Yanks find loads of talent on Draft Day 2
Clubs loads up on promising pitchers with 27 selections
NEW YORK -- Luke Murton has followed in the footsteps of his brother, Matt, his entire life. They both played baseball at Eagle's Landing High School in McDonough, Ga., then at Georgia Tech. Wherever Matt went, Luke followed.
So when Matt, now an outfielder for the Rockies and five-year Major League veteran, was drafted by the Red Sox in 2003, it seemed only fitting Luke was in store for a similar fate. Imagine the surprise when they found out the truth: Luke was drafted by the Yankees, instead.
Talk about a sibling rivalry.
The Yankees selected Murton in the 19th round on the second day of the First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday with the 585th overall pick. Murton, a first baseman, hit .354 with 20 home runs and 63 RBIs this season for the Yellow Jackets.
Murton was one of 27 picks by the Yankees on Wednesday, 16 of whom were pitchers. Their first selection of the day was Adam Warren, a right-hander from the University of North Carolina.
"We've always played every place the same -- in high school, in college, even in the Cape Cod summer league, always the same teams," Murton said. "It's funny -- I got drafted by the Yankees and he by the Red Sox. He was excited about it."
The Yankees have apparently been interested in Murton for several years, as they selected him in the 40th round of the 2007 draft, after his sophomore season. After working out for the club during the summer, the Yankees suggested he return to school for more seasoning but continued to monitor his progress.
"I really enjoyed the Yankee organization because they never told me anything that wasn't true," Murton said. "They handled negotiations with a lot of class. I really liked how they dealt with not signing me."
Murton moved up in the Draft order last year, going in the 33rd round to the Diamondbacks. That time, he was much more conflicted, but ultimately decided he still could improve at the collegiate level and would benefit from one more season.
It seems like he made the right call. Murton lost 20 pounds since then and had by far his best season statistically. Perhaps that's why he jumped all the way up to the 19th round this year.
But he's just glad the Yankees never forgot about him two years later.
"It's the New York Yankees," Murton said. "All the World Series titles. It's one of those teams, if the Yankees are on TV, I'm watching. Their fans are awesome."
Another notable pick was pitcher Shane Greene, out of Daytona (Fla.) State College. Greene began his collegiate career at the University of West Florida before undergoing Tommy John surgery in May 2008 and losing his scholarship.
He began an intense training and rehab regimen at Daytona, where he made a fascinating discovery. At West Florida, his fastball never topped 89. Since his operation, he has been clocked as high as 93 and 94 mph. He returned to the mound a month ago and elevated himself from an unknown to a pitcher drafted by the Yankees in the 15th round.
"There are very few hidden people, especially in the state of Florida," said Tim Touma, the coach at Daytona Beach. "He was truly a hidden gem. The Yankees did a good job with it. Very few guys knew about Shane Greene."
On the other end of the spectrum, the Yankees drafted Sean Black, who was a huge prospect out of high school. Black was selected in the second round of the 2006 Draft by the Nationals, but chose to attend Seton Hall and not sign.
He was picked in the seventh round this year, after not enjoying the same success in college as he did in high school. Nevertheless, he believes not signing originally was the right decision.
"Not signing definitely helped," Black said. "Out of high school, kids get put in the system and you can go from being dominant, never having failures, to failing, and it could hurt your self esteem. In college, it's about learning. You want to win, but it's also about learning."
Round 4, Adam Warren, RHP, North Carolina: Warren emerged this season as arguably the Tar Heels' top starting pitcher, going 9-2 with a 3.23 ERA -- third best among all Atlantic Coast Conference pitchers with at least 10 starts. He has compiled 97 strikeouts to go with 34 walks. In four years at UNC, Warren has amassed an impressive 31-4 record. His fastball settles between 90-92 mph regularly, and he features a changeup, curveball and cutter.
Round 5, Caleb Cotham, RHP, Vanderbilt: There's no doubt Cotham has good stuff -- the question is his health. Cotham, a junior from Mt. Juliet, Tenn., suffered a partially torn meniscus in May and will undergo surgery at the end of the season, but the Yankees were confident enough in his knee to select him with pick No. 165. He is 7-5 this season for Vanderbilt with a 4.10 ERA in 13 starts. He has 84 strikeouts in 79 innings, featuring a fastball that touches the upper 90s.
Round 6, Robert Lyerly, 3B, UNC - Charlotte: A left-handed batter with a pure swing, Lyerly put together a dominant 2009 season for the 49ers, hitting .401 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs and was the best hitter the Atlantic 10 conference. He also showed versatility, playing third, second and first this year, committing only two errors in 364 total chances.
Yankees -- Top five selections
|29||CF||Zachary Heathcott||Texas HS|
|76||C||John Murphy||The Pendleton School|
|135||RHP||Adam Warren||UNC Chapel Hill|
|165||RHP||Caleb Cotham||Vanderbilt U|
|195||3B||Robert Lyerly||UNC Charlotte|
|Complete Yankees Draft results >|
Round 7, Sean Black, RHP, Seton Hall: Black is a right-handed starting pitcher with a fastball that hovers around the low 90s. He went 4-6 this season for the Pirates with a 3.99 ERA. He pitches to contact, striking out just 70 hitters in 85 2/3 innings. He was drafted out of high school in the second round of the 2006 Draft by the Washington Nationals but did not sign.
Round 8, Samuel Elam, LHP, Notre Dame: Elam struggled this year primarily as a relief pitcher for the Fighting Irish. His problem was his command, walking 29 batters in 31 1/3 innings, despite his 38 strikeouts. Elam went 1-1 with a 5.74 ERA, and the Yankees will likely want to see him throw more strikes consistently.
Round 9, Gavin Brooks, LHP, UCLA: Brooks was a starter for the Bruins as a freshman and sophomore before emerging as the team's closer this year. He went 0-4 with a 4.71 ERA but led UCLA with eight saves. In his three collegiate seasons, he is 12-14 with a 4.71 ERA, along with 196 strikeouts in 218 innings.
Round 10, Tyler Lyons, LHP, Oklahoma State: Lyons was the Cowboys' workhorse this season, leading the team with 97 1/3 innings in 16 appearances (15 starts). He went 7-6 with a 4.07 ERA and tossed two complete games. Lyons' fastball currently tops in the upper 80s, but he features strong command and an above-average curveball and changeup.
Round 11, Neil Medchill, OF, Oklahoma State: A left-handed power hitter, Medchill had a monster season this year as a junior, hitting .332 while leading the team with 14 home runs and 57 RBIs. He was drafted in the 33rd round of last year's draft by the New York Mets but did not sign.
Round 12, Brett Gerritse, RHP, Pacifica High School (Garden Grove, Calif.): Gerritse wowed scouts with a fastball in the 90s and an even better curveball in his dominating senior season of high school. It is unlikely the Yankees will sign Gerritse, though, as he appears to be firmly committed to Long Beach State.
Round 13: DeAngelo Mack, OF, South Carolina: Mack was possibly the Gamecocks' best player this season, hitting a team-high .361 with 14 home runs and 60 RBIs. He also added 12 doubles and three triples, also leading the squad with 92 hits. Mack is expected to sign with the Yankees.
Round 14, Graham Stoneburner, RHP, Clemson: Stoneburner filled a key role in the Tigers' pitching staff, making seven starts and appearing 13 times out of the bullpen. Overall, he went 7-4 with a 3.52 ERA and one save. He compiled 71 strikeouts against just 19 walks in 64 innings. His brother, Davis, is in the Texas Rangers' organization and is hitting .256 this season at Class A Bakersfield.
Round 15: Shane Greene, RHP, Daytona Beach Community College: Coming out of high school, Greene had never topped 89 mph on the radar gun. Then he underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in May 2008 and has since been clocked at 94. He was not considered a prospect before his surgery and has now been drafted by the Yankees.
Round 16, Bryan Mitchell, RHP, Rockingham County High School (Reidsville, N.C.): Mitchell went 5-2 this season with 87 walks in 45 1/3 innings. He impressed scouts in the first round of the 2009 state playoffs, pitching a three-hitter with 18 strikeouts. He is committed to North Carolina, and it is unknown if he will sign with the Yankees.
Round 17, Chad Thompson, RHP, El Toro High School (Lake Forest, Calif.): A 6-foot-8 right-hander, Thompson is a power pitcher ranked the No. 23 best high school player in the country by Baseball America Prospects. He has signed a Letter of Intent with Arizona State. He is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, finishing his senior season 4-0 with a 0.27 ERA.
Round 18, Hector Rabago, C, Southern California: Rabago didn't hit much this season, batting just .257 with a homer and 24 RBIs. He came up as a pitcher and infielder, but has since moved to catcher, where he has been garnering attention for his defense.
Round 19, Luke Murton, 1B, Georgia Tech: Murton had a big offensive season, hitting .354 with 20 home runs and 63 RBIs. He compiled 12 doubles, three triples, 73 hits and 64 runs scored. He was drafted by the Yankees in the 40th round in 2007 but elected to return to school. He was taken in the 33rd round by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008. His brother, Matt, is 12-for-45 with the Colorado Rockies this season.
Round 20, Thomas Keeling, LHP, Oklahoma State: Keeling went 5-1 with a 4.41 ERA this season for the Cowboys, making six starts and 10 other appearances out of the bullpen. He struggled with his command his first collegiate seasons, but improved this year with 21 walks in 51 innings.
Round 21, Joseph Talerico, CF, Brookdale Community College (Lincroft, N.J.): At 6-feet, 195 pounds, Talerico is from Toms River, N.J., and led Brookdale to the semifinals of the NJCAA Division III World Series in May.
Round 22, Richard Soignier, SS, Louisiana-Monroe: Soignier led his team by batting .376, along with 11 home runs and a team-high 71 RBIs. He added 22 doubles and a triple. He was drafted in the 17th round last season by the Florida Marlins. Soignier played all nine positions in a game on May 15 to honor his career and All-American season.
Round 23, Kevin Mahoney, 3B, Canisius: Mahoney led the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with 22 home runs and 62 RBIs this season to go along with a .330 batting average. He is the all-time program leader in runs, hits, doubles, RBIs and total bases.
Round 24, Isaac Harrow, 2B, Appalachian State: Despite his small 5-foot-11 frame, Harrow demonstrated serious power this year. He hit .422 (21-for-92) with 12 home runs and 75 RBIs in just 54 games. Harrow battled injuries the first two years of his collegiate career, including Tommy John surgery as a sophomore.
Round 25, Shaeffer Hall, LHP, Kansas: Hall started 15 games for the Jayhawks this season, going 5-6 with a 4.18 ERA, including two shutouts. He led the staff with 92 2/3 innings pitched. Hall was drafted in the 28th round in 2006 by the Rangers.
Round 26, Stephen Bruno, SS, Gloucester Catholic High School (Gloucester City, N.J.): Bruno has signed a Letter of Intent with Virginia, but may end up signing with the Yankees. He is only 5-foot-9 but is known for his high energy and strong defensive ability in the infield.
Round 27, Jeffrey Farnham, C, New Mexico State: The Yankees continued to load up on catchers, taking Farnham with pick No. 825. An offensive minded backstop, Farnham hit .371 this year with 13 home runs and 76 RBIs.
Round 28, Aaron Meade, LHP, Missouri State: Meade just finished his sophomore season, going 9-2 with a 3.39 ERA, striking out 89 batters in 90 1/3 innings. His fastball is deceivingly hard, especially for a left-hander and has been an instant success at Missouri State coming out of Kansas City, Mo.
Round 29, Scott Matyas, RHP, Minnesota: Matyas was a star closer for Minnesota this season, recording 15 saves to go with a 2.22 ERA. He compiled 45 strikeouts against just seven walks in 28 1/3 innings and has been groomed for relief work at the next level. Matyas had Tommy John surgery his junior year of high school.
Round 30, Kyle McKenzie, RHP, Thayer Academy (Braintree, Mass.): McKenzie finished his high school career with a 17-1 record. The lone loss came in a game in which he had a no-hitter into the seventh inning. This year, he was 7-0 with a 0.88 ERA and won the state's Gatorade Player of the Year award.
Jared Diamond is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.