Each of the four major sports has an amateur draft, a time when teams can add players to their teams with an eye towards the future, and in the cases of the NBA, NFL and NHL, oftentimes step in and make an immediate impact.
In the case of the MLB draft, rarely, if ever, does a player make his major league debut the same year he was drafted. More often then not, these players spend a few seasons in the minor leagues honing their craft, adding new wrinkles to their repertoires.
That delay in a tangible return, along with the lack of name recognition for the prospects and the length of the draft itself (the 1996 draft went on for 100 rounds), is why baseball's draft is never really talked about in the same vein or with the same level of excitement as those held by the NHL, NBA and NFL.
With baseball's draft coming up in a few weeks, now is as good a time as ever to take a look at six players who, at one point in time, were Yankees but achieved their success elsewhere.
Originally drafted in the seventh round of the 1977 draft by Chicago White Sox, Willie McGee didn't sign and found himself picked by the Yankees the following year in the first round of the secondary draft held in January 1978.
The Yankees drafted McGee out of Harry Ellis High School in California.
Traded by the Yankees in October 1981 to the St. Louis Cardinals for Bob Sykes, McGee would go on to become one of baseball's most affable players of the 80's.
With the Cardinals, McGee would win a World Series Championship, a National League MVP award and two batting titles to go along with his three Gold Gloves and four All-Star game appearances.
Much like another player who made the list, watching McGee roam the Yankee Stadium outfield with Rickey Henderson and Dave Winfield could have changed the results the Yankees had in the mid-to-late '80s.
Drafted in the third round of the 1970 draft out of El Monte High School in California, Fred Lynn did not sign with the Yankees and instead decided to attend the University of Southern California.
Lynn would be drafted again, this time by the Boston Red Sox in the second round of the 1973 draft. Two years later, Lynn won a Gold Glove and made his first of nine consecutive All-Star appearances, also picking up the American League MVP and Rookie of the Year Awards.
Had Lynn signed with the Yankees, it would have been interesting to see what would have happened with Bobby Murcer...would he have been traded for Bobby Bonds, or would he have slid over to right field, giving the Yankees a dynamic outfield of Roy White, Lynn and Murcer?
Drafted in the fifth round of the 1982 Draft out of Rye High School in upstate New York, B.J. Surhoff did not sign with the Yankees and instead decided to attend the University of North Carolina.
Three years later, the Milwaukee Brewers would make Surhoff the first overall pick in the 1985 draft. Surhoff played 19 years in the big leagues, and while he never lived up to the expectations attached to his lofty draft status, still had a solid career for three teams: the Brewers, Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves.
Surhoff's ability to field multiple positions well—BJ saw time at every position possible except for pitcher—made him an invaluable member of any team he was on.
Had he signed with the Yankees, while there's no telling what position he would have ultimately played, chances are the names Dale Berra, Wayne Tolleson, Mark Salas and Bob Geren would not be as familiar to Yankee fans as they are.
Originally drafted out of High School by the Kansas City Royals in the 18th round of the 1979 draft, the Yankees selected the strong-armed Elway in the second round of the 1981 draft out of Stanford University.
He spent 1982 with the short-season Single-A Oneonta Yankees, hitting .318 while showing some power and speed.
In 1983, the Baltimore Colts made him the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. Elway demanded to be traded or said he would forget about his dream of playing quarterback in the NFL and continue his baseball career with the Yankees.
We all know how this story ends, as Elway is regarded as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. But it would have been interesting to see if he would have had the same success wearing pinstripes.
Drafted in the second round of the 1982 Draft out of McAdory High School in Alabama, Bo Jackson did not sign with the Yankees and instead decided to attend Auburn University.
Four years later, the Kansas City Royals drafted Jackson in the fourth round of the 1986 draft. His stock dropped, but not because of his on-field play.
Jackson was also the first overall pick in the 1986 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He refused to sign with Tampa, instead playing for the Royals, first at Double-A Memphis until his promotion to the big leagues.
The following year, the Los Angeles Raiders selected Jackson in the seventh round of the 1987 NFL Draft. Instead of making a choice between a career in baseball and a career in football, Jackson decided he wanted both.
An explosive Running Back and powerful hitter, Jackson excelled in both careers until a devastating hip injury suffered in the 1990 NFL playoffs derailed his careers. He was never able to fully recover, and by 1994 was completely out of both leagues.
His career average was rather anemic at .250, but his power and athleticism would have been fun to watch in the Yankee outfield next to Dave Winfield and Rickey Henderson.
Drafted in the ninth round of the 1981 Draft out of Jefferson High School in Tampa, Fla., Fred McGriff never saw time in the Bronx as a member of the Yankees.
In November 1981, the Yankees traded McGriff, along with Dave Collins, Mike Morgan and cash to the Toronto Blue Jays for Tom Dodd and Dale Murray.
McGriff would go on to have a remarkable career—certainly better then the four other players involved in the trade combined.
A borderline Hall of Famer, McGriff was one of the most feared hitters of the late 80's and 90's, finishing his career with 493 home runs, four All-Star game appearances, and two World Series rings.
McGriff would have been blocked in New York by Don Mattingly, so chances are he would have had to settle for playing Designated Hitter each day.
But his presence could have changed the Yankees fortunes, if you think about what the top half of their lineup in the 80's could have looked like:
That would have been murder on opponents' pitching staffs.
Others who were drafted by the Yankees and went on to have solid careers as major leaguers include:
Fernando Vina, 9th Round, 1990
Aaron Heilman, 55th Round, 1997
Brad Ausmus, 48th Round, 1987
Casey Blake, 45th Round, 1995
Howard Johnson, 23rd Round, 1978
Greg Gagne, 5th Round, 1979
Scott McGregor, 1st Round, 1972
I purposely left Mark Prior off the list, as he's currently in the Yankee system and could, at one point, actually take the mound in the Bronx.