I’m not a big fan of the pick; it’s definitely a reach. For what it’s worth, Oppenheimer called it an “easy decision.” Whenever a guy’s best tool is his throwing arm … well it’s always a cause for concern because you’d like the other skills to be refined. It’s not an indefensible pick though; there’s nothing wrong with selecting a premium up-the-middle athlete that will stay there for the next decade-plus.
I’ve seen some people quick to dub this another C.J. Henry pick, but the only similarities between the two are that they’re African American shortstops taken out of high school. Henry was more of a hacker who projected to hit for power but not average, and wasn’t guaranteed to stay at short. Culver’s basically the opposite.
There were definitely better players on the board, and so it’s not the best pick they could have made. No need to declare this one a bust yet. The last thing prospects provide is instant gratification. Frankie Piliere noted that Culver got huge grades late in the year, so he peaked at the right time.
…Today, with their first pick in the 2010 draft, the 32nd overall pick, the Yankees selected Cito Culver – probably two or three (or maybe four?) rounds earlier than he should have been selected – passing on talent like Anthony Ranaudo, Bryce Brentz, Ryan LaMarre and Seth Blair (just to name a few).
Considering all this, and then factoring in that the Yankees had screwed up their first three picks in the draft just about every year from 1998 through 2008, I have to wonder about what’s going on in the Yankees front office with respect to handling the draft? (“What about 2009?” some may say? Well, the jury is still out on that one.)
At some point, Damon Oppenheimer – and his bosses, Mark Newman and Brian Cashman – have to be held accountable for the way they’ve been wasting the Yankees “prime” picks, draft after draft, no?