The top Yanks Draft pick from every season

February 8th, 2024

and have easily been the Yankees’ top first-round selections since the MLB Draft was instituted in 1965, each sharing turns as captains on their way to multiple championships and eventual enshrinement in Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park.

But you may not be familiar with some of the other first-round selections in franchise history. The following is an overview of the Yankees’ top selections in the Rule 4 Drafts:

2023: George Lombard, Jr. SS, Gulliver Prep (Fla.)
Lombard received a $3.3 million signing bonus and quickly made his pro debut after the Draft. Damon Oppenheimer, the Yankees’ vice president of domestic amateur scouting, described the teen as someone who “doesn’t take any pitches off." Lombard's father, George, played six big league seasons with the Braves, Tigers, Devil Rays and Nationals from 1998-2006.

2022: Spencer Jones, OF, Vanderbilt University (No. 25)
Standing 6-foot-7 and blistering balls past infielders with eye-popping exit velocity readings, Jones drew immediate comparisons to another Yankees first-rounder in Aaron Judge, who just happened to be enjoying an MVP-caliber campaign that summer. Jones is described as a five-tool talent with big power and plus speed.

2021: Trey Sweeney, SS, Eastern Illinois University (No. 20)
Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 200 pounds, the left-handed hitter has something of an unorthodox swing, but it has worked for him. Sweeney has added power to his game and was named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year for the 2021 season.

2020: Austin Wells, C, Arizona (No. 28)
The Yankees like offensive-minded catchers, which led them to draft Wells twice -- also taking him in the 35th round out of a Las Vegas high school in 2018. The left-handed-hitting Wells had one of the best all-around offensive profiles in the 2020 Draft and impressed during Spring Training 2021 with an advanced approach.

2019: Anthony Volpe, SS, Delbarton (N.J.) School (No. 30)
Scouted as an advanced hitter with a compact right-handed swing who drills line drives from gap to gap, Volpe showcased instincts that helped him play above his tools on the bases and at shortstop. A Yankees fan, Volpe wore No. 7 through high school as an homage to Mickey Mantle.

2018: Anthony Siegler, C, Cartersville (Ga.) HS (No. 23)
The switch-hitting Siegler was the first prep catcher drafted in ’18 and is working to join Jacoby Ellsbury as the only members of the Navajo Nation to reach the Majors. Extremely athletic, Siegler pitched ambidextrously and effectively during his high school career.

2017: Clarke Schmidt, RHP, South Carolina (No. 16)
Schmidt had Tommy John surgery a month before the ’17 Draft, which allowed the Yankees to take him 16th overall. Schmidt made his Major League debut late in 2020, posting a 7.11 ERA in three games (one start), and entered 2021 as the Yankees’ No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline.

2015: James Kaprielian, RHP, UCLA (No. 16)
Kaprielian was traded to the Athletics in July 2017 as part of the deal that brought Sonny Gray to New York. He made his Major League debut in 2020 and joined Oakland’s starting rotation in ‘21.

2014: Jacob Lindgren, LHP, Mississippi State (No. 55)
Lindgren appeared in seven games for the Yankees in 2015, allowing four runs in seven innings for a 5.14 ERA.

2013: Eric Jagielo, 3B, Notre Dame (No. 26)
Six picks before the Yankees took Aaron Judge from Fresno State, they selected Jagielo, an offensive-minded corner infielder. In December 2015, Jagielo was traded to the Reds as part of the package that brought Aroldis Chapman to New York.

2012: Ty Hensley, RHP, Edmond Santa Fe (Okla.) HS (No. 30)
Hensley’s career was interrupted by several injuries, including surgery in 2013 to repair the labrums in both of his hips and two Tommy John procedures. The Rays selected Hensley in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft. He opened 2021 in an independent league.

2011: Dante Bichette Jr., 3B, Orangewood Christian (Fla.) HS (No. 51)
The son of a slugger who belted 274 homers over a 14-year career in the Majors, Bichette Jr. reached Double-A in the Yankees’ organization in 2017, then elected free agency. He later had Minor League stints with the Nationals. His younger brother, Bo, is currently starring for the Blue Jays.

2010: Cito Culver, SS, Irondequoit (N.Y.) HS (No. 32)
The switch-hitting Culver reached Triple-A in the Yankees organization before electing free agency before the 2018 season. He opened 2021 in an independent league.

2009: Slade Heathcott, CF, Texas HS (Texas) (No. 29)
After several injuries, Heathcott reached the Majors in 2015, playing 17 games for the Yankees. He was 10-for-25 (.400) with two homers and eight RBIs. The Yankees released him in May 2016.

2008: Gerrit Cole, RHP, Orange Lutheran (Calif.) HS (No. 28)
Cole’s journey as Brian Cashman’s “great white whale” began as the club’s first-round pick in ’08, only to opt to attend UCLA, believing his Draft stock would improve after three years of college ball. Cole bet on himself, and he was right.

2007: Andrew Brackman, RHP, North Carolina State (No. 30)
The 6-foot-10 Brackman underwent Tommy John surgery after being selected in 2007. He appeared in three Major League games for the Yankees in 2011, pitching 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

2006: Ian Kennedy, RHP, USC (No. 21)
Touted as one of the Yankees’ brightest young arms, Kennedy has enjoyed a lengthy big league run, though he pitched in only 14 games for New York. Kennedy owns a 4.11 ERA in 393 big league games (290 starts) and counting.

2005: C.J. Henry, SS, Putnam City (Okla.) HS (No. 17)
In July 2006, Henry was shipped to the Phillies as part of a four-player package that delivered Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle to the Yankees.

2004: Phil Hughes, RHP, Foothill (Calif.) HS (No. 23)
Hughes broke into the Majors in 2007 at age 20, compiling a 56-50 record with a 4.53 ERA over 182 games (132 starts) with New York from 2007-13. His contributions out of the bullpen helped the Yanks to their 2009 championship.

2003: Eric Duncan, 3B, Seton Hall Preparatory School (N.J.) (No. 27)
Injuries and inconsistency derailed Duncan’s progress in the Minors, stalling for three years at Triple-A. He had brief stints in the Braves, Cardinals and Royals organizations and is now the Marlins’ hitting coach.

2002: Brandon Weeden, RHP, Edmond Santa Fe (Okla.) HS (No. 71)
Weeden spent two years in the Yankees’ farm system before being packaged in a trade to the Dodgers for right-hander Kevin Brown. He later quarterbacked for Oklahoma State, then played professionally for the Browns, Cowboys, Texans and Titans.

2001: John-Ford Griffin, OF, Florida State (No. 23)
Griffin moved to the Athletics as part of a three-team trade in July 2002 that sent pitcher Jeff Weaver to the Yankees. Griffin reached the Majors with the Blue Jays in 2005 and ’07, batting .304 (7-for-23) in 13 games.

2000: Dave Parrish, C, Michigan (No. 28)
The son of former big leaguer Lance Parrish, he played nine seasons in the Minors, appearing at Triple-A with the Yankees in 2004-06.

1999: Dave Walling, RHP, Arkansas (No. 27)
Walling pitched four seasons in the Yankees’ farm system, reaching Triple-A in 2002. His career was derailed when he developed a compulsion to throw repeatedly to first base.

1998: Andy Brown, OF, Richmond (Ind.) HS (No. 24)
A .219 hitter over eight seasons in the Minors, Brown reached Double-A in the Yankees’ system in 2003-04.

1997: Tyrell Godwin, OF, East Bladen (N.C.) HS (No. 24)
Godwin did not sign with the Yankees, nor with the Rangers, who made him a first-round pick in 2000. He eventually signed with the Blue Jays as a third-rounder in 2001.

1996: Eric Milton, LHP, Maryland (No. 20)
Milton was the centerpiece of a February 1998 trade with the Twins that brought Chuck Knoblauch to the Yankees. Milton pitched to a 4.99 ERA over 271 games (270 starts) with four big league franchises over 11 seasons in the Majors.

1995: Shea Morenz, OF, Texas (No. 27)
A college football and baseball star, Morenz played four seasons in the Yankees’ system and one with the Padres before retiring from pro baseball in 2000.

1994: Brian Buchanan, 1B, Virginia (No. 24)
Also included as part of the Knoblauch deal, Buchanan played five seasons in the Majors with the Twins, Padres and Mets, compiling a career batting average of .258.

1993: Matt Drews, RHP, Sarasota (Fla.) HS (No. 13)
Once lauded among the game’s brightest pitching prospects, Drews spent seven seasons in the Minors, compiling a career ERA of 5.14.

1992: Derek Jeter, SS, Kalamazoo Central (Mich.) HS (No. 6)
3,465 career hits, 14 All-Star selections, five Gold Glove Awards, five Silver Slugger Awards and five World Series championships later … Yep, the Yankees absolutely nailed this pick. Jeter was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2020, receiving 396 of 397 possible votes (99.75%).

1991: Brien Taylor, LHP, East Carteret (N.C.) HS (No. 1)
What might have been. Mariano Rivera has said that he is certain Taylor would have been mentioned among the game’s most dominant pitchers. Alas, the fireballing Taylor’s career was ruined after he injured his pitching shoulder in a December 1993 fight.

1990: Carl Everett, OF, Hillsborough (Fla.) HS (No. 10)
Everett was picked by the Marlins in the 1992 Expansion Draft and went on to compile 20.4 bWAR over a 14-year career with eight Major League clubs from 1993-2006.

1989: Andy Fox, 2B, Christian Brothers (Calif.) HS (No. 45)
Fox won a World Series ring with the Yankees in 1996, part of a nine-year career with five big league clubs. The Yanks traded Fox to the D-backs in March 1998 for pitchers Todd Erdos and Marty Janzen.

1988: Todd Malone, LHP, Casa Roble (Calif.) HS (No. 105)
Malone pitched for six seasons in the Yankees’ farm system, compiling a career record of 27-29 with a 4.76 ERA.

1987: Bill Dacosta, RHP, New York Institute of Technology (No. 81)
A third-round selection, Dacosta pitched for three seasons in the Yankees’ farm system, compiling a career record of 5-7 with a 5.87 ERA in 24 games (19 starts).

1986: Rich Scheid, LHP, Seton Hall (No. 53)
Scheid was packaged to the Cubs in July 1987 with pitcher Bob Tewksbury for pitcher Steve Trout. He appeared in the Majors with the 1992 Astros and the 1994-95 Marlins, compiling a 4.45 ERA in 21 games (six starts).

1985: Rick Balabon, RHP, Conestoga (Pa.) HS (No. 28)
Balabon made just one appearance higher than A-ball for the Yankees. To Frank Costanza’s chagrin, forever captured in television syndication, Balabon was packaged with Jay Buhner in the July 1988 trade for Ken Phelps.

1984: Jeff Pries, RHP, UCLA (No. 22)
Pries briefly appeared at Triple-A Columbus in 1986, but a torn rotator cuff spoiled a promising career. He later became a pastor.

1983: Mitch Lyden, C, Beaverton (Ore.) HS (No. 93)
A fourth-round selection, Lyden played in the Yankees’ farm system through the 1990 season. He reached the Majors for six games with the 1993 Marlins.

1982: Tim Birtsas, LHP, Michigan State (No. 36)
Birtsas was part of the December 1984 trade with the Athletics that delivered Rickey Henderson to New York. He enjoyed five years in the Majors with the A’s and Reds, pitching to a 14-14 record and a 4.08 ERA in 138 games (30 starts).

1981: John Elway, OF, Stanford (No. 52)
Elway played 42 games with Class A Oneonta in 1981, receiving a $150,000 signing bonus and leading the team with a .318 batting average. Selected first overall by the Baltimore Colts in the 1982 NFL Draft, Elway used his baseball career as leverage to help negotiate a trade to the Denver Broncos. Elway played 16 seasons for the Broncos, winning two Super Bowls and an MVP on his way to the Hall of Fame.

1980: Tom Dodd, OF, Oregon (No. 7)
Dodd was traded to the Blue Jays as part of a May 1982 trade for first baseman John Mayberry, then returned to the Yankees organization in a December 1982 deal that featured first baseman Fred McGriff heading to Toronto. Dodd briefly reached the Majors with the Orioles in 1986.

1979: Todd Demeter, 1B, Grant (Okla.) HS (No. 51)
The son of former big leaguer Don Demeter, he received a then-record bonus of $208,000 and played parts of five seasons in the Yankees' farm system. Demeter later played two years in the Cardinals’ chain, compiling a .243 batting average in 682 Minor League games.

1978: Rex Hudler, SS, Bullard (Calif.) HS (No. 18)
The “Wonder Dog” appeared in 29 games for the Yankees from 1984-85. He enjoyed a 13-year career with six franchises, best known for his time with the Angels, Expos and Cardinals.

1977: Steve Taylor, RHP, Delaware (No. 23)
Taylor’s baseball career was cut short by injury, last appearing in 1981. He was elected to the Delaware House of Representatives in 1984.

1976: Pat Tabler, OF, McNicholas (Ohio) HS (No. 16)
The Yankees traded Tabler to the Cubs in August 1981 for pitchers Bill Caudill and Jay Howell. Known for his gaudy stats with the bases loaded, Tabler played 12 seasons in the Majors, mostly with the Indians and Royals.

1975: Jim McDonald, 1B, Verbum Dei (Calif.) HS (No. 19)
McDonald played in the Yanks’ farm system from 1975-80, reaching Triple-A Columbus in 1980.

1974: Dennis Sherrill, SS, South (Fla.) HS (No. 12)
Sherrill appeared in five big league games (at four positions!) for the Yankees in 1978 and 1980, collecting one hit in five at-bats.

1973: Doug Heinold, RHP, Stroman (Texas) HS No. 13)
Heinold pitched to a 45-40 record with a 2.83 ERA over 117 games (108 starts) in the Yankees’ farm system from 1973-78. His career was ended by injury.

1972: Scott McGregor, LHP, Loyola Marymount University (No. 14)
The Yankees traded McGregor to the Orioles in June 1976 as part of a blockbuster 10-player deal. A 1981 All-Star, McGregor helped the Orioles to a 1983 World Series championship in a 13-year career, all in Baltimore.

1971: Terry Whitfield, OF, Palo Verde (Calif.) HS (No. 19)
Whitfield played 31 games with the Yankees from 1974-76, going on to a decade-long career with the Giants and Dodgers. Whitfield was traded to San Francisco in March 1977 for infielder Marty Perez, who appeared in only one game for New York.

1970: Dave Cheadle, LHP, North Carolina (No. 12)
Cheadle was a player to be named later in a 1973 trade with the Braves for pitcher Pat Dobson. Cheadle appeared in two big league games for Atlanta in ’73.

1969: Charlie Spikes, 3B, Grambling State (No. 11)
Spikes played in 14 games for the Yankees in 1972, then was part of the November 1972 trade with the Indians for third baseman Graig Nettles. Spikes hit .246 over nine years in the big leagues.

1968: Thurman Munson, C, Kent State (No. 4)
The 1970 American League Rookie of the Year, 1976 AL Most Valuable Player, a seven-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove Award winner, Munson was the undisputed leader and most respected man on the Yankees teams that won three pennants and two World Series championships from 1976-78.

1967: Ron Blomberg, 1B, Druid Hills (Ga.) HS (No. 1)
Best known for his 1973 turn as the first designated hitter in baseball history, Blomberg batted .302 over seven seasons with the Yankees from 1969-76.

1966: Jim Lyttle, OF, Florida State (No. 10)
Lyttle appeared in 164 games for the Yankees from 1969-71. He was traded to the White Sox in October 1971 for pitcher Rich Hinton.

1965: Bill Burbach, RHP, Wahlert (Wisc.) HS (No. 19)
Burbach posted a record of 6-11 with a 4.48 ERA over 37 games (28 starts) with the Yankees from 1969-71.