Yankees Draft: Revisiting the Wild NYY Haul From 2006


The New York Yankees’ draft haul in 2006 featured a wealth of talent.

For a while, being a Yankees draft pick meant being an afterthought. Cruel, accurate, and hard to parse, when you saw all the excellent work the Red Sox were doing in maintaining a World Series-contending roster and a top-notch farm system (just want to thank Dave Dombrowski here for forgetting that was possible!).

But in 2006, just one year after the CJ Henry first-round disaster (OK, actually, he netted Bobby Abreu, so let’s call it a wash?), New York had a clear ethos with their selections, and made them truly count.

Collegiate pitching was the name of the game, and the Yankees stuck to their mandate, starting off an exemplary draft with Ian Kennedy, 21st overall out of USC, a fast-mover if there ever was one (until he was surprisingly lapped by their supplemental first-rounder…we digress).

Kennedy’s 2007 season, his first in the team’s minors, was absolutely ridiculous — he showed off all the polish he was advertised to possess, going 12-3 with a 1.91 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 163 strikeouts, making his Yankee Stadium debut on Sept. 1 of that year with a shutout of the Devil Rays.

Unfortunately, it was not to last…in New York. Tasked with bringing the rotation back in 2008, he had an unsightly 8.17 ERA in nine starts (wasn’t he the safe one?!), battled injury in 2009, and, along with Austin Jackson, became the centerpiece of the Curtis Granderson trade that winter, arriving in Arizona on a mission and nearly winning a Cy Young in 2011 as a slightly more grizzled man.

In case you’re wondering about alternatives to No. 21, there weren’t…many superior options left in the first round. Colten Willems went to the Nationals at 22 (alright!), and the only worthwhile picks were relievers in sad tale Daniel Bard (Red Sox) and…Adam Ottavino at No. 30 to St. Louis, who got here eventually.

The Yankees draft featured true characters across the board in 2006.

The man who was next off the New York Yankees draft board made the majors first, and piledrived his way into the team’s plans right away. Meet Joba Chamberlain, No. 41 overall.

Joba deserves his own novel, but for the sake of this piece, we’ll assume you know all about him, Harlan, the fist pump, the Midges Who Must Not Be Named, and the sequel to The Jordan Rules, which weirdly also featured leaks from Horace Grant. He was far and away the best pick of the compensation round, unless you wanted to keep Don Mattingly happy by drafting his son Preston — Trevor Cahill, Justin Masterson, and Jon Jay all went in the second round.

Did the pitching edict end there? Two big league arms, very impressive! Turns out, they were far from done.

Over the course of the next 16 rounds, the Yankees’ draft haul included All-Star relievers Dellin Betances (eighth), Mark Melancon (ninth), and David Robertson (17th), as well as viable big leaguer George Kontos in the fifth. Astounding density of stars in strange places.

The 2006 draft wasn’t a terribly strong one, though it featured first-round stars like Evan Longoria, Clayton Kershaw, Andrew Miller and Tim Lincecum. Even if we didn’t have to account for a weak draft position in our rankings, the Yankees outright crushed the competition, amassing the best possible haul of arm talent.

Next. 2020 Yankees Draft Tracker. dark

Here’s hoping they do similarly well with less surface area to work with this time around.