The 2008 MLB Draft is Thursday, June 5, and if there is a team with an immediate need for help, it may very well be the New York Yankees.
While the Rays hold the first pick in the draft, and are an obviously improved team, the Mets have three of the top 33 picks, and the Brewers, with a great young core, have six of the first 62 picks, it's the Yankees with pick number 28, plus three more in the top 102, that must come away with the most major-league ready haul.
With the Joba experiment off to a rough start, it is glaringly obvious that the Yankees need to take advantage of their vast resources, and draft-'n-sign at least two if not three college pitchers who can come in and help for the stretch run of this season.
At the very least they need to find a couple of power arms who will be able to contribute in '09, a season that Hank Steinbrenner will make a pressure-packed campaign when the new Stadium opens.
Here is a wish list of four draft picks that would help the Yankees in the immediate future, and includes one who may help replace one of their declining stars.
1. Lance Lynn, RHP, Mississippi: Lynn is described as a starter with a Bobby Jenks body by some, and the Yankees would love it if this pitcher could use his two and four-seam fastballs and a nasty, heavy, cutter to make a quick jump to the majors. If he developed a reliable third pitch, he coud be an end-of-the-rotation starter in the future.
2. Ryan Perry, RHP, Arizona: Perry has future setup man written all over him, and by future, I could see him maybe getting a chance in Spring Training of '09.
He may have been able to use his fantastic '07 campaign in the Cape Cod League to bounce into the majors this year, but he was experimented with as a starter this year, and that little detour threw off his mechanics.
His pitches stay up in the zone too often, and he could, with a little coaching, become a great seventh-inning stopper come this time next year.
3. Kyle Weiland, RHP, Notre Dame: Weiland has an unorthodox delivery that would work best in a setup man's role for the Yankees. He pounds the strike zone with two plus-pitches, and for a team in desperate need of long term, reliable options in the 'pen not named Farnsworth, Hawkins, or Ramirez, they could use a prospect who within a season-and-a-half could be contributing 50 innings a year at a low cost.
4. Taylor Hightower, C, Cartersville (GA.) HS: Hightower may have the best arm of all the young backstops in the draft this year. He is a solid game caller for his age and a high-energy leader. With a few seasons and 1,200 ABs in the minors, he could take his swing from just solid to something that would be an asset at the bottom of the order. Hightower seems like a solid, safe pick to become an heir apparent to the quickly deteriorating catching skills of Jorge Posada.
Now, the Yankees may be able to find a couple of higher-rated prospects than listed here because of their willingness to pay out of slot, but those are four picks who could help solidify an already improving farm system, and make the big club younger, better, and cheaper come opening day '09.