Yankees Draft Report Card

Looking at New York's 2008 draft




QUICK TAKE
It's hard for any club to overcome failing to sign two of its first three picks, especially when one is the draft's hardest thrower in Gerritt Cole. While New York went above slot to sign the likes of Higashioka, Lassiter, Marshall, Mitchell and Turley, the class still has two holes at the top.
POSITION PLAYERS

Best Pure Hitter: 2B Corban Joseph (4) is a batting-cage rat with a pure natural stroke. He also has shown pitch recognition and plate discipline.  >>  Best Power Hitter: Power wasn't an emphasis in this draft class, but C Kyle Higashioka (7) and SS Garrison Lassiter (27) both have solid-average pop.  >>  Fastest Runner: OF Ray Kruml (11) reminds the Yankees a bit of current farmhand Brett Gardner with his gap-to-gap approach and well-above-average speed.  >>  Best Defensive Player: Higashioka features smooth, quiet receiving skills and a slightly above- Justify Centeraverage arm that plays up due to his accuracy.

PITCHERS

Best Fastball: Unsigned RHP Gerrit Cole (1) reached 100 mph this spring. RHP Brett Marshall (6) rivaled Cole, reaching 96-97 mph at times and pitching at 94 in instructional league.  >>  Best Secondary Pitch: LHP Jeremy Bleich (1s) brings two plus offspeed pitches: his curveball and changeup.

ODDS AND ENDS

Best Pro Debut: SS Addison Maruszak (17) hit .317/.372/.503 with six homers at short-season Staten Island and showed solid-average tools across the board except for his below-average speed. Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte (20) converted all 23 save chances for Staten Island, striking out 42 in 33 innings while limiting batters to a .117 average.  >>  Best Athlete: At 6-foot-4, 203 pounds, OF Mike Jones (29) has a pro body for both baseball and football; he had 10 touchdown catches for Arizona State last fall and was the team's leading receiver this season. He had just 93 at-bats in three seasons for the Sun Devils' baseball team.  >>  Most Intriguing Background: Venditte is trying to become the first fully ambidextrous pitcher in baseball history. He throws a lot of sliders from the left side, where his fastball sits in the 76-78 mph range. He's got better stuff from the right side, but switch-pitching makes him who he is, so he's unlikely to focus on one side.  >>  Closest To The Majors: Bleich and athletic RHP D.J. Mitchell (10), who has a good sinker/slider mix when he's on, could follow the Ian Kennedy gameplan and spend little time in the minors on the way to New York.  >>  Best Late-Round Pick: Lassiter got $675,000 thanks to his offensive potential from the left side and middle-of-the-diamond athleticism. LHP Nik Turley (50) was signed away from Brigham Young due to a projectable 6-foot-4 frame and has shown a solid-average fastball and the ability to spin a breaking ball.  >>  The One Who Got Away: The Yankees knew Cole, advised by Scott Boras Corp., would have a high price tag, but they expected to sign him. The more the summer progressed, though, the more Cole sold himself on college, and he decided to attend UCLA. The Yankees also failed to land their third pick, RHP Scott Bittle (2), who returns to Ole Miss after a shoulder problem deterred New York from signing him.