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12/01/09 10:00 AM EST

Yanks will await results of 2009 Draft

Club gives high school players time to develop in Minors

The 2009 Draft represented something much closer to what some people believed a team like the Yankees should do than some past efforts out of the Bronx.

NL East

AL East

NL Central

AL Central

NL West

AL West

That's not to say the Yankees haven't found any talented players via the Draft in recent years (yes, that's you, Joba Chamberlain), but with all of the resources the organization has poured into the big-league club with free-agent signings and trades for marquee players, there hadn't been the same kind of commitment, it seemed, to the Draft.

Last year was a change in the right direction. The Yankees spent a lot more money in the Draft than they did the previous year and they went above-slot in several instances to bring prospects into the fold. The Yankees are a team that can afford to take high-ceiling high school players and wait for them to develop, but that hasn't been something they've done regularly. Yet they did just that with their first two picks. Signing nearly all of their early picks brought some depth to the system as well.

The organization did have to play some musical chairs with Draft picks. The Yankees forfeited one first-round pick to the Angels for the signing of Mark Teixeira, but they gained one for not signing 2008 first-round pick Gerrit Cole. The same thing happened in the second round, losing a pick for signing CC Sabathia, and gaining one for not signing 2008 draftee Scott Bittle. They also did not have a third-round pick due to the free-agent signing of A.J. Burnett.

Top five picks

1. Slade Heathcott, OF: Heathcott signed very close to the deadline, so he got just three games of pro action under his belt (He went 1-for-10 in the Gulf Coast League). He has all five tools with about as much upside as anyone the Yankees have drafted in recent years.

2. J.R. Murphy, C: The high school backstop out of Florida got into just nine Gulf Coast League games, but he made a good first impression by going 11-for-33 (.333) with a homer and seven RBIs. He's got good bat speed and the Yankees think he'll be able to stay as a catcher long-term.

4. Adam Warren, RHP: The North Carolina product was a NY-Penn League All-Star, posting a 1.43 ERA over 12 starts for Staten Island. In 56 2/3 innings, the right-hander allowed 49 hits and 10 walks while striking out 50 batters. He also pitched well in two postseason starts as Staten Island won their fifth New York-Penn League title.

5. Caleb Cotham, RHP: A draft-eligible sophomore out of Vanderbilt, Cotham had knee surgery right after the Draft, but made it back to at least get a few pro innings under his belt. He threw eight in total, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out 13 batters.

6. Rob Lyerly, 3B: The third baseman out of UNC-Charlotte played in 20 games for Staten Island, hitting .268/.307/.380 in 71 at-bats.

Best of the rest

Staten Island's championship team was full of them. There was ninth-rounder Gavin Brooks, who had a 0.62 ERA and three saves in 30 relief outings. The UCLA product had 48 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings while holding hitters to a .180 batting average. Outfielder Neil Medchill (11th round) joined Warren on the NY-Penn League All-Star team and hit .278/.350/.551 in 62 games. The outfielder out of Oklahoma State hit 14 homers and drove in 41 runs for Staten Island. He topped the league in homers and slugging percentage. Outfielder Deangelo Mack (13) was also an All-Star for Staten Island, finishing with a .306/.372/.513 line. He also hit .304 in the postseason. ... On a non-Staten Island note, Bryan Mitchell, a 16th-round pick, was lured away from a North Carolina commitment with an above-slot bonus and has a lot of potential.

Fast risers

Warren is the type of advanced arm that could move fairly quickly. Medchill, a left-handed power bat, also might have the chance to advance up the ladder fairly speedily.


The Yankees used their resources to come to terms with many of their early picks in 2009. They signed 14 of their first 15 picks, with only 10th rounder Tyler Lyons not signing on the dotted line. The lefty instead went back to Oklahoma State for his senior season. The Yankees made an interesting selection when they took California high school righty Chad Thompson in the 17th round. He had Tommy John surgery in May and despite early reports that he joined the Yankees, he didn't sign. Overall, New York signed 27 of their 49 picks.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.