Looking at the Last Ten Years of First Round Picks (Part 1)
With another MLB Draft in the books and Anthony Volpe signed, I decided to look back at the last ten years of Yankees first round picks. A first round pick may ensure that the person signing will garner a hefty bonus check, but it certainly doesn’t mean the draftee will ever see a big league pitch. It is no surprise to see the Yankees have had mixed results with their first round picks lately. Some crashed and burned pretty hard, others are still working their way through the system – and then you have Aaron Judge.
Cito Culver (SS): Drafted: 2010, 32nd pick out of Irondequoit HS (Rochester, NY)
Yankees career: Culver seemed like an odd first round pick when the Yankees made it, but he had a compelling story that made people cheer for the New York native. His father had started a prison sentence for burning down the family’s house on Easter in 2008 in an attempt to kill Culver’s mother.
Culver worked his way through the short-season leagues, as well as the lower levels, despite rarely having good offensive numbers. A solid defensive player, Culver was never able to adjust to professional pitching and continually struggled at the plate. In 2015, he spent time with both Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Trenton. He was never called up to the majors and bounced between the RailRiders and the Thunder until he became a free agent after the 2017 season.
Post-Yankees: After becoming a free agent, Culver signed with Miami, where he once again bounced between Double-A and Triple-A, never managing to make it to the majors. He is currently playing for the Rockland Boulders, an independent team in the Canadian-American Association. Over his nine years in the minors, Culver played 902 games and had a slash line of .231/.304/.328 with 329 RBIs and 43 home runs.
Dante Bichette, Jr. (3B): Drafted: 2011, 52nd pick from Orangewood Christian HS (Florida)
Career: The son of former major leaguer Dante Bichette, his career in many ways mirrored Culver’s. Bichette had occasional glimpses of the offense you hoped he would bring, however, he mostly struggled at the plate. The Yankees continued to promote him, hoping things would eventually click, and he made his debut in Trenton in 2014. Unfortunately, he never made it beyond Double-A ball, becoming a free agent after the 2017 season.
Bichette plated for an independent St. Paul team in 2018 and currently plays for the High Point Rockers in the independent Atlantic League. Over seven years of minor league baseball, Bichette appeared in 715 games. He hit .249/.330/.362, with 352 RBIs and 44 home runs.
Ty Hensley (RHP): Drafted: 2012, 30th pick out of Edmond Santa Fe HS (Oklahoma)
Expectations: Hensley almost went tenth in the draft, but dropped to 30th, allowing the Yankees to scoop him up. He was viewed as a guy with huge potential. Hensley came from a baseball family and he had good, raw stuff on the mound. Unfortunately, during his physical, the Yankees discovered an issue with his shoulder in his pitching arm. This was not enough to scare them off, however, he did end up signing for below slot value.
Career: Hensley only played two seasons in the Yankees’ system. This wasn’t due to his own shortcomings, rather his career has been derailed by injury. He played in the Gulf Coast League in 2012 and then returned after a couple hip surgeries (and a subsequent infection) to play in the GCL and the New York-Penn League in 2014. Another Tommy John surgery signaled the end of his Yankee career. He played in the independent Frontier League in 2018.
Over his sixteen games in the minor leagues, Hensley went 1-2 with a 2.95 ERA. He only allowed three homers in 42.2 innings pitched, striking out 54 batters and walking just 18. He held opposing hitters to a .217 average. He is only 25 and is making an attempt at a comeback, playing for the Utica Unicorns in the United Shore Professional Baseball League.
Eric Jagielo (1B/3B): Drafted: 2013, 26th pick out of Notre Dame.
Career: Jagielo came to the Yankees projecting to be a solid everyday player with average power and questionable defense. He quickly rose in the Yankees’ system, reaching Trenton in 2015. In December 2015, Jagielo was traded to the Reds in the trade that brought Aroldis Chapman to the Bronx, so the Yankees certainly got some value with this pick.
Jagielo played the next two seasons in the Reds system and then spent 2018 with Miami. He is currently unsigned. In his six years in the minors, Jagielo played 540 games and had a .222/.307/.359 slash line.
Aaron Judge (OF): Drafted: 2013, 32nd pick out of Fresno State
Career: If you haven’t followed the minor league system at all, you would be forgiven for not knowing any of the previous players, but you certainly know Judge. The big outfielder made his professional debut in 2014, when he played in both Charleston and Tampa. He split 2015 between Trenton and Scranton, continuing his fast climb through the farm system.
Judge spent most of 2016 in Triple-A, making his major league debut before coming up in 2017 and collecting a lot of hardware. He was an All-Star and won the Silver Slugger award, the Home Run Derby, and AL Rookie of the Year. The Yankees have had a few players in the past decade who were hyped as sure things and still didn’t pan out. Judge has been everything he was advertised as – and perhaps more.
Ian Clarkin (LHP): Drafted: 2013, 33rd pick out of Madison HS (San Diego, California)
Career: Clarkin made his professional debut the year he was drafted, but only threw a handful of innings. He spent 2014 in Charleston, where he appeared in sixteen games, starting fifteen and putting together a 3.21 ERA. Clarkin missed 2015 with an elbow injury, but continued to make solid progress in the 2016 season with Tampa. On July 18, 2017, Clarkin was traded with a couple others to the Chicago White Sox in the deal that brought Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees.
Clarkin is currently playing for Tennessee, the Cubs’ Double-A team. He is pitching out of the bullpen and has a 3.38 ERA over 13.1 innings. His minor league stats have him 18-24 in 91 games (66 started) with a 3.55 ERA. He has 269 Ks and only 136 walks.
2014 – No first round pick.
So, there are the current standings of the first round picks from 2010-2014. Keep your eye out for the rest of the list coming up.