It is the first baseball draft ever televised in prime time, but New York won't be a major part of the proceedings. The offseason spending sprees in Bronx and Queens came with a price beyond money for the Mets and Yankees. Each team had to fork over their first round picks in Tuesday's draft as compensation for signing free agents, and the Yankees had to hand over their second and third rounders as well.
The Yankees did get a first and second rounder back because they failed to sign last year's first two draft picks, a strange quirk that rewards failure in baseball's draft. The Mets, however, won't be on the podium until the 72nd overall pick. Both teams will likely still be able to land some decent talent. Because there is no slotting system to determine salaries for draftees, players often drop because they command big bonuses and teams like the Mets and Yankees can afford to risk the money.
The lack of exposure for any prospect not named Stephen Strasburg, expected to go to Washington with the first overall selection, means that whoever the Mets and Yankees select will be a mystery to all but the most devoted draftniks. So, if you're looking for a local rooting interest, why not keep an eye out for Millville, N.J. senior Mike Trout.
The outfielder is expected to go in the first round on Tuesday evening. Jim Callis of Baseball America has him heading to the Angels with the 24th pick, while Keith Law of ESPN.com predicts he'll go to the same team with the 25th pick. Those two picks, incidentally, came to the Angels from the Mets and Yankees, respectively, after they signed Francisco Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. Trout, who has a scholarship to East Carolina if he chooses not to sign, is expected to ask for more than $2.5 million, according to Callis.
Trout, a 6'2", 205-pound center fielder, won't be the first pro ballplayer in the family. His father was a fifth-round pick of the Twins in 1983, but never made it to the big leagues. His combination of speed and power makes scouts think the son will outperform his father. Sure things are in short supply when you're talking about kids who aren't old enough to vote, though.
The Yankees pick 29th, so it isn't beyond imagination that Trout could be on the board at that point, but he could go even earlier if teams are willing to spend more than Major League Baseball's recommendations to sign him.