Add a new name to the rumor list. Not 30 seconds after another club official told me he thought the Yankees were going to take Zach Kroenke with the first overall pick, Joel Sherman is reporting that Dodgers outfielder Jamie Hoffmann will be the Yankees choice in the Rule 5.
Hoffmann’s minor league career has been more or less split between center field and right field. He hit .282/.390/.553 against left-handed pitchers last season in Triple-A and got a little bit of time with the big league club. His splits against right-handers are actually pretty good as well. He was taken off the Dodgers 40-man roster on September 1 when the Dodgers made a series of call-ups and activated Jon Garland.
UPDATE, 9:05 p.m.: Jamie Hoffmann is officially the first pick.
UPDATE, 9:07 p.m.: Back to back lefties with the third and fourth picks, Ben Snyder and Edgar Osuna. Not Zach Kroenke, kind of surprising.
UPDATE, 9:08 p.m.: There’s Kroenke. The Diamondbacks just took Zach Kroenke with the fifth pick.
UPDATE, 9:09 p.m.: Padres pass. Could have taken a pick but chose not to. Really Padres? You’re all set? Not worth the risk?
UPDATE, 9:10 p.m.: Brewers took pitcher Chuck Lofgren from the Indians. I’ve seen him quite a bit.
UPDATE, 9:11 p.m.: Second Yankee taken. Seattle just took Kanekoa Texeira, the guy the Yankees got in the Swisher trade.
UPDATE, 9:14 p.m.: Boston passed.
UPDATE, 9:15 p.m.: Yankees passed on their official pick.
UPDATE, 9:16 p.m.: Major league phase is over. No team selected in the second round. Kroenke and Texeira were the only Yankees taken.
Hoffmann wasn’t getting much buzz coming into the draft. In fact, I don’t think he was getting any buzz coming into the draft. But he hits left-handed pitching and that seems to be what makes him so appealing to the Yankees. Right now he’s hitting just .235 in the Dominican Winter League, but against lefties he’s hitting .368 with a .478 on-base percentage. He doesn’t seem to have Brett Gardner-type speed, but he can steal a bag.
Basically, he could play a role off the bench, and that means he has a chance to stick on the big league roster. It’s not an all-or-nothing pick — the Yankees could have taken a big young arm or some other wild card — but Hoffmann is pretty much big league ready. As far as the Rule 5 goes, it’s a pretty safe pick.