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Looking at the Yankees draft success in the late rounds

With the news that the MLB Draft is likely going to be significantly shortened, it is clear that the way teams go about drafting players will shift. I have been thinking a lot about how this will affect the Yankees, of course, and I expect they will have to make some pretty big changes.

As I’ve discussed in the past, the Yankees haven’t had always done well with their first-round picks. Dante Bichette, Cito Culver, and Slade Heathcott come to mind. The first two shouldn’t have been first-round picks to start with, and Heathcott had plenty of red flags of his own. Recent picks have shown a bit more success, but I would argue that the Yankees have been one of the most successful teams in getting great talent in the late rounds. With that in mind, I thought I’d take a look at some of the Yankees most successful late round picks.

Don Mattingly (19th round) – Mattingly was drafted by the Yankees in 1979 out of Reitz Memorial High School in Indiana. During his 14 years in pinstripes, the Yankee captain won nine Gold Gloves, three Silver Sluggers, and was the AL MVP in 1985. He was also a six time All Star. Mattingly has a career 42.4 WAR, hit 222 homers and had a slash line of .307/.358/.471.

Andy Pettitte (22nd round) – When I think of late-round blockbusters for the Yankees, Pettitte is always my first thought. The Yankee southpaw was drafted in the 22nd round of the 1990 draft out of Deer Park High School in Texas. Pettitte was part of five World Series teams, was a three time All Star and the ALCS MVP. His career WAR is 60.2. He went 256-153 with a 3.85 ERA and 2448 strikes outs over 18 years.

Jorge Posada (24th round) – Posada was actually drafted twice by the Yankees. He was drafted in 1989 in the 43rd round. He was drafted again by the Yankees in 1990 in the 24th round out of Calhoun Community College in Alabama. Member of the Core Four, Posada had a career WAR of 42.7 and hit 275 homers. He had five Silver Sluggers, won four World Series, and was a five time All Star. He hit .273/.374/.474 over 17 years.

Brad Ausmus (48th round) – The Connecticut native was drafted by the Yankees in 1987 out of Cheshire Academy. He managed to attend Dartmouth College and play minor league baseball. Ausmus spent five years in the Yankees minor league system before being picked by the Colorado Rockies in the expansion draft. Ausmus’ major league career spanned 18 years and he won three Gold Gloves and was elected to the All-Star team once. He had a career 16.5 WAR, 80 homers and hit .251/.325/.344.

These were just a handful of great late-round signings the Yankees made over the years. Others such as David Robertson, Mike Lowell, and Bob Tewksbury also deserve mentioning. Never mind the numerous examples on other teams. Who are your favorites? Do you find any particularly surprising?

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