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Yankees 2006 Draft: Names to Know
Ian Kennedy RHP:
At just 6-0 195lbs, Kennedy isn’t exactly “projectable” and his once decent fastball has mysteriously declined from sitting in the lower 90’s to the high 80’s. What he does possess, however, is a stellar track record for one of the most prestigious baseball programs in all of Division I baseball along with a hard-biting curve and bulldog attitude. For Kennedy to become a valuable major league starter he’ll need to regain the velocity he’s lost and add another pitch to his arsenal.
Joba Chamberlain RHP:
Once thought to become the highest picked Native American ever, Chamberlain was a steal for the Yankees with the 41st pick. At 6-2 230lbs, Chamberlain has a great pitcher’s body, the biggest concern, however, will be keeping his weight in check – Chamberlain weighed in at about 300lbs just a couple years ago. Along with a strong fastball that sits in the low 90’s and can get as high as 97, Chamberlain features a slider that, although inconsistent, shows signs of being a plus pitch along with an average changeup. Ranked the 7th best talent before the draft by Baseball America, Chamberlain slipped due to a minor triceps injury and questions about his makeup after failing to build off of his breakout sophomore season at the University of Nebraska. Still, this was a great risk for the Yankees to take, and could very well end up being the steal of the draft.
Zachary McAllister RHP:
Apparently under the impression they were only allowed to pick RHP, the Yankees selected the big high schooler out of Illinois. Standing 6-5 and weighing in at 230lbs, McAllister reminds you initially of the Yankees’ best prospect, Philip Hughes. While McAllister doesn’t have Hughes’ stuff or quite his command and composure, he does feature a sound, repeatable delivery along with an improving fastball that now sits in the low 90’s and a decent changeup and slider, although the slider will need more velocity if it is ever to become a plus pitch. McAllister is exactly the type of high upside guy you like seeing your team pick at this point in the draft. He’ll be one to keep an eye on as he matures.
Dellin Betances RHP:
Looking to continue the trend of signing 1st round talents with signability issues (Austin Jackson), the Yankees selected Dellin Betances, the local New York high school boy, with their 8th pick. Betances stands tall at 6-9 and has plenty of room to fill out as he currently weighs only 215lbs. His fastball has already hit the mid 90’s, and as he matures could become one of the best in baseball. He has a lot of work ahead of him with his secondary pitches, but has shown the makings of a hard curve. Betances has about as much potential as anyone in the draft, but will take a long time to develop.
Mark Melancon RHP:
Considered by many to be the top college reliever available, the Yankees got yet another pitcher many prospect experts pegged as a 1st rounder just months ago. Melancon features a fastball that ranges from 92-95 mph and a power curve that sits in the mid 80’s. Melancon almost certainly fell due to concerns about his health – he hadn’t pitched since feeling pain in his elbow back in early April – but an MRI exam revealed it was just a strained ligament and would not require any surgery. Melancon and last year’s draft pick, J. Brent Cox, could perform an impressive 1-2 punch in front of Mo within the next couple of years, health permitting. The only thing Cox has on Melancon at this point is more experience with pressure packed games. If he develops as expected, Melancon could end up as the Yankees’ closer post-Mo.