While everyone was talking about CC, AJ, Melky and Mike yesterday, the Yankees lost four players in the Rule 5 draft, the most of any organization (the Angels lost three pitchers, the Rockies were the only other team to lose more than one player in the major league portion of the draft). To me this is evidence of how well stocked the Yankees farm system is, at least in terms of pitching.
Remember, the Yankees traded away Jose Tabata and three pitchers (Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens, and Daniel McCutchen) at the trading deadline (Tabata, Karstens, and Ohlendorf are all on Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster; McCutchen is not yet Rule 5 eligible). They traded two more pitchers in the Nick Swisher deal (Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nuñez, both now on the White Sox’s 40-man, with Nuñez being replaced in the Yankees’ system by the non-Rule 5 eligible Kanekoa Texeira), let Darrell Rasner head off to Japan, cleared out another eight spots on the 40-man roster via free agency (some of which were filled by players activated from the 60-day DL), filled the remaining empty spots on the 40-man, and still had enough talent in their system to be the most targeted organization in the Rule 5 draft. That’s impressive.
Since I didn’t address them at the time, here’s a quick look at the six men added to the 40-man roster this offseason as well as the four men taken in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft yesterday and, for yucks, the two taken in the Triple-A portion of the draft.
First the 40-man additions listed in rough approximation of their proximity to the major leagues:
Steven Jackson – RHP
The last remaining player from the deal that sent Randy Johnson back to Arizona after the 2006 season, Jackson utilized an improved split-finger fastball to have a break out season in relief for Triple-A Scranton this year. After the All-Star break, Jackson posted a 0.87 ERA while striking out 26 in 20 2/3 innings against just eight walks and no homers. On the season, he struck out 91 in 79 2/3 innings while allowing just four homers. A big righty who will turn 27 in March, Jackson could be part of the fungible minimum-wage portion of the Yankees bullpen in 2009.