clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Yankees Draft Preview 2016: Bad drafting from 2010-2012 still hurting the organization now

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last few seasons, the Yankees farm system has improved dramatically from the days where it was mostly a barren wasteland. They seem to always have several prospects in the top 100, an ample supply of useful relievers, and young talent to keep an eye on. It's too bad that it could have been much better if the team drafted better in 2010, 2011, and 2012 because they're still paying the price now.

The 2009 MLB Draft gave the Yankees Slade Heathcott, John Ryan Murphy, Adam Warren, and even Caleb Cotham (he helped get Aroldis Chapman), who all played some kind of major league role. Unfortunately, the next three years gave them extremely little in the end. These are the players we should be seeing by now, but so many of them didn't work out.

Misguided first-round picks

Without a doubt the two biggest missteps of this time period was the drafting of Cito Culver and Dante Bichette in the first round of 2010 and 2011, respectively. Chosen 32nd overall, Cito was ranked 168th by Baseball America in 2010. Whoever it was that suggested they sign him in the first round ended up being incredibly wrong. Remember, people were skeptical of the pick as soon as it happened, and the Yankees acted like they had the heir to Derek Jeter right there. Clearly something wasn't accurate because, at 23, he is currently in Double-A, and has yet to have an OPS over .700.

Bichette, meanwhile, was taken 51st overall as a supplemental pick for losing Javier Vazquez, but the third baseman only ranked 108th on Baseball America's list. It's well known that Bichette's father is a good friend of Joe Girardi (Joe named his son Dante), and it all seems to be a little too coincidental to say there wasn't some kind of nepotism at play here. There was a chance Bichette wouldn't be around by the second round, so they took him in the first round.

Of course, he was never a very well-regarded third baseman and he hasn't been a competent hitter since the half-season he played at the age of 18. His father actually walked away from his big league coaching career to go home and try to save his son's career, but it hasn't amounted to anything. As a corner infielder with no power, he doesn't really have much hope.

Bad luck injuries

On top of some bad first-round picks, the Yankees also had a lot of bad luck when it came to their prospects. No one represents that more, though, than Ty Hensley. The Yankees managed to sign the big right-hander in 2012, thanks to some kind of asymptomatic abnormality in his shoulder. In retrospect, that should have been a giant red flag, but the Yankees only saw how much money they would be saving by signing a top flight talent in the back end of the first round.

Was it bad luck? Was it a mistake? It's hard to say, but he hasn't been the most fortunate prospect. He ended up needing hip surgery, has required two Tommy John surgeries, and was even physically assaulted and sent to the hospital at one point. Now he's 22, hasn't pitched since 2014, and probably has another year of rehab to go, so it's hard to see the Yankees getting any value from him.

In 2011, second-rounder Sam Stafford never signed with the Yankees because he had an injured shoulder and required two surgeries before he could return to the mound. He attempted a brief comeback in 2013 and 2014 before giving up for good. Fourth rounder Matthew Duran also dealt with injury, missing most of 2013 and all of 2014 before being released this winter.

Just bad picks

Some of these picks in those years were just plain bad. 2010 second-rounder Angelo Gumbs was a well-regarded prospect until he hit a wall when he reached A-ball and could never fully recover. Despite being taken in the third round, Rob Segedin was never a very good prospect. He was moved around the field, but couldn't hit much, and then he missed most of the 2013 with hip surgery. By the time he came back, he was mostly overshadowed. 2011 third-rounder Jordan Cote couldn't hack it in Low-A ball and was released before the 2015 season.

Because they were never able to sign Sam Stafford the year before, the Yankees were awarded an extra second-round draft pick in 2012, which they used to draft center fielder Austin Aune. They decided to try him as a shortstop and it was an unmitigated disaster. He was moved back to the outfield, but has never managed to hit anywhere he's been, leaving his prospect status dead on arrival.

Still some promise

Despite all the bad, there were still a few useful players in the mix. Chase Whitley, Preston Claiborne, Danny Burawa, and Tommy Kahnle (Rule 5 pick) all reached the majors at some point. Rookie Davis helped them get Aroldis Chapman, and Peter O`Brien got them Martin Prado.

Those still in the organization that could end up playing a role with the Yankees include 2010 fourth-rounder Mason Williams, 2011 fifth-rounder Greg Bird, sixth-rounder Jake Cave, and 16th-rounder Branden Pinder, as well as 2012 fifth-rounder Rob Refsnyder, sixth-rounder Nick Goody, and 13th-round pick James Pazos. Unfortunately, Mason, Bird, and Pinder are all recovering from surgery in 2016. The Yankees found a little more success in the later rounds than at the top of the draft, but ones worth following at this point include 2012 18th-round pick Brady Lail and 19th-rounder Dietrich Enns.

The Yankees may be trying to move on from this era, but poor draft decisions in 2010, 2011, and 2012 have left a hole that should have been filled years ago. These years gave us several top prospects, but many others should already be contributing at the major league level. The Yankees have drafted much better over the last few years, so let's hope things go well again.