Hindsight being 20/20 makes it easy to say that these two 1st rounds of the MLB draft were the worst in recent memory. In them, two of the games current young superstars were just barely out of the Yankees grasp. Their names are Gerrit Cole and Mike Trout. Looking back at those two 1st rounds, it is easy to look in disbelief at the great things that could have been.
In 2008, the Yankees selected high school pitcher Gerrit Cole with the 28th pick of the draft. With the exception of Buster Posey, Gerrit Cole was the best player selected in the 1st round. Now back then there was no restriction on how big of a signing bonus a player could get. The Yankees failed to sign him, and he went to college instead. He was then drafted with the 1st pick of the 2011 draft and signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Gerrit Cole is now just 24 years old, and has a career ERA of 3.45. Imagine how less us Yankees fans would have to worry about the health of the rotation if Gerrit Cole was in it. Injuries were a big killer last year, would having Gerrit Cole helped us get to the Wild Card game? Wouldn’t the 2013 Yankees have done better if instead of Phil Hughes starting every 5 games, we had Gerrit Cole in his spot? Hard to say for sure, but given the devastating state of the rotation he definitely would have been a big help for the team. Plus he would have gotten more minor league experience at a younger age, so maybe he could have gotten called up to the big leagues sooner.
Who would you have rather had, Mark Texeira or Mike Trout? While right now it seems like a no brainer, at the time it was the right move. In the 2009 draft, the Angels used the 25th pick to draft Mike Trout. That pick was originally the Yankees, but they lost it by signing Mark Texeira. The Angels did have the 24th pick as well, thanks to the Mets signing K-Rod, but they drafted Randal Grichuk with that pick. Trout was awfully close to being a Yankee under these circumstances, but maybe the Yankees don’t win the World Series in 2009 without Texeira. Either way, Texeira’s years are best behind him and Mike Trout has finished in the top 2 in the MVP voting in all 3 of his major league seasons. Mike Trout is just 23, and might very well have a HOF career ahead of him. The Yankees hadn’t drafted a college player in the first round since 2001, and Trout being as High School player would have likely been selected by the team.
Now the Yankees might not have had postseason runs from 2009-2012 without Texeira. Trout could have produced for the Yankees from 2012-present, and we wouldn’t have had to sign Ellsbury. If 1B was still an issue we could have signed Prince Fielder for Ellsbury money. If Fielder plays here, maybe he doesn’t get injured and is still an elite 1B. This is all speculation of course, but their was nothing stopping the Yankees from signing Gerrit Cole. Either way, for better or for worse, the Yankees have neither of those two players.