Yanks' Class of 2006 is complete
New York selects 25 pitchers and 25 position players
NEW YORK -- After two days and 50 rounds, the Yankees have their Class of 2006.
New York selected 25 pitchers and 25 position players, seven of whom are outfielders. The Yankees also went heavy on experience, drafting 32 college players and 18 high-schoolers.
"We took them based on how we thought they were ranked," said Damon Oppenheimer, the Yankees' senior vice president and director of scouting. "I wouldn't say we leaned one way or another."
On Tuesday, the Yankees grabbed pitchers with 14 of their 18 picks, making it clear that they felt the strength in this draft was on the mound.
"We didn't go in planning on anything," Oppenheimer said. "It was a stronger pitching draft, so we went after pitching."
The Yankees' first-rounder was USC right-hander Ian Kennedy, who won Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year honors in 2005. Kennedy, 21, went 24-12 in three seasons with USC and also pitched for Team USA in 2004-05.
"He's a quality college pitcher -- he's had a lot of success in college and for Team USA," Oppenheimer said. "We scouted every game this guy pitched this year. In terms of his stuff, we're very happy with it."
Kennedy, represented by Scott Boras, hopes to sign a contract as soon as possible.
"I would like to go out and play, start my professional career. The earlier the better," Kennedy said. "I imagine it's not going to be very long before I start. At least that's what I'm hoping. If it does take a while, I'm ready for that -- but I want to go out and play."
New York also had a selection in the sandwich round, taking Joba Chamberlain, a right-handed pitcher from the University of Nebraska, with the 41st overall pick. New York had received the pick as compensation for losing Tom Gordon to the Phillies.
In his two-year career at Nebraska, Chamberlain went 16-7 with a 3.29 ERA in 32 starts.
"At the time you do this, you feel really good," Oppenheimer said. "I like our picks -- Kennedy, Chamberlain. They're good-looking players."
Of the 25 position players taken, seven are outfielders, four are catchers, four are shortstops, three are second baseman, three are shortstops, two are first basemen and two are third basemen.
"We got some quality guys who will be good organizational players to help us," Oppenheimer said. "Hopefully, some of them stand out."
In addition to the players selected in the first four or five rounds, Oppenheimer pointed to Dellin Betances, a 6-foot-8 high-school right-hander from Brooklyn selected in the eighth round, and ninth-rounder Mark Melancon, a right-hander from the University of Arizona, as two players to watch out of this draft.
"I'm excited about Betances," he said. "He slid down in the draft because of signability, but at that point in the draft, we felt it was worth the risk."
According to Oppenheimer, Melancon encountered some elbow trouble during the 2006 season, which may have affected his draft status.
"If you look at projections of where he might have gone before that, you're looking at a possible sandwich-round guy or, at worst, a third-rounder," he said.
The Yankees opened Day 2 by selecting three college second basemen with their first three picks, taking Oregon State's Christopher Kunda, Baylor's Kevin Russo and Oklahoma's Russell Raley in the 19th, 20th and 21st rounds, respectively.
North Carolina State's Brian Aragon became the first outfielder taken by the Yankees on Day 2, going in the 22nd round.
The Yankees then turned back to pitching, selecting hurlers in Rounds 23, 26, 27 and 28. Three of those pitchers came from community colleges, including left-handers Brandon Thomson and Timothy Dennehy of Chandler Gilbert CC in Arizona. The Yankees also took right-hander Barrett Bruce from Texas' Flower Mound High School.
In the 24th round, the Yankees took the first of the four catchers they drafted, selecting Brian Baisley from the University of South Florida. New York also took Puerto Rican high-schooler Orlando Torres (29th round), San Diego State's Brock Ungricht (30th) and Iona's James Lasala (44th) to add to the organization's catching depth chart.
New York selected seven pitchers in the final 20 rounds, taking three left-handers and four right-handers. Four of the seven were college pitchers, though Eric Erickson of Sarasota High School in Florida may be the most interesting. Erickson is planning to attend the University of Miami this fall, and the Yankees will follow his progress this summer.
"We had a good day," Oppenheimer said. "The second day is obviously a lot different than the first, but we got some good kids who are going to be quality draft-and-follows."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.