|Yankee Stadium. Photo by Jason Schott.|
The Yankees selected three players over the first two rounds of the 2019 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
With their first-round selection (30th overall), the club drafted SS Anthony Volpe out of Delbarton School in Morristown, N.J. With a Competitive Balance Round A selection (38th overall), the Yankees chose LHP TJ Sikkema out of the University of Missouri, before finishing the evening by selecting INF Josh Smith from LSU in the second round (67th overall).
The Yankees had acquired the competitive balance selection from the Cincinnati Reds along with INF Shed Long in exchange for RHP Sonny Gray and LHP Reiver Sanmartín on January 21, 2019.
Volpe (pronounced “VOHL-pee”) helped Delbarton win the 2019 NJSIAA Non-Public A North Championship and send the Green Wave to Wednesday’s Non-Public A State Championship Game against St. Augustine Prep.
A native of Watchung, N.J., he led the USA Baseball 18U National Team to a gold medal at the Pan-American Championships this past December, earning all-tournament honors by hitting .459 (17-for-37) with 17R, 14RBI and 6SB in nine games. The 18-year-old also played in the 2018 Perfect Game All-American Classic last summer at Petco Park in San Diego.
“We like a lot about him,” said Damon Oppenheimer, Yankees Vice President of Domestic Amateur Scouting. “He’s going to be a shortstop: the guy can hit, he can run, he’s got plus actions, he’s got really good hands, and he’s got a shortstop’s arm. He’s got tools. He’s been on the big stage with the USA national teams, so he’s got performance, and with a deluxe make-up, the kid brings it every day.”
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound shortstop was ranked as the No. 52 overall prospect by Baseball America and No. 63 by MLB Pipeline.
Sikkema (pronounced “SICK-eh-muh”) leads all SEC pitchers and ranks fourth in all of NCAA Division I with a 1.32 ERA (88.2IP, 13ER) across 17 games (13 starts) in 2019. The 6-foot-0, 220-pound junior posted a 7-4 record and was named to the All-SEC Second Team. A Golden Spikes Award semifinalist in 2019, he earned Third Team All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball.
“Sikkema has a unique ability to throw from different angles,” Oppenheimer said. “He’s got plus stuff, he throws it for strikes, and the guy’s a real ultimate competitor. He really gets after it on the mound. He can probably get to the big leagues quickly as a reliever, but we see him as a starter. When you can get a guy who pitched in the SEC with success, it goes a long way.”
The Clinton, Iowa, native was the fifth left-handed pitcher selected in this year’s draft. He entered the draft ranked as the No. 57 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline and the No. 81 prospect by Baseball America.
Smith, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound infielder, is hitting .346/.436/.533 (85-for-246) with 68R, 15 doubles, 2 triples, 9HR, 41RBI and 20SB in 63 games for LSU, which continues its season in the Super Regionals against Florida State next weekend. The left-handed batter ranks fourth in the SEC in runs scored.
Oppenheimer said, “With Smith, you’ve got a left-handed hitter who was playing shortstop there at LSU. We see him as a middle infielder, whether it’s short, whether it’s second, whatever it takes. He’s a left-handed hitter with pop and he can really hit. We like the fact that he has the tools to stay in the middle of the field and be a good offensive contributor.”
A native of Greenwell Springs, La., Smith was tabbed by Baseball America as the No. 67 prospect and No. 76 by MLB Pipeline entering the 2019 draft. He was previously selected by Detroit in the 38th round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft but elected to attend LSU.
The 2019 draft resumes on Tuesday, with the third round beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET. It will continue on Wednesday with rounds 11 through 40, start at 12:00 noon ET.
The deadline to sign players selected in the 2019 MLB First-Year Player Draft is 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, July 12.
SS ANTHONY VOLPE
Selection: First round (30th overall)
School: Delbarton School (Morristown, N.J.)
Hometown: Watchung, N.J.
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 5'11" Weight: 180 lbs.
LHP TJ SIKKEMA
Selection: Competitive Balance Round A (38th overall)
School: University of Missouri
Hometown: Clinton, Iowa
Bats: L Throws: L
Height: 6'0" Weight: 220 lbs.
2019 Stats: 7-4, 1.32 ERA (88.2IP, 54H, 23R/13ER, 31BB, 101K, 4HR) in 17 games (13 starts)
INF JOSH SMITH
Selection: Second Round (67th overall)
Hometown: Greenwell Springs, La.
Bats: L Throws: R
Height: 5'10" Weight: 175 lbs.
2019 Stats: .346/.436/.533 (85-for-246), 68R, 15 doubles, 2 triples, 9HR, 41RBI, 20SB in 63 games