th round of the 2006 Draft from the University of Alabama and found himself pitching at Yankee Stadium two years later, sticking in the big leagues for good beginning in '09. Now an electric setup man with swing-and-miss stuff, there has been speculation that Robertson may be Mariano Rivera's successor as the Yanks' closer next year.
In The Show
The Draft pipeline has been responsible for delivering some very recognizable names to the Bronx. New York's roster includes David Adams ('08), Joba Chamberlain ('06), Brett Gardner ('05), Phil Hughes ('04), Derek Jeter (1992), David Phelps (2008), Robertson ('06), Austin Romine ('07) and Adam Warren ('09) as products of the Bombers' Minor League chain.
The Yankees' recent top picks
2012: Ty Hensley, RHP, injured
2011: Dante Bichette Jr., 3B, Class A Charleston
2010: Cito Culver, SS, Class A Charleston
2009: Slade Heathcott, OF, Double-A Trenton
2008: Gerrit Cole, RHP, did not sign, now with Triple-A Indianapolis (Pirates)