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Yankees draft N.J. native Volpe at No. 30

@BryanHoch
June 4, 2019

NEW YORK -- The Yankees did not have to venture far from Yankee Stadium to find their first selection in the 2019 MLB Draft, selecting high school shortstop Anthony Volpe from Delbarton School in Morristown, N.J. with the 30th overall pick. New York also selected left-hander T.J. Sikkema from the

NEW YORK -- The Yankees did not have to venture far from Yankee Stadium to find their first selection in the 2019 MLB Draft, selecting high school shortstop Anthony Volpe from Delbarton School in Morristown, N.J. with the 30th overall pick.

New York also selected left-hander T.J. Sikkema from the University of Missouri and second baseman Josh Smith from Louisiana State University on a busy first day at Draft headquarters.

Draft Tracker: Complete pick-by-pick coverage

A North Jersey native, Volpe has shone under the spotlight against advanced competition, including for Team USA's gold medal-winning 18-and-under team last fall and then for Delbarton when they competed at USA Baseball's National High School Invitational this spring.

“We like a lot about him,” said Damon Oppenheimer, the Yankees’ vice president of domestic amateur scouting. “He’s going to be a shortstop. The guy can hit, he can run, he’s got plus actions, he’s got really good hands, and he’s got a shortstop’s arm. He’s got tools. He’s been on the big stage with the USA national teams, so he’s got performance, and with a deluxe make-up, the kid brings it every day.”

Volpe, who has committed to Vanderbilt University, is said to run well with good instincts on the bases and defensively. In 84 prep at-bats this season, Volpe batted .488 with 19 extra-base hits, 34 RBIs and 17 stolen bases.

Volpe's selection marks the fifth time in the last 27 years that the Yankees have used a first-round selection on a shortstop. The most prominent of those selections was also born in New Jersey: Derek Jeter, who went sixth overall to New York in 1992.

With the 38th selection, the Yankees tabbed Sikkema, a versatile hurler who saw duty as a starter, reliever and closer this past season. In 88 2/3 innings, Sikkema was 7-4 with a 1.32 ERA. He recorded 101 strikeouts against 31 walks.

A Golden Spikes Award semifinalist in 2019, he earned Third Team All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball.

“Sikkema has a unique ability to throw from different angles,” Oppenheimer said. “He’s got plus stuff, he throws it for strikes, and the guy’s a real ultimate competitor. He really gets after it on the mound. He can probably get to the big leagues quickly as a reliever, but we see him as a starter. When you can get a guy who pitched in the SEC with success, it goes a long way.”

Sikkema usually operates at 89-91 mph with run and sink on his fastball from a lower three-quarters arm angle, though Sikkema can raise his slot and reach back for 93-95 mph when needed. He also throws a high-spin slider and a sinking changeup.

New York acquired the Competitive Balance round pick for Sikkema earlier this year in the trade that sent right-hander Sonny Gray to the Reds.

In the second round, the Yankees used the 67th overall selection on Smith. The 5-foot-10 junior batted .346 (85-for-246) with 15 doubles, two triples, nine homers and 41 RBIs in 63 games, rebounding after missing most of his sophomore year with a stress reaction in his vertebrae. He was previously selected by Detroit in 2016 (38th round), but elected to attend LSU.

"With Smith, you’ve got a left-handed hitter who was playing shortstop there at LSU," Oppenheimer said. "We see him as a middle infielder, whether it’s short, whether it’s second, whatever it takes. He’s a left-handed hitter with pop and he can really hit. We like the fact that he has the tools to stay in the middle of the field and be a good offensive contributor.”

The Yankees have a bonus pool of $7,455,300 to spend on their top 10 picks. The assigned slot value for the 30th overall selection (Volpe) is $2,365,500, and the assigned slot value for the 38th overall selection (Sikkema) is $1,952,300. Pick No. 67 (Smith) is valued at $976,700.

The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET. Go to MLB.com/Draft for complete coverage, including every pick on Draft Tracker, coverage and analysis from MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft and @MLBDraftTracker on Twitter.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.