The Yankees made a huge splash in the 2013 MLB Draft. Two of their “Big Three” first round picks, 3B Eric Jagielo (26th overall) and OF Aaron Judge (32nd overall), are already having solid first full seasons. They also found some other prospects who are ready to make their mark in the likes of P Ian Clarkin (33rd overall), 2B Gosuke Katoh (2nd round), and OF Michael O’Neill (3rd round). They even dug deep to find the current South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week, Caleb Smith, in the 14th round.
2014 will be quite different. The Yankees with their huge free spending off-season will come into draft day with no first round picks.They don’t even get a chance to draft until the 56th overall pick halfway through the second round. It has been no secret that this year the Yankees are planning on opening the bank on international prospects.
Cuban defector Daniel Carbonell is one such target the Yankees have their eyes set upon. The 6’3”, 23-year-old Cuban has established residency in Mexico and is now eligible to be an international free agent. 15 MLB teams attended a private workout Carbonell held in Mexico last month. The two teams thought to be going full speed after Carbonell are the Yankees and their AL East rival Toronto Blue Jays. Here’s some footage of Carbonell taking part in a home run derby with a few of his teammates:
Carbonell has never hit more than three home runs in a season, however, you must remember how short the seasons are in Cuba. Batters rarely see 200 at-bats in a year, so to project power in that small a sample size is unfair. What he has shown is the ability to make contact and get on base at a consistent rate. He has shown that he has a cannon of an arm and can play the field extremely well. He has also shown blazing speed, which some feel give him a leg up on Puig. All of this points to one thing: the Yankees have a shot at a rare five-tool superstar.
The Cuban defector rules are changing in major league baseball. Instead of the minimum three years experience and 23 year age limit that Carbonell adheres to now, the rule will change in 2015 to a required five years worth of experience. The signing bonuses that teams can slide under the table to save cap space will now be added to their international salary cap. MLB is pushing towards an International Draft to even the playing field.
That means that the Yankees should act and act quickly on signing Daniel Carbonell. Yes, the current outfield situation in New York is over crowded, but everyone knows the Yankees are an aging team. If Carbonell pans out and the Yankees snag a unique 5-tool prospect, the future only gets brighter in the Bronx. Carlos Beltran could easily slide into a full-time designated hitter’s role, and Carbonell could team with Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury to produce the best defensive outfield in the big leagues.