Yankees 2002 Draft Overview
By Josh Boyd
Scouting Director: Lin Garrett (first year: 1996.)
2000 Draft (First three rounds, picking 28th)
2001 Draft (First three rounds, picking 19th)
Last year they held four first-rounders and six of the first 62 picks, but after signing 2000 draft-and-follow Sean Henn for a record $1.7 million bonus, they took a budget-conscious approach by selecting five college seniors in the first six rounds. They still managed to get potential steals with John-Ford Griffin, Bronson Sardinha, Jason Arnold and fourth-rounder Aaron Rifkin.
Only the Twins' Mike Radcliff has been in his current scouting director's post longer than Garrett, who landed gems--Eric Milton (first round), Nick Johnson (third), Zach Day (fifth) and 30th-round draft-and-follow Marcus Thames--in his first draft.
But it is through the draft-and-follow process that the Yankees have excelled. In addition to Thames, Brandon Claussen (1998) and Henn have impact potential. This year's draft-and-follow to watch is lefthander Nic Touchstone, a 16th-rounder out of Okaloosa-Walton (Fla.) Junior College last year who has improved his draft stock.
The Yankees have let a number of top high school prospects get away, though. In the 1997 draft, for instance, first-rounder Tyrell Godwin, 10th-rounder David Parrish (whom they drafted again in the first round in 2000 out of Michigan), 13th-rounder Brian Tallet and 22nd-rounder Beau Hale all slipped away and improved their draft status in college.
The Yankees went for the jackpot and drafted Mark Prior with the 43rd overall pick out of high school, and Drew Henson in the third round. Prior went to Vanderbilt before transferring to Southern California, while Henson signed a lucrative deal but spent three years bouncing back and forth between playing quarterback for Michigan and the minor leagues.
The Yankees might take a page from the 1998 draft this year because they have only one pick in the first three rounds. They lost their own picks in those rounds but got the Cardinals' second-rounder for losing Tino Martinez. Picking first at No. 71 and not again until No. 126, the Yankees will likely target players who slide due to signability.
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