In the last few weeks, the Yankees have been working on getting the remainder of their 2010 draft class signed. With the deadline taking place at Midnight, August 17 (38 minutes ago at the time of my writing), all the signings (and non-signings) are official. Here (after the jump) are the most important signings in the 2010 class, as well as bonus info (if available) and an update on how they are doing (if they signed early).
Round 1 SS Cito Culver: Culver, a surprising selection by most accounts, signed quickly for slot money ($954,000), which allowed him to get in a full summer’s worth of play and development for the Gulf Coast League Yankees. His results have been mixed, with a .269/.329/.363 line with 2 homers and a 13:41 k:bb ratio. Still, the kid is just 17 and somewhat raw as a result of growing up in the northeast. All things considered, a very respectable debut for Culver, though he’ll have to do more to convince the doubters that he was the best selection at this spot. He could be pushed to Charleston if the Yankees think he is advancing rapidly, but short-season Staten Island may be the more likely outcome.
Round 2 SS/OF Angelo Gumbs: The super-athletic Gumbs signed a few days ago to an overslot $750,000 bonus, roughly equivalent to supplemental round money. Because of the late signing date, Gumbs may get at best a short debut in the Gulf Coast League this season, and will likely spend significant time in instructional league as the Yankees try to figure out which position he will play in the future. At either position, his speed, athleticism, and power potential could play very nicely. He could end up in the GCL or Staten Island next season, depending on his performance in instructs.
Round 3 3b Rob Segedin: Segedin, a draft-eligible sophomore out of Tulane, was predicted to be a tough sign after posting a .434/.518/.788 season for the Green Wave because of his ability to play two more seasons of college ball. However, Segedin signed for a relatively manageable $377,500 bonus, which was about $100,000 over the recommended value for his draft slot. Perhaps he was just ready to play pro ball, or maybe his Yankee fandom gave him greater incentive to sign, but either way, this looks like a nice potential value signing for the Yankees. Segedin will likely move to right field, which limits his defensive value, so he will have to rake to become a legitimate prospect.
Round 4 OF Mason Williams: Although many believed that Williams would eventually sign, this deal apparently went down to the wire. Williams was reportedly demanding as much as $2 million prior to the draft, but eventually signed for a $1.45 million bonus, the by far the largest handed out by the Yankees in this draft class, exceeding even that of their 1st-rounder Culver. Williams required the big bonus to turn down a scholarship to South Carolina, and the toolsy centerfielder will fit in nicely at the lower levels of the minors with Culver and Gumbs. All 3 guys have impressive tools, but if you go by bonus, Williams may have the highest ceiling, or perhaps the best present skills of the 3. Because of the late signing, he may get at best a token appearance in the GCL before heading to instructs. His performance there will determine his placement in 2011.
Round 9 RHP Taylor Morton: A 6’3″ high school righty and Tennessee recruit, Morton was another tough sign in the top 10. Morton ended up receiving a $450,000 bonus from the Yankees, who hope that Morton can add velocity (he currently sits in the low-90′s) and refine his secondary offerings (he has a good changeup, but not a great 3rd pitch). Morton is fairly polished and has good command, but seeing how the Yankees handled Bryan Mitchell and Evan DeLuca this year (sending them to the GCL the year after signing), it would not surprise me to see Morton follow the same path.
Round 10 OF Ben Gamel: Gamel,had a lot of things going for him in the draft process. He had the major league bloodlines courtesy of his brother Matt and a scholarship to Florida State. He’s not the hitter Matt is (at least not currently), but he is better defensively, and could develop his hitting to become a valuable prospect. Teams often take chances on players with major league bloodlines because they have high aptitude for the game and a good work ethic, and both are the case with Gamel. He received $500,000 from the Yankees for signing, well over the slot recommendation.
Round 16 LHP Evan Rutckyj: A 6’6″ lefty from Canada, Rutckyj was an enigmatic figure in the draft process because he had high bonus demands (in the $1 million range), but is considered a very unrefined prospect. Rutckyj lacks significant pitching experience because he spent much of his life playing hockey (he is Canadian, after all), and as a result his mechanics are raw and his secondary offerings need work. Despite his flaws, Rutckyj is highly projectable, and the fact that he can throw in the low-90′s without much professional instruction gives him the potential to amp up his velocity when his mechanics are tweaked/overhauled. He has a long way to go, but the Yankees were intrigued enough by Rutckyj’s potential to give him a $500,000 bonus. Rutckyj may be a long-term project, but there aren’t many 6’6″ lefties who can throw in the l0w-90′s that are available past the first round. Rutckyj’s signing was announced the day of the deadline, and along with Williams was one of the two deals to be held up (or not agreed upon) until the deadline.
Overall, it looks like a solid draft class for the Yankees, albeit not a super sexy, by the book, Baseball America draft like Boston managed (they dropped some serious cash signing Anthony Ranaudo, Brandon Workman, Garin Cecchini, Sean Coyle, and others). The higher percentage of high school players taken in the early rounds give this class more upside than some previous classes, but also a very high potential failure rate. It will be interesting to follow these guys (and other signees such as Gabe Encinas, Dan Burawa, Tyler Austin, and Thomas Kahnle), to see how they can add to the Yankee system. As we know, money spent doesn’t necessarily correlate to a better draft class (though it often helps). The Yankees did not really shell out the big bucks this year as compared to Boston (will probably wind up spending around half of what Boston did), but they were able to sign pretty much all of their talented, signable draftees. We’ll just have to trust that the Yankee scouts knew what they were doing.
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