Yankees take OF Jamie Hoffmann with top pick of Rule 5 draft
INDIANAPOLIS -- The last time the Yankees had the first pick in a draft was 1991, when they took
Hoffman has major league experience and tools, and at 25 he's still got room to improve. He hit .291/.390/.466 between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Albuquerque last season, and went 4 for 22 with a homer in 14 big league games. He's a career .285/.357/.407 hitter in 2,428 at-bats since singing as a nondrafted free agent in August of 2003.
"He's a big, physical outfielder with big league experience," said Yankees pro scouting director
Yankees general manager
Hoffmann was the first of 17 players picked in the major league phase of Thursday's draft, with 21 players going in the Triple-A phase and four in the Double-A phase. Among the major league phase players, just three position players were picked -- Hoffman, outfielder
Raynor, a top-of-the-line runner, went second overall to the Pirates, who selected him from the Marlins system. Jimenez went eighth overall to the Astros, who sent him to the Marlins to complete the
The major league phase included lefty
However, he also had a miserable 2008 season, including a disastrous turn in the Arizona Fall League, a year when his mother was diagnosed with cancer. He struggled in Triple-A in 2009 (6-10, 5.31) after a good 3-1, 1.48 start at Double-A Akron. Lofgren throws both a two- and four-seam fastball, as well as a curveball, slider and changeup.
Reached by phone on Thursday morning, Lofgren was excited for a new opportunity with the Brewers, who have only one lefty reliever in
"Obviously it's sad in a way because I made a lot of friends with Cleveland, and I respect the players and the front office in that organization," Lofgren said. "But I have to be excited because I have been picked by a club like Milwaukee that wants me.
"I'd describe myself as determined, a bulldog on the mound, someone who always keeps my head up no matter what the situation is. When my mom got sick, there were things out of my control that affected me, but she's survived cancer and is feeling better."
Lofgren was one of six left-handers picked in the major league phase. The Royals will give their pick,
"He has very good command and feel as a left-hander," Watson said. "He's putting up good numbers in Mexico and we're excited about him. We have history with the kid and feel like there's upside [because] he has very good fastball command and a good curveball."
Other lefty relievers picked include
"I was with the Dodgers when they drafted Johnson," Giants scouting director
"The Rule 5 is like any draft. People like to say there's no players, but you'll look up and see that there was talent in this draft, like there is in any draft."
The Rule 5 draft has been a staple of the winter meetings for years and was created as a method to prevent teams from stockpiling talent in their minor league systems. Players not on major league rosters would otherwise have little or no chance to play elsewhere, though that restriction was further eased in the 1980s when minor leaguers got the right to become free agents after six full seasons.
Major league teams must protect players on their 40-man rosters within three or four years of their original signing. Those left unprotected are available to other teams as Rule 5 picks.
Players who were 18 or younger on June 5 preceding the signing of their first contract must be protected after four minor league seasons. Players 19 and older must be protected after three seasons.
Teams pay $50,000 apiece for players in the Rule 5 draft. They must either remain on the major league 25-man roster or disabled list all season or be offered back to their original club for $25,000. Every once in a while, a Rule 5 pick makes a significant impact, Pittsburgh's