The Yankees made some good moves this past week in the 2014 MLB Draft, focusing on pitching in the early rounds. In fact, their first six picks were pitchers, which is telling of their strategy for the future. After all, pitching wins.
The Yankees gave up their first round pick when they acquired Brian McCann, so their first pick in the second round (55th pick overall) was pitcher Jacob Lindgren, a junior at Mississippi State University. This year, Lindgren converted from starter to reliever, and his fastball velocity jumped from the high 80’s to 93-94 miles per hour. His ERA went from 4.18 in 2013 to 0.81 this year, and his K/9 climbed from 10.45 to 16.27. As a left-handed reliever, he could serve as a valuable weapon out of the bullpen for the Yankees in the next few years.
Austin DeCarr was the Yankees’ third round pick, a right-handed power starter out of the Salisbury School. He has a fastball which can reach the mid-90’s, and both a curveball and changeup that have gotten scouts’ attention, which balance out to a nice arsenal of pitches. The Yankees are hoping that they will be able to build up his durability and eventually get him into a starting spot.
The Yankees picked Jordan Montgomery in the 4th round and 122nd overall. Montgomery was University of South Carolina’s top starter, billed as a hard-throwing left-hander. He is currently 8-5 with an ERA of 3.42 and a K/9 of 8.55 this year. He is averaging just over 6 innings per start, and is a solid fourth round pick with good potential.
In the fifth round, the Yankees selected Central Michigan University junior Jordan Foley. Foley has a fastball in the mid-90’s, with a K/9 of just under 8.0 for his college career. His average IP/Start is just over 6.5 innings, making him a resilient right-handed starter. Scouting reports are projecting that he may be able to throw relief as well as start games, which makes him a versatile option for the Yankees.
In the sixth round, yet another pitcher was selected, this time Mississippi State University right-hander Jonathan Holder. Holder is 6’ 2” and 247 pounds, a big guy who has a strong record of accomplishment as the MSU closer. His K/9 in his college career is 12.64 and his K/BB is 7.9. These are strong indicators that he has exceptional control and ability to blow hitters away.
There is a lot of optimism in the Yankee farm system right now. The Yankees have made some strong moves to bolster their pitching talent. Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, and Jorge Posada all were drafted and went through the Yankees farm system. One day, these guys may share that spotlight.