Many, including some of the folks at Baseball America, were surprised at the Yankees making Cito Culver their first-round pick last night, a decision Damon Oppenheimer called an "easy" one for the Yankees. A lot of people base their opinions of the draft based on Baseball America, which is OK, but keep in mind there's a lot of other people out there watching these guys play and compiling reports. There's no more unanimity here than there is in the NBA or NFL drafts, or just about anything when you're projecting ahead with 17 or 18-year-old kids (or 22 or 23-year-olds for that matter).
Anyway, this was Baseball America's scouting report on Culver:
"Hidden away in upstate New York—hardly a baseball hotbed—Culver sticks out like a sore thumb. He is the rare Northeast prep product with a legitimate chance to play shortstop in the major leagues. Culver's best tool is his arm, which rates as a 65 on the 20-80 scouting scale. Some scouts report seeing him up to 94 mph off the mound, but he has no interest in pitching. The game comes easily to Culver, whose actions, instincts and range are all plus at times, though he has a long way to go to become a consistent defender, and some believe he profiles as a utility player down the road. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Culver is a solid-average runner and a switch-hitter with a loose, whippy swing from both sides of the plate. He projects to have below-average power and is mostly a slap hitter, but he does generate good bat speed and could be an average hitter as he gets stronger. Culver is an excellent athlete who plays basketball in the winter, and he could take off once he focuses on baseball. He could be drafted in the fourth- to sixth-round range, but he is considered a difficult sign away from his Maryland commitment."