Everything is a little delayed today because we had another Derek Jeter last-stop-in-a-city press conference plus a conference call with amateur scouting director Damon Oppenheimer, which just ended a few minutes ago. So, I’ll try to make this quick to get the basic information to you. We’ll start with the draft stuff from Oppenheimer. A few takeaways from the conference call.
The Yankees first five picks were pitchers, but that wasn’t deliberate
“It really was just coincidence because we were real close, within a pick or two, of a position player both with the first pick and the second pick. So it could have gone either way real quick,” Oppenheimer said.
Of the nine Yankees picks so far, eight are college guys; that’s not a coincidence
“I think we’ve had success getting guys to the leagues both as high school players and as college players,” Oppenheimer said. “But it seems like we’re getting some college guys up there a little quicker and through the system a little quicker. So, if all’s equal right now, we’re kind of looking at it that we might lean toward the college guy if everything’s equal.”
The plan for top pick Jacob Lindgren
Oppenheimer made it clear that the Yankees intend to keep Lindgren in the bullpen as a power left-handed reliever. Last year the Yankees had three first rounders. This year, they had to wait until No. 55 to take a guy. “It was a damn long wait, I know that much,” Oppenheimer said. “Lindgren, I think, was well worth it for the first pick. He’s going to be a reliever. We know what we’re getting there. A power reliever that has two plus pitchers and strikes guys out at a tremendous rate. We were really excited to get him where we got him.”
The second pick was almost the first pick
“Austin DeCarr from up there in Connecticut at the Salisbury School is a really good-bodied high school right-handed pitcher that’s got power stuff, and he’s not done growing,” Oppenheimer said. “We think that there’s more to it. He’s still projectable. Fastball pitches at 92 to 95, been up to 97, with power curveball. He’s got a good delivery, his arm works good, and he’s a real powerful guy. … The kid was in consideration for us, actually, with the first pick.”
Foley and Montgomery could be standouts
Asked what else stands out about these first nine picks, Oppenheimer singled out the fourth-rounder and the fifth rounder. “I think the Jordan Foley kid we got in the fifth was somebody we thought might go earlier,” Oppenheimer said. “And Jordan Montgomery in the fourth from South Carolina, a left-hander with a swing-and-miss changeup. I think that we did pretty darn good today considering what was in this draft.”
• Now that Carlos Beltran is back, Girardi said he could experiment with the lineup a little bit. Yesterday Beltran hit fifth, today he’s batting third. Girardi didn’t say what specific changes he’s considering. “It’s possible that you could change it,” he said. “I’ve got to see how things go. I don’t want to get locked into one lineup – you’d like to, but you’ve got to see how some of these guys are doing, and then you make your decision.”
• Is Jacoby Ellsbury going to be the regular leadoff hitter again? Not necessarily. Girardi said Ellsbury is leading off today mostly because Jeter’s not in there. “Gardy’s been so good up there as well,” Girardi said. “It’s a good problem to have, so we’ll see. I think at some point during this trip, we’ll try to give Gardy a day off, give Ells probably a day off during this trip, then one day Gardy will lead off, one day Ells.”
• Girardi said he envisions a right field platoon of Ichiro Suzuki and Alfonso Soriano. Obviously that could change from time to time depending on when Gardner or Ellsbury sit, but the basic plan is to play Ichiro against righties and Soriano against lefties.
• Shawn Kelley is still on track to pitch in a Double-A game tomorrow.
• Update on CC Sabathia: “He’ll continue to play catch while we’re on this road trip, and then we’ll see where he’s at when we get home. A lot of it is do your work, how do you feel the next day. But they’ll try to increase it as they go along.”
Associated Press photos