The Yankees announced on Wednesday that they have signed their first round pick from this year’s draft, outfielder Blake Rutherford. New York has now signed all ten of their top ten picks from earlier this month.
Rutherford, who just turned 19 in May, fell to the Yankees in the draft because of other teams’ concerns about his signability. The Yankees being his favorite team might have given him the push he needed to pass up college in favor of starting his professional career right away.
After selecting Rutherford first, the Yankees went on to select numerous college seniors that they could get to sign below slot value in order to save money for Rutherford. They would eventually agree to handing over $3,282,000, which is just short of a million dollars more than the slot value for the 18th pick at $2,441,600.
Although Rutherford is a center fielder now, most believe he is destined to end up in right field. Keith Law had him ranked as his sixth best prospect in the draft class, and MLB’s Jim Callis praised his power and running ability. He can certainly still be valuable for the team at a corner outfield spot.
It isn’t often that the Yankees are able to draft a player that comes with all the praise that Rutherford has. A rare combination of events had to happen for him to land in their laps, and he probably becomes their most exciting draft pick in quite a while.
The Yankees announced that he would be heading to the Gulf Coast League to start his career as a Yankee. It will be interesting to follow his progress as the summer continues.