Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Yankees 2011 Day 2 Picks

The second day of the MLB amateur draft is taking place today and the Yankees made three selections so far. After going with high school senior Dante Bichette Jr. with their only pick on day one, the Yankees started things out with University of Texas junior left-hander Sam Stafford. (88th pick).

This was actually the second time Stafford had been selected, with the rival Boston Red Sox having taken him out of high school in 2008. The Spring, TX native is listed as 6'4", 215 lbs and recently won two college Super Region games to help advance the Longhorns to a best of three series with the Arizona St. Sun Devils. A spot in the College World Series is the prize for the winner.

The lefty throws a 91-94 mph fastball, has a solid slider, and throws a sweeping curve. See Video and more details on Stafford here. Stafford was not in Baseball America's top 200 prospects and the feeling is that the Yankees chose both Bichette and Stafford too high.

With the 118th overall pick, the Yankees went back to high school, selecting right-handed pitcher Jordan Cote. The Winnisquam Regional HS senior may live in New Hampshire, but told ESPN-Boston that he is in fact a Yankees fan. "I'm a Yankees fan, so it couldn’t get any better," Cote said. "I don’t even know what to say…I couldn't have been going to a better team, but I don’t think I've ever been this happy in my entire life."

Cote is committed to Coastal Carolina, but would like to go pro if the money is right. This is the scouting report on Cote from ESPN's Keith Law:

Cote is an extremely tall right-hander (6'6") with present arm strength, and he's a virtual blank slate as a pitcher, having received limited instruction. His physical tools are a pitching coach's dream.

The New Hampshire native has been mostly 88-92 in cold weather all spring, with fringy off-speed stuff, mostly a mid-70s curveball that he needs to get on top of better. His mechanics need a cleanup, if not an overhaul; among other things he tends to get his back elbow up during his delivery, pinching his shoulders behind him and putting pressure on both joints.

He also might slide because like most New Hampshire kids, he's tough to scout between weather, short schedule, and poor competition. But he's pretty athletic and has very little pitching experience, so it's all projection with lots for a player development group to work with.
The Yankees third pick of the day (149th overall) was a local product, New Rochelle (NY) High School third baseman Matthew Duran. Fordham University head coach Nick Restaino had this to say about his possible college attendee (Duran committed to Michael Kay's alma mater in November), "Matthew is one of the best hitters on the east coast. He's participated in two invitation only events in the East Coast Pro Showcase and played for the New York Yankees area code team, which played in the Area Codes Games, one of the top, if not the top, high school talent tournaments in the country. We are excited about adding his talent to our team."

The 6'1", 210 lb 18-yr old may emulate Mark Teixeira in the future- that is move from third base to first base. From Fordham's website, "Big frame (6-1/220)/big swing/big power, lets barrel fly, drives ball to all fields, limited on D, 1B in future".

Duran has already played for the Yankees in a manner of speaking. The Area Code team Restaino spoke about was sponsored by Yankees' General Partner Hank Steinbrenner.
You can video of Duran on MLB.com.

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