Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Welcome To The Machine, Cito Culver

With the last pick in the first round this year, just like they said they would, the Yankees went with a high school position player. However, it wasn't any of the multitude of prospects that they had been connected to via mock drafts and countless other forms of internet speculation.

Cito Culver is a switch-hitting high school shortstop out of Irondequoit, New York, which is close to Rochester. On the broadcast last night, they said that he was ranked 168th in Baseball America's Top 200 (which I can't verify since I don't have a subscription) and most of the mock drafts had him being drafted somewhere between the fourth and six round. For a frame of reference, FanGraphs was dropping in descriptions of players to this post after the picks were made, and they had nothing prepared for Culver.

Little CC had committed to play for the University of Maryland but after getting drafted in the first round by the Yankees, you can pretty much throw that out the window. If the Yankees make that kind of reach in the first round, they are going to sign him.

Naturally, Mike from River Ave. Blues has a more complete profile of Culver, but the gist of it is that he's an excellent athlete with a great throwing arm but not a great baseball player just yet. Essentially, he's got the tools that you can't teach and the Yankees are hoping that they can mold him into a solid all-around player. There are also concerns about a troubled family life (his father is in prison), but we learned our lesson with Slade Heathcott last year, and are not going to touch that at all.

Clearly, the Yankees know way more than we do about this kid. All I've seen are second and third hand scouting reports and a very short video clip of him swinging away in batting practice and declining to offer at two pitches in a live game. But from a purely logical perspective, I really hope that the Yankees were sure that he'd get snatched up before they got a chance to pick again at #82, otherwise this doesn't make much sense.

There were two other shortstops taken just behind Culver in the supplemental round - Taylor Lindsey and Matthew Lipka - but the former might have been a bit of a reach as well.

As fans we didn't get the tantalizing talent that we were hoping for and on a certain level that's disappointing. No high end arm that scouts were projecting towards the front of the rotation and no high school slugger with preposterous power potential. Instead the Yanks did what many small market teams do, which was take a player from their own state who was clearly higher on their list than anyone else's.

Regardless, Culver is a shortstop and that means he's going to have some big shoes to fill if and when he makes it to the big leagues.

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