2011 Draft Report Card: New York Yankees


The Yankees went young—RHP Adam Smith (25) got the largest bonus for a college player at $157,500—so this class will need time to develop before it can be fully evaluated.
Bonus Spending: $6.3 million
BEST PURE HITTER:  3B Dante Bichette Jr. (1s), the club's top pick, got off to a slow start, but his natural timing and bat-to-ball skills took over, and he was the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League MVP, hitting .342/.446/.505. BEST POWER HITTER:  A point of emphasis in this class, the Yankees got pop from both sides of the plate. Bichette has strength, and OF Jake Cave (6) has fast hands, but lefthanded-hitting C Greg Bird (4) got the club's largest signing bonus for his power. He fits the mold of recent bat-first Yankees catchers from Jesus Montero to J.R. Murphy to Gary Sanchez. FASTEST RUNNER:  Cave, an above-average runner, is the best of a pedestrain lot of runners. BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER:  Cave hit 94 mph off the mound and fits the right-field profile. The Yankees believe Bichette not only will stay in the infield but will be an asset defensively at third with solid hands, a plus arm and the agility to defend bunts.


BEST FASTBALL:  RHPs Phil Wetherell (8) and Zach Arneson (9) both project as relievers, with fastballs that sit in the 92-95 mph range. Physical RHP Rookie Davis (14) has touched 94. BEST SECONDARY PITCH:  RHP Mark Montgomery (11) posted a 0.89 ERA at Longwood and showed why as a pro, using a slider that grades as major league plus already. LHP Daniel Camarena (20) shows promising spin and shape on a curveball.


BEST PRO DEBUT: Bichette. Montgomery struck out 51 in 28 innings, picking up 15 saves and posting a 1.91 ERA while spending most of his time at low Class A Charleston. RHP Branden Pinder (16) posted a 1.16 ERA and 14 saves for New York-Penn League champion Staten Island with 38 strikeouts in 31 innings. BEST ATHLETE: Cave, who was a two-way recruit to Louisiana State. MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: Bichette's father Dante Sr. hit 274 home runs in 1,704 big league games and is now a nationally ranked senior tennis player. OF Justin James (13) is the son of former big league outfielder Dion, who played for the Yankees for four seasons. CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Pinder and Montgomery should hop on the relief fast track, but Bichette should progress quicker than the average prep bat. BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Camarena, who signed for $335,000, has the makings of a four-pitch mix as well as intelligence and aptitude. Davis' $550,000 bonus ranked second among Yankees pitchers in the class. THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: For the second time in four years, the Yankees lost a high pick due to medical concerns; LHP Sam Stafford (2) returned to Texas and hopes to have a better future than unsigned 2009 second-rounder Scott Bittle, who eventually made six pro appearances before the Cardinals released him in 2011. RHP Mathew Troupe (17) reminds the Yankees a bit of Ian Kennedy and wound up at Arizona.