Draft Preview: Yankees sticking with plan

Draft Preview: Yankees sticking with plan

NEW YORK -- One of the themes the Yankees have stuck by in recent years has been their emphasis on replenishing the farm system, knowing that those players can be promoted to the big league level or used as trade chips for talent that can be of immediate assistance.

The 2010 First-Year Player Draft is, as general manager Brian Cashman has put it, another opportunity to correct the sins of the past -- those years when the Yankees disregarded how important the process is. The Yankees will have a little time to kill before they can execute their first choice.

"We pick 32nd, so we've got a little bit of a wait," Cashman said. "We've got to be patient until our time is called, and then Damon Oppenheimer will make our selection from the best available players on the board. It's as simple as that. He'll have the Draft board up and running, and as the names start coming off the board, it'll gravitate us closer to who will be our pick."

Draft Central

MLB.com will offer live coverage and analysis of the entire First-Year Player Draft from June 7-9 on MLB.com/Live. The first round and Compensation Round A will be broadcast live on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday, June 7, beginning with the Draft preview show at 6 p.m. ET.

MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo will join Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds, John Hart, Peter Gammons and Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis on Monday's broadcast.

Coverage for rounds 2-50 will shift exclusively to MLB.com/Live. Rounds 2-30 will be streamed on Tuesday, beginning at noon, and rounds 31-50 will be streamed on Wednesday, starting at noon. Host Pete McCarthy will be joined by Mayo and former general manager Jim Duquette.

Here's a glance at what the Yankees have in store as the Draft approaches:

In about 50 words
The Yankees are much more organized as a front office these days, but they don't select by projected needs five years down the line. They'll take the best player available, be it pitcher or position player. They can spend on the players that other teams shy away from.

The scoop
"I have an amateur scouting director I trust completely, and he has a tremendous staff behind him. He will make the selection with full authority and without reservation. I'm an observer. Damon keeps me abreast of everything, but I'm in a good situation here because I have an amateur scouting director that surveys the entire landscape." -- Cashman.

First-round buzz
It is difficult to predict where the Yankees will go, because their choice relies on who falls to them. Injury or signability concerns can play a part -- that was largely how they wound up taking Joba Chamberlain and, later, Andrew Brackman. Texas high school right-hander Tyrell Jenkins, a three-sport athlete who has committed to play football at Baylor, has come up in conversation. The Yankees have been reported to be high on West Virginia infielder Jedd Gyorko, and Virginia Tech outfielder Austin Wates is also a possibility.

Shopping list
The days when the Yankees thumped their chests about a rich system have faded. Some talent is helping at the big league level, while players like Austin Jackson, Arodys Vizcaino and Mike Dunn are among those who have been sent packing in trades. With the system having taken a hit, now is the time to import new talent. Oppenheimer has no problem going after pitchers with high ceilings and concerns -- that was how Chamberlain was selected, but also Gerrit Cole and Brackman.

Trend watch
The Yankees like going after pitching with upside, and generally seem to lean more toward college arms than prep talent, but the tilt is not especially strong. In searching for position players, they would prefer to find athletic, up-the-middle types who can swing the bat at a plus rating. The Yankees aren't afraid to go over slot with their pick.

YANKS RECENT TOP DRAFT PICKS
Year Player Current team
2009 Slade Heathcott Charleston (A)
2008 Gerrit Cole Did Not Sign
2007 Andrew Brackman Tampa (A+)
2006 Ian Kennedy Arizona
2005 C.J. Henry Retired

Recent Draft History

Rising fast
Catcher Austin Romine was the Yankees' second-round selection in 2007, and he has earned rave reviews in the system for his handling of pitchers and baseball acumen. Last year's Florida State League Hitter of the Year, Romine is doing his catching this year at Double-A Trenton and joins a group of talented young catchers the Yankees possess, including Francisco Cervelli and Jesus Montero.

Cinderella story
Kevin Russo was a 20th-round selection in 2006 from Baylor University and made it all the way to the big leagues, notching his first Major League hit on May 21 against the Mets in the Subway Series. Russo impressed manager Joe Girardi this spring with his hustle, and the Yankees love his multi-position versatility, recently opting to part with veteran Randy Winn instead of sending Russo to Triple-A.

In The Show

The Yankees' recent Drafts have produced several players who have helped this year at the big league level. Those include pitchers Chamberlain (2006), Phil Hughes (2004), Mark Melancon (2006), and Dave Robertson (2006); infielder Russo (2006); and outfielder Brett Gardner (2005).

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.