Coming into the 2014 draft, a big theme was pitching. There was a lot of pitchers out there to be had. From guys like Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek all the way down to the New York Yankees pick at #55 of Jacob Lindgren, young arms were supposed to rule the day and they have in the draft. The Yankees certainly believed in that going with pitchers for their first five picks. Why did they do that and what does it mean moving forward?
Well, the reasoning is two-fold. One, the Yankees, like all the teams, have a draft board that they follow and they thought that guys like Lindrgren, Montgomery and Holder were the best guys. Pitching is key in the post-steroid era and developing your own is important, even if they become bullpen guys, because the best way to build a bullpen is young and cheap.
Secondly, it’s the attrition rate. For all the Chase Whitleys who are low-round picks, there are the Brien Taylors who flame out. For every Gerrit Cole, there’s a Wade Townsend. You just never know. There are also guys who don’t sign and go to college like Cole did (how would he look in pinstripes right now huh?)
What does it mean moving forward? Well, the international free agency signing period opens up next month and by all accounts, the Yankees are going to spend at a record rate on international prospects because next year’s crop isn’t as good. Also, the main guys that they have been rumored to be looking at are all bats. That means they had to add pitching somewhere and the place to do it is the draft.
Remember, with the MLB draft, it takes time for these kids to develop. Have patience with the prospects they develop and see what happens.