In 2014, the Yankees are on track to receiving the 18th overall pick in the up coming MLB June Amateur Draft. Yet, with all the talk of the big spending spree the team is planning on this off-season, it’s very likely that the 18th overall pick will belong to another team by June.
Would signing Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo, or any combination of the three be worth giving up the 18th overall pick? The most efficient way of losing that pick would probably be signing multiple free agents. Right there the Yankees should get more value out of two of those players than a guy who may never make the major leagues. The risk of keeping the draft pick is obviously larger than just signing proven talent for more reasons than one. The team would essentially sacrifice a chance at the post-season for 2014 by not improving the roster this year. McCann would fill the black hole at catcher and Beltran or Choo would fit nicely in right field. Right there the offense should dramatically improve. That’s not even considering Mark Teixeira returning or Curtis Granderson accepting his qualifying offer.
Anyway, here are the past 18th overall picks and I must say it’s not the most impressive group of players. The best player of the past two decades is R.A. Dickey and it took him quite a while to develop. Sonny Gray seems to be a legit stud for the Athletics, but it may be too early to tell what the 23 year old is capable of. There was also highly hyped Kyle Drabek, who was a major piece in the Roy Halladay deal between the Phillies and Blue Jays. He hasn’t been what he was supposed to be, but there’s still a slight chance for him to turn it around. Ike Davis has become a terrible hitter for the Mets, yet he has the highest WAR on the list since 1996 at 5.5.
According to Baseball Reference, 55% of the players drafted made it to the MLB. Also, they accumulated a 131.4 WAR and 4.9 per player. That’s not too extraordinary in the first place, but then you see Willie Wilson‘s 45.9, which drastically inflates the average WAR per player.
This all means very little in terms of predicting the future. It’s more of a reflection than anything else. I wouldn’t abandon the 18th overall pick because of its bad history. Afterall, Michael Wacha was the 19th overall pick in 2012. If the Dodgers drafted him one pick earlier, he may be pitching for them in the World Series. Of course teams will develop their players differently. St. Louis seems to do that better than anyone right now. I’m not sure what the Yankees will do this off-season, but it seems likely they won’t have this pick.