Yesterday, the first round of the 2010 First-Year player draft took place. With the 32nd overall pick the Yankees selected Cito Culver as a shortstop. Immediately many people complained that the Yankees should have taken a bigger name, but let’s trust the Yankees brain trust because they are the ones who know the most about Culver. That doesn’t mean that we as fans can’t learn about him, so let’s try to get to know him.
Chris “Cito” Culver is a 17-year-old shortstop out of Irondequoit High School in Rochester, N.Y. Culver is also a switch hitter. According to Culver’s high school’s website, he is 6-feet tall and 172 pounds. Last summer Culver played on the Yankees “Area Code” team and got to work out at Yankee Stadium so the Yankees obviously know a lot about the kid. Now just for your own personal entertainment, here is some personal information also provided by Culver’s high school.
Favorite baseball team: New York Yankees
Favorite baseball player: Derek Jeter, Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez
Favorite foods: pizza, wings, Reese’s
Favorite movies: Friday, Remember the Titans
Favorite TV shows: Sportscenter, Baseball Tonight
Favorite subject in school: Math
Other sports played: Basketball
Athletic achievements: 1st Team AGR Baseball 2009, 1st Team All County Baseball 2007-2009, 1st Team All County Basketball 2009-2010, MVP Baseball 2008-2009, Participant in Exceptional Seniors Basketball Game 2010
Most memorable athletic accomplishment: Playing baseball at Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park and the Metrodome
Person(s) who have influenced me the most: Mom, uncles, Miss B
Future plans: Playing in the MLB
Baseball Beginnings has a quick little video of Culver. I can’t insert it into this post, so make sure you go check it out.
Here’s what Aaron Fitt of Baseball America had to said about Culver.
“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.”
Most importantly, what do the Yankees, who know the most about Culver, think about the young shortstop? Here’s what scouting director Damon Oppenheimer had to say via The Lohud Yankees Blog.
Bat: “Switch hitter. We like him from both sides of the plate. An above average hitter. He has pop in his bat, even with wood. It’s high school, but he’s hitting the ball over the fence in center field with a heavier wood bat than most of these kids we see using. The kid only struck out twice. We saw him all summer against the better stuff, guys throwing hard, and he squared the ball up well during that time so we think he’s going to hit. We think there’s a chance for power too.”
Glove: “You always keep your mind open, but his tools and his ability were what attracted us as a shortstop. You never know how long it will take for a guy to get there, and what’s in front of him when he does get there, but I think the fact that he’s in the middle of the field right now, we project him to be a shortstop. Worst-case scenario, if somebody was there blocking his way, you’re talking about a switch hitter that can run and do some other things, it would allow him (to change positions) if you need to.”
Arm: “He has a great arm. He’s up to 95 on the mound, but the idea of being able to get a switch-hitting shortstop is more attractive right now than a thrower, which is really what he is as a pitcher.”
Makeup: “He’s a no-nonsense kid. He’s a yes sir, no sir kid. He’s very solid. He’s not going to come out and be real emotional one way or the other. He’s a very solid kid who’s really passionate toward baseball. He’s a good person. We feel he’s a high-character kid. We watched him play real hard, so we felt real good about his makeup.”
Signability: “He really wants to be a Yankee. I think that we’re going to get him. We should get him signed and get him out playing really soon. This guy really has a passion to make it through the minor leagues and play in New York.”
Via Democrat and Chronicle we have a quick little line Chris “Cito” Culver had to say after learning that he was drafted by his favorite team.
“I didn’t know what to do. My legs gave out, I just fell. I love the Yankees, I’ve watched pretty much every World Series (in my lifetime).”
I obviously don’t know much about Culver, I had not even heard of him until last night shortly before the draft began. However, the Yankees obviously have a boatload of information on Culver. I am extremely pleased with the pick because the Yankees ignored analysts and general opinions and went with the guy they truly felt was the best available. In addition, the Yankees weren’t the only team with Culver on their minds. When asked about the possibility of taking Culver in the second round instead of the first he said, “The thought crossed my mind and I’m glad I didn’t, because after we did pick him I got a call from one of our competitors who’s very successful, saying he would not have gotten to us.” Overall, I am very excited about Cito Culver and his potential. I understand he is a high risk, but he could also be a high reward and I’d rather see the Yankees take risks rather than go with more of a sure thing who may not be that great.