The New York Yankees have three picks in the first round of the 2013 first-year player draft on June 6, as the departures of both Nick Swisher (Cleveland Indians) and Rafael Soriano (Washington Nationals) netted them picks 32 and 33 to go along with their initial selection at No. 26.
General manager Brian Cashman is notorious for taking pitchers in the first round. In recent memory, Phil Hughes (2004), Ian Kennedy (2006) and Joba Chamberlain (2006) have all been drafted by Cashman and groomed in the Yankees' system.
Expect Cashman to do more of the same in 2013. Yankees scouts love selecting quality arms, and there's no shortage of such arms in this year's draft. There are several talented pitchers (both from high school and college) who could find themselves as members of the Yankees by the end of the first round.
The Yankees have always had a shortage of talented pitching in their system. Even with Cashman's propensity to select pitchers, not all of them have always panned out. New York has strong positional talent in the lower minors in Mason Williams, Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin and Slade Heathcott, though there isn't all that much pitching to be found.
Look for Cashman and Co. to solve that problem on draft day.
The UC Irvine Anteaters will likely be losing their 6'3", 205-pound ace pitcher on draft day, as junior Andrew Thurman has the potential to be the program's highest draft pick ever.
During his freshman and sophomore years at UC Irvine, Thurman posted a 12-6 record and an ERA of 3.24 over 162 innings pitched. He struck out 133 and walked just 44. His junior season has gone well thus far, as his 6-4 record is pretty impressive.
Thurman even tossed a no-hitter earlier this season against the Long Beach State Dirtbags. That's not possible without good command and strong stuff, both of which he happens to possess.
He throws a fastball that sits between 91 and 93 mph (though it tops at 95), as well as a curveball, changeup and cutter/slider. His changeup may be his best pitch, however, as he can locate it and use it as an out-pitch.
As a right-handed pitcher, Thurman has the potential to become a solid No. 3 starter in the bigs. He throws strikes and can get guys out, using all four of his pitches to pump the zone with strikes. He may need to work on finding just a bit more consistency with his cutter/slider, but that should come with time.
Do not be disappointed if the Yankees take Thurman with one of their three first-round picks.
Robert Kaminsky, a senior from St. Joseph Regional High School in New Jersey with a commitment to the University of North Carolina, is a candidate to be drafted with one of the Yankees' compensation picks.
Kaminsky is 6'0" and 190 pounds, though he'll likely continue to grow as he gets older. There's nothing wrong with his current frame, but growth is always something that scouts look for.
The kid already throws gas, as his fastball routinely hits 94 mph. As if that weren't dominating enough for high school hitters, several scouts also claim that he already possesses a major league curveball. Kaminsky has serious talent.
His senior season is going swimmingly. He's a perfect 8-0 on the season, having surrendered just four walks over 51 innings pitched. He's struck out an amazing 107 batters in that span. His ERA and WHIP are 0.18 and 0.49, respectively. It's simply unfair for the opposition.
Kaminsky has all the skills warranting a first-round selection, but don't be surprised if the Yankees (and other teams, for that matter) pass on the high school star. The Yankees have been burned in the past by pitchers deciding to go to college instead of pitch for them (see: Cole, Gerrit and Gray, Jonathan), so they could choose to stay away from the young left-hander.
Bobby Wahl, a junior at Ole Miss, is the ace of the Rebels staff and a future top-end arm in the big leagues.
His mid-90s fastball has led to much success throughout his college career. In 2012, Wahl posted a 2.55 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 95 innings. That's quite impressive as a pitcher in the tough SEC.
The fastball is Wahl's best pitch, though his slider is quickly becoming a go-to pitch to get outs. It sits anywhere from 82 to 84 mph. His slider has the potential to continue to grow into an even more lethal pitch with more experience and the right coaching.
To round out his three-pitch repertoire, Wahl throws an above-average changeup that he uses to get hitters out. This three-pitch mix is exactly what should impress the scouts in New York. His repertoire is not unlike many of today's fastball/breaking-ball/changeup pitchers.
The only thing that can be a little disconcerting is his windup. He's a little herky-jerky, and that could potentially lead to problems. The last thing the Yankees want to do is draft a pitcher who could need major surgery within a few seasons.
Regardless, Wahl has the talent to be a very good pitcher and should be given a look on draft day.