No Yanks dynasty without Draft bargains
Late steals like Pettitte and Posada a fixture during Day 3
NEW YORK -- Bookending 52 otherwise forgotten picks in the 1990 First-Year Player Draft, surrounded by the obscure and the anonymous, the Yankees selected a left-handed Texan named Andy Pettitte and a Puerto Rican infielder named Jorge Posada.
Imagine how the past two decades might have unfolded without those two in pinstripes.
The stories of Pettitte and Posada are by this point well known. Both weaved their way through what was then a stocked Minor League system, making their rookie debuts within five months of each other in 1995. They went on to win four World Series titles with the Yankees over the next five seasons and have survived as two of the four remaining links to those teams.
Derek Jeter, a first-round pick, and Mariano Rivera, an international free agent, are the others.
With two days of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft now complete, it is important to remember the stories of Pettitte and Posada, players selected 577th and 629th overall, respectively. When this year's Draft resumes on Wednesday, perhaps other Pettittes and Posadas will be waiting.
After 111 picks on Day 1 -- including Round 1, Compensation Round A, Round 2, Round 3 and Compensation Round B -- and a busy Day 2 on Wednesday, the Draft will resume on Thursday with the 31st through 50th rounds, beginning at 11:30 a.m.
MLB.com's coverage will include a live pick-by-pick audio stream, expert commentary and the exclusive Draft Tracker -- a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player, featuring statistics, scouting reports and video highlights.
Fans will not only be able to follow along every minute of the way online, but they'll be able to interact directly with Draft-eligible players and MLB.com Draft experts, among others.
The Draft Tracker will also feature the addition of Twitter, and the participation of "tweeters" such as MLB.com Draft expert @JonathanMayoB3, who will also be serving as on-air talent for all three days of the Draft; and reporter @LisaWinstonMLB, who will be writing the up-to-the-minute coverage for MLB.com.
In addition, MLB.com has created a Twitter account devoted to the Draft, where you can stay updated on every piece of info as it becomes available -- @MLBDraft.
That means that as soon as the next Pettitte or Posada flies off the board, fans will be the first to know. And success stories such as theirs happen more often than you might think. Consider that of the 15 active Yankees who are graduates of the First-Year Player Draft, five -- Pettitte, Posada, A.J. Burnett, Phil Coke and David Robertson -- were selected after the 111th pick. And four of those five -- all but Burnett -- were taken after 500 other names had whizzed off the board.
It didn't take too long for any of them to reach the Major Leagues, either. Those five players earned their first big league paychecks an average of 4 1/2 seasons after they were drafted. Robertson, a 17th-round selection in 2006, did it in two years.
The Yankees began their draft Tuesday evening by selecting outfielder Slade Heathcott and catcher John Murphy with their first two picks. Their next success story just might be next.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.