Yankees round-by-round picks
TAMPA -- Why not take a chance on University of Texas pitchers?
With Longhorn alum Roger Clemens closing in on 300 wins for the Yankees, the team went to Clemens' alma mater for four of its first 20 picks on Tuesday. New York selected righty Alan Bomer in the fourth round, lefty Brad Halsey in the eighth, righty Ray Clark in the 14th and righty Ben King in the 20th.
Clemens said Longhorn baseball can prepare a pitcher well for the pros.
"It depends on the nature of the kid, what level he can handle himself at," Clemens said. "When I came out of the university, I felt once I got to Double-A, I started feeling like I was competing. We had a lot of experience against great teams, getting to the College World Series two years in a row."
The Yankees were definitely looking for mound help on Tuesday. They took pitchers with five of their first eight picks, the first three of those being right-handers. They also took college players with 10 of their first 12 picks and 16 of their first 20.
The Yankees did not have a first-round selection in the draft because they signed free-agent first baseman Jason Giambi during the winter. They also lost their second round pick (65th overall) to Atlanta for signing reliever Steve Karsay. But the Yankees player development specialists were not burdened with lots of free time in their "war room" at the Bay Harbor Inn (owned by George Steinbrenner) in Tampa. The first round went fast and the Yankees did have a second round pick, from St. Louis, because the Cardinals signed Tino Martinez.
With that pick, No. 71 overall, the Yankees took Brandon Weeden, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound pitcher from Edmond Santa Fe High School.
Their second pick, in the fourth round, was the 6-3, 203-pound Bomer, a right-hander. Bomer went 9-3 with a 3.84 ERA this season in 14 starts. He pitched 79 2/3 innings, gave up 78 hits, struck out 73 and walked only 19. He also had two saves for the Longhorns.
The scouting report on Bomer is that he has a large frame and a long, slender build. He works free and easy. And his fastball has heavy sink when it's down in the zone.
In the fifth round, the Yankees took Brigham Young right fielder Matt Carson. He is 6-2 and 200 pounds. In 59 games at BYU, Carson hit .343 with nine home runs, 60 RBIs and 10 steals in 14 attempts. He had a .567 slugging percentage in 245 at-bats.
In the sixth round, the Yankees took Brandon Harmsen, a 6-3, 205-pound right-handed pitcher from Grand Rapids Community College. The 20-year-old senior was 6-2 with a 0.55 ERA in nine starts, including four complete games and a shutout. He gave up only 26 hits and 16 walks in 51 innings and struck out 64.
Their seventh-round pick was Ross Michelsen, a first baseman from Lavan High School in Texas. The 18-year-old is 6-4, 195 pounds and a left-hander.
Halsey was the Yankees' pick in the eighth round. He is a 6-2, 180-pound lefty with a fastball that tails and sinks. He also throws a splitter that breaks down and in on right-handers. He was 7-2 with a 2.79 ERA at Texas in 16 starts, including one complete game. He gave up 88 hits and 25 walks in 96 2/3 innings, and struck out 81.
In the ninth round, New York picked right fielder Eric Verbryke, a 6-2, 220-pound left-hander from Cal State Northridge. The junior was chosen as the Big West Conference Player of the Year in 2002. Verbryke hit 14 homers, drove in 52 runs and scored 51 runs, while hitting .335. He also stole 12 bases.
Their 10th round pick was University of South Carolina lefty Gary Bell. The 6-foot, 200-pound Bell was 10-2 with a 4.68 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 100 innings for the Gamecocks. Bell also hit .361 in 36 at-bats with two home runs and 11 RBIs and recently was named to the SEC All-Tournament Team. Bell was 20-7 in two seasons at South Carolina.
In the 11th round, the Yankees took center fielder Marcus McClanahan from the University of Alabama. He is a 6-foot-3, 225-pound right-hander. Their 12th-round choice was Matthew Mamula, a first baseman from Point Loma Nazarene College. He is 6-2, 210 pounds and a lefty. In the 13th round, they drafted Blake Blase, a 6-3, 225-pound first baseman from Jefferson College.
Clark, the Yankees' 14th round pick, was 5-4 with a 3.48 ERA for the Longhorns this year. He started 10 games and gave up 56 hits and 14 walks in 62 innings.
In rounds 15-19, the Yankees took Philip Tribe, Jared Koutnik, Gabriel Lopez, Luis Robles and Jonathan Sheaffer. Tribe is 6-foot-5, 215-pound right-handed pitcher from Rice. Koutnik is a 6-foot-2, 195-pound shortstop from Michigan State. Lopez is a 5-foot-8, 175-pound second baseman from San Jose State. Robles is a 6-foot-3, 195-pound catcher from Riverside Community College. And Sheaffer is a 6-1, 185-pound center fielder from Arizona State.
In the 20th round, they took another Texas pitcher, Benjamin King, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound lefty. King, a junior, would have been Texas's cleanup hitter and a starter but he had Tommy John surgery on his elbow and missed the 2002 season.
Paul C. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com based in Tampa. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.