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Yankees Draft Report Card

Best Pro Debut: RHP Matthew Brumit (44) caught the Yankees’ attention during a predraft workout at Triple-A Columbus. He led the short-season New-York Penn League with 33 appearances and 22 saves, posting a 2.21 ERA and a 40-8 strikeout-walk ratio in 37 innings. New York’s NY-P affiliate in Staten Island had a 2.57 team ERA, the lowest of any team above the complex level. Other contributors included two of the Yankees’ four signees from College World Series champion Texas: LHP Brad Halsey (8), who went 6-1, 1.93, and RHP Ray Clark (14), who went 3-0, 1.97. RHP Ryan Bicondoa, signed as a fifth-year senior before the draft, went 6-4, 1.90 with a 94-7 K-BB ratio in 85 NY-P innings.

Best Athlete: RHP Brandon Weeden (2) did it all for his Oklahoma high school. He was a football quarterback, basketball forward and a pitcher/shortstop. His frame (6-foot-4, 190 pounds), arm action and athleticism lead the Yankees to believe he’ll be a true power pitcher.

Best Pure Hitter: 1B Ross Michelsen (7) reminds the Yankees of Nick Johnson when they took him in the third round in 1996. Michelsen has the same approach and discipline, uses the whole field and promises to develop power.

Best Raw Power: OF Matt Carson (5) has a quick bat but was bothered by a bad knee he banged up during the Mountain West Conference tournament.

Fastest Runner: The Yankees didn’t draft much speed. OF Jon Sheaffer (19) is above-average but not a burner.

Best Defensive Player: Carson has the arm and range to be a standout in right field.

Best Fastball: RHP Brandon Harmsen (6) usually pitches at 90-93 mph. Weeden and RHP Alan Bomer (4), another Longhorn, top out at 93 also.

Best Breaking Ball: Weeden’s slider.

Most Intriguing Background: Unsigned OF Skyler Fulton (22) is a wide receiver for Arizona State’s football team. The Yankees drafted LHP/OF Ben King (20), their fourth Longhorn, though he didn’t pitch in 2001 because of a minor shoulder injury and missed all of 2002 after Tommy John surgery. King should be ready to take the mound by mid-2003.

Closest To The Majors: Halsey consistently hits his spots with his average fastball and tough splitter. Though radar guns usually catch him at 86-88 mph, Bicondoa could move quickly as well. His fastball has plenty of sink, his curveball is his out pitch, and he can throw his changeup in any count.

Best Late-Round Pick: Brumit has a plus fastball and solid slider, and he aggressively throws strikes.

The One Who Got Away: The Yankees signed everyone through 21 rounds. Fulton is the only draftee the Yankees tried and failed to sign.

Assessment: Though cost is no object as far as the big league roster is concerned, the Yankees have been surprisingly conservative in recent drafts. They gave up their first three picks in 2002 as free-agent compensation–and got a second-rounder (Weeden) for the loss of Tino Martinez–but didn’t take any risks on expensive players.

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