The Yankees made a controversial choice in the 1st round of the amateur draft last night when they drafted shortstop Chris “Cito” Culver at 32nd overall.
The reason why the pick was controversial is because he was not recognized as the best player available left on the draft board. He was also not expected to be a first round draft pick. In fact, Baseball America didn’t even have him listed in their top 100 prospects.
He is however a very athletic player, a switch hitter, with potential to be an everyday shortstop in the majors. People have also talked about him as a potential outfielder and he has also pitched in high school throwing better than 92 MPH.
We’ll have more on him and the rest of the draft later on. Until then here is the press release the Yankees sent out:
The New York Yankees tonight selected 17-year-old switch-hitting shortstop Chris “Cito” Culver out of Irondequoit High School in Rochester, N.Y., with their first-round selection (32nd pick overall) in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
Culver, listed at 6 feet, 172 pounds, batted .561 (37-for-66) with 10 doubles, five triples, nine home runs, 38 RBI and 20 walks in 22 regular season games this past season as a high school senior, according to his school’s Web site. He also had a .933 fielding percentage, committing just eight errors in 120 total chances, helping lead his school to the Monroe County Division title. Named his team’s most valuable player in each of the last three seasons, Culver was also a three-time all-county selection and an Under Armour All-American.
Last summer, Culver played on the Yankees’ Area Code team, working out at Yankee Stadium and participating in a tournament in California. Baseball America rated the shortstop as the third-best prospect out of the state of New York. Under his high school bio page, Culver lists his favorite baseball team as the New York Yankees and one of his favorite baseball players as Derek Jeter.
“We were able to draft a very athletic kid who can play a good shortstop,” said Damon Oppenheimer, Yankees Vice President of Amateur Scouting. “He has a plus arm, is a solid runner and is an excellent hitter. He’s a player we are happy to have. It was an easy decision for us.”
Culver is just the second high school shortstop drafted by the Yankees (also C.J. Henry in 2005) in the first round since the club selected Derek Jeter with the sixth overall pick in the 1992 First-Year Player Draft.