The draft is upon us
HIDE YOUR WIVES AND DAUGHTERS
We’re just a few hours away now. The Yankees pick 29th in the first round, the result of Gerrit Cole stiffing them last year. The thing to remember here is that you don’t get a third try — if the Yankees swing and miss here, they go hungry. Mock drafts are only worth so much, particularly when you’re talking about a team that’s picking 29th, but both Baseball America‘s Jim Callis and Baseball Prospectus‘ Kevin Goldstein have linked the Yankees to Texas high school outfielder Slade Heathcott (not Heath Sladecott, as my brain insists on remembering it).
Again, this is all guesswork because any of 28 prior decisions could dramatically alter who is available at the bottom of the round. Because he’s a local product, I’d like to see Millville High, New Jersey outfielder Mike Trout become available to the Yankees, but he’s been a rising commodity these past few weeks and it seems unlikely. “Local” is kind of stretching it — Millville is closer to Delaware than New York — but you don’t get too many high first-round picks out of the Garden State, though we can balance out such illustrious overdrafts as Willie Banks, Jeff Kunkel and Pat Pacillo with Mo Vaughn, Craig Biggio, and Willie Wilson. Also, I figure that fate owes the Yankees something on players named “Trout.”
The last time the Yankees bought a fish it didn’t go so well. It was 22 years ago, but the wounds have yet to heal — if you weren’t there, it was something like all three years of Carl Pavano packed into a season-destroying 14 games. Maybe they’d be better off with Sladecott, or Heathcliffe, or whatever his name is, so long as he represents a land-based species.
To “land-based” we should add “position-based.” Though teams draft (or should draft) the best available talent rather than for need, the Yankees’ system is still overbalanced on the pitching side. Given that the Yankees even taste some early picks because of the Cole debacle, it’s probably best just to say “good luck” and, paraphrasing Woody Guthrie, “Take it easy, but for gosh sakes, take something!”