American League Teams Also Rake in Talent
The big winners in last month's draft are familiar names: ballclubs who seem to excel at drafting young talent. For some, that's because they have a special aptitude for farming. For others, it's more about a predilection for finishing in the bottom of the standings, and therefore being in permanent rebuilding mode.
We've already looked at the six teams who pulled the biggest bundles of potential from last month's MLB draft: in our humble opinions, the big winners were the Astros, Cubs, Mariners, Pirates, Padres and Braves. There are three AL clubs, though, who also snuck in some very good drafting, and they're not ballclubs one usually associates with farm systems or prospecting in general.
The New York Yankees, nobody's idea of a farming-first baseball organization, don't often draft stars (Ian Kennedy and Jesus Montero notwithstanding). But in young Ty Hensley, scooped at the end of round one, they might have pulled off a steal. Outfielder Austin Aune and catcher Peter O'Brien should help the aging core, too. There's not much to dislike in any of the early Yankee selections, in fact, which makes one wonder if that new management is finally starting to have an impact.
The Chicago White Sox are another club not known for drafting excellence, but they might have earned the Most Improved Drafters award this year by plucking the very exciting Courtney Hawkins and slugger Keon Barnum, two players who fit very well into the South Side Style of baseball play. Pitcher Chris Beck is also interesting.
They might not have the best development system in baseball, but the Toronto Blue Jays do have a penchant for drafting high-risk candidates every year, some of whom turn out spectacularly, and many of whom simply don't. They didn't veer from this course by selecting the very high-upside of outfielder D.J. Davis, who has the raw ability to be one of the best players in baseball. Matt Smoral, Marcus Stroman and Mitch May certainly fit into this pattern as well.
As always, these aren't the only players or teams who did well in the draft, just a few of the ones who impressed or surprised us with their selections, especially as they fit into a long-term strategy. The Blue Jays, Yankees and White Sox will be getting some extra scrutiny in the years to come because of their selections this summer.