Yanks build depth in system through Draft
Organization excited to land talented players with extra picks in early rounds
Brian Cashman knows the First-Year Player Draft is the lifeblood of any Major League team. No matter how much money a team spends in free agency, the key to sustained success on the field is a deep and talented farm system.
That's why the Yankees' GM was so excited to have extra picks in the early rounds of the 2013 Draft. With a first-round selection and two compensatory picks not long after, New York grabbed a trio of talented players on Day 1 in Notre Dame third baseman Eric Jagielo, Fresno State outfielder Aaron Judge and James Madison High School (Calif.) pitcher Ian Clarkin.
The Yankees added a highly regarded second-base prospect in Rancho Bernando High School's (Calif.) Gosuke Katoh in Round 2, and selected Yankees great Paul O'Neill's nephew, Michigan outfielder Michael O'Neill, in the third round.
Overall, the Yankees added 42 potential fresh faces to their farm system at almost every position, filling plenty of needs along the way. For Cashman, it's a critical part of building a successful organization.
"We have the ability to use every tool in the toolbox because of our ability to spend on the free agents," Cashman said Tuesday. "But the amateur Draft is vitally important for us to do well."
All of the Yankees' early-round picks are players who could someday make an impact with the Major League club.
"We think we had a great first day," Yankees vice president of amateur scouting David Oppenheimer said in a press release. "I'm excited and the staff is excited. We feel really good about what happened for us today."
Jagielo -- the first collegiate position player the Yankees have drafted in the first round since 2001 -- gives the Yankees a polished hitter they can groom to be their third baseman of the future. The 2013 Big East Player of the Year batted .388 with nine home runs and 53 RBIs with the Fighting Irish this season.
"I definitely see an opportunity. That was the biggest thing when I was hoping to get drafted by some team; I wanted to go to a team I could kind of see myself in the future as their big league level at third base," Jagielo said. "I'm just going to kind of go out there and try to earn the respect and the right that everybody in the organization wants me to play there at the big league level."
In Judge, the Yankees found a Giancarlo Stanton-type player; a burly outfielder with both power and speed. The Fresno State product is listed at 6-foot-7 and 255 pounds, and he led the Bulldogs in average, runs, doubles, home runs, RBIs and steals last season.
Clarkin still has to decide whether he will sign with New York or honor his commitment to San Diego State, but he would be a noteworthy addition to an already-strong group of pitchers in the Yankees' farm system. He finished his senior season at James Madison High School 9-2 with a 0.95 ERA.
"[Jonathan Papelbon] is kind of who I model myself after. His competitiveness and his intimidation factor is big for me," Clarkin said. "When you can get inside a player's head before he even steps in the batter's box, you've already won the first battle."
In the second round, the Yankees added a strong middle-infield prospect in Katoh, an 18-year-old who has already proven to be adept on defense and with the bat.
"We were excited to get this guy in the second round," Oppenheimer said. "On our scale, he's an excellent runner with great hand-eye coordination who can hit with some surprising power. He's a really good defender and someone that excites us."
The Yankees took a mixture of proven talent and untapped potential on Day 2, beginning with O'Neill. Wolverines coach Erik Bakich calls the toolsy outfielder the "Laser Show" for his line-drive power and the ability to hit for average as well as run.
Fourth-round pick Tyler Wade (Murrieta Valley High School, California) and sixth-rounder John Murphy (Sacred Heart) give the Yankees two speed-and-defense-oriented shortstop prospects, and Georgia Tech outfielder Brandon Thomas, an eighth-round pick, could be a value pick after dropping on Draft boards due to a bout of mononucleosis he dealt with during his senior season with the Yellow Jackets.
The Yankees also drafted four pitchers on Day 2; Howard College right-hander David Palladino, LSU righty Nick Rumbelow, Auburn lefty Conner Kendrick and South Carolina closer Tyler Webb. Though they all are projects, each has the chance to mature into a serviceable pitcher for the Yankees.
There was more potential to be had on Day 3, as the Yankees started the day by drafting solid-hitting high school outfielder Kendall Coleman and college pitchers Philip Walby and Cale Coshow, both of whom have fastballs that sit in the mid-90s.
The Yankees also stayed in the family some more on Day 3. After drafting O'Neill in the third round, New York drafted Cal Quantrill and Josh Pettitte, both of whom are sons of former Yankees.
Cal, the son of former reliever Paul Quantrill, is a right-handed pitcher out of Trinity College School in Canada who relies on his sinker, just like his father did. Josh, the son of current Yankees starter Andy Pettitte, is a polished right-handed pitcher who has the potential to blossom as he gets older.
Quantrill is committed to play at Stanford, and Pettitte has said he plans to honor his commitment to play for Baylor next season.
"It's a great honor and blessing getting the call from the team that you've grown up watching and all the big leaguers play for," Pettitte said. "It's just a true honor and blessing to get the call from the New York Yankees to say they drafted me."
Overall, the Yankees made 42 selections in the Draft: 21 pitchers, 10 infielders, 10 outfielders and one catcher. Twenty-seven were from the college ranks, and 15 are straight out of high school.
In the pipeline
The Yankees addressed a lot of positional weaknesses in the Draft, most notably in the early rounds. Dante Bichette Jr. is the organizations only third-base prospect of note, and he's batting just .223 in Class A this season. Jagielo could overtake him as the system's top option at the hot corner.
The additions of Judge and O'Neill should boost a core of outfield prospects that are struggling to hit this season. The top three outfielders in the system -- Mason Williams, Tyler Austin and Slade Heathcott -- are all batting under .270 this season.
If he signs, Clarkin will join a talented group of pitchers in the Yankees' organization, including top prospects Manny Banuelos, Ty Hensley and Jose Campos. Katoh will bolster a thin group of middle-infield prospects.
Josh Vitale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.