In George We Trust
A(nother) blog about the most storied franchise in sports
Monday, April 10, 2006
Looking ahead to the draft, update
Alot has changed since the last time I looked at the upcoming draft about a month ago, so here's an update on the guys I mentioned then (all stats as of April 9th, sorry for the sparse high school stats - they are damn hard to find):

Mike Ambort, C, Lamar College


Skinny: A talented all-around catcher with plus power to go with above-average defense. His season is over thanks to a lingering elbow injury from the Cape Cod League.
Draft Status: He may return to Lamar for his senior year because of the injury, but he could go anywhere from the 5th round to the 20th regardless.

Dellin Betances, RHP, Grand Street High (Brooklyn)


Skinny: Calm, cool, respectful kid with stuff and upside as big as he is (6'9", 210). He gets brownie points for growing up a Yankee fan (when the dynasty started in 1996, Betances was only 8 - tell me that doesn't make you feel old).
Draft Status: He's a top 5 pick at this point. If the Rockies take UNC groundball machine Daniel Bard at number 2, the Devil Rays would be wise to nab Betances at number 3.

Joba Chamberlain, RHP, Nebraska


Skinny: Bulldog on the mound with no fear and overpowering stuff. Fans of any team will love this guy.
Draft Status: His dominating year vaulted him from probable 2nd rounder to mid-first rounder. He missed 2 weeks with a minor triceps injury, but it shouldn't drop him out of the first round.

Ian Kennedy, RHP, USC


Skinny: Small frame concerns scouts, but he does nothing but win and get K's, the blueprint for a successful pitcher.
Draft Status: He's struggled a bit of late, but that shouldn't prevent him from going in the first round. Committing to Scott Boras may though.

Brendan Morrow, RHP, Cal


Skinny: Big league arm with big league control problems, but his upside is greater than either Chamberlain's or Kennedy's.
Draft Status: He's the closest thing to Joel Zumaya this draft has to offer, and word on the street is he Cubbies will take him at number 13 in an effort to rebuild a fragile rotation.

Chad Tracy, C, Pepperdine


Skinny: He falls out of bed hitting line drives, and his defense ain't so bad either.
Draft Status: He's had somewhat of a down year, but it's still possible he'll go in the second round, but more than likely he'll still be available when the Yanks pick in the third round (103rd overall).

Here's a couple of other guys worth keeping an eye on:

Jon Jay, OF, Miami


Skinny: Jay possesses the 2 tools that are historically synonymous with great Yankee hitters: military style plate discipline and superior situational hitting skills. He doesn't offer much power, but his RBI totals are very good. He's manning CF for the 'Canes, but is likely destined for left as his range is more Ruben Sierra than Ruben Rivera, and his arm is more Ruben Rivera than Juan Rivera.
Draft Status: He'd be a coup in the third or fourth round, and a steal any point thereafter. Billy Beane surely has feelers out.

Brian Jeroloman, C, Florida


Skinny: Scouts are saying he's the best defensive catcher in college baseball since Josh Paul was at Vanderbilt 10 years ago. He's got a very good eye at the plate and has done a nice job picking up the slack as 2005 HR king Matt LaPorta (who Jeroloman forced out from behind the plate) has been out with an injury. His makeup is through the roof and he'll move quickly, which is what the Yankees need.
Draft Status: He's primed for the second round after ranking as BA's 21st best college prospect this preseason. It would be a reach for the Yankees to take him at #40, but he won't be around when they pick again at #103. Quite the quandary.

Kasey Kiker, LHP, Russell County High (Phenix City, Alabama)


Skinny: Small lefty (5'11, 170) with a big fastball. He sits comfortably at 92-94 and can dial it up to 97 when needed, ridiculous for a southpaw. His changeup and curve show promise, but his biggest problem is that he falls in love with his offspeed stuff and doesn't use his dominating fastball enough.
Draft Status: Surefire first rounder that was rated as the 12th best high school player available in the draft before the season by BA. He should go somewhere between the 15th and 25th pick, right were the Yankees are, although a commitment to Southern Alabama may scare some teams off.

Jeffrey Maier, 3B, Wesleyan University (Connecticut)


Skinny: Yes that Jeffrey Maier. He happens to be Wesleyan's all-time hits leader and has molded his game after who else? Derek Jeter.
Draft Status: Late rounds, as in 30-35th round late. The Yanks should take him just as a thank you.

Luke Hochevar is still in limbo and he hasn't even caught on with an Indy League yet. The Dodgers officially broke off negotiations so he's headed back into the draft, but who knows where he'll go especially now that he has 9+ months worth of rust on his arm. I wouldn't bite until the 10th round at the absolute earliest.

I've been keeping track of potential draft prospects for the Yanks for about 5 or 6 years now, and in that time they've selected exactly 1 player I was hoping for - JB Cox last year - so either it's the start of a trend (nope) or just dumb luck (yep). Heck, in 2003 I was hoping for Jeff Allison, David Aardsma or Mitch Maier in the first round and certainly not Eric Duncan ("At least now I know they're trying to build a weak system, it's not all by accident" I believe were my exact words were when I found out they took Duncan), and look how that turned out. Here's's Early Draft Projections from way back in early February.
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