Yankees lose six players in 2017 Rule 5 Draft
The Yankees lost six players in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, with four going in the Major League phase and two more departing in the Minor League phase.
In the first-round of the Major League phase, right-handed pitcher Anyelo Gomez was selected seventh overall by Atlanta, left-handed pitcher Nestor Cortes was selected ninth overall by Baltimore and first baseman Mike Ford went 11th to Seattle. The Yankees also lost right-handed pitcher Jose Mesa to Baltimore in the third round, as he was taken 18th overall with the only third-round pick (and thus final pick of the phase).
In the Minor League phase, the Yankees lost right-handed pitcher Yancarlos Baez to Minneota with the 18th pick of the first round, and catcher Sharif Othman to Miami with the sixth pick of the second round (32nd overall).
The Yankees did make one selection in the Minor League phase, taking Cleveland outfielder Junior Soto with the 20th pick of the first round.
Gomez, 24, was originally an international free agent signee out of the Dominican Republic in November 2012. He started last season at Class-A Charleston and finished it at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, going 5-3 with a 1.98 ERA in 38 games and striking out 87 in 70 1/3 innings, and he also threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings for SWB in the postseason.
Cortes, who turned 23 this past Sunday, was originally the Yankees' 36th-round pick out of Hialeah (FL) High School in 2013. He made one relief appearance at Class-A Tampa, 18 appearances (seven starts) at Double-A Trenton and 11 outings (seven starts) at Triple-A last season, pitching to a combined line of 7-4 with a 2.06 ERA in 104 2/3 total innings. He also made one start for SWB in the playoffs, throwing seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts.
Ford, 25, was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Princeton in July 2013. The New Jersey native split 2017 between Double-A and Triple-A, hitting .270 with 20 home runs and 86 RBI in 126 games. Ford spent the postseason with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and hit .242 with one home run and three RBI in eight games.
Mesa, 24, was the Yankees' 24th-round pick in 2012 out of Charles Flanagan HS in Pembroke Pines, Florida. The son of former Major Leaguer Jose Mesa, Junior split last season between Tampa and Trenton, and his overall line was 5-1 with a 1.93 ERA in 84 innings. However, he was most dominant after moving into the rotation while with Tampa mid-season, allowing just one earned run in 35 innings as a starter (a 0.26 ERA) and striking out 42.
Baez, 22, was originally signed out of the Dominican Republic as an infielder, but he hit just .211 in 151 games in the lower Minors from 2014-16 before converting to the mound. He pitched for Yankees 2 in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League this past season, going 0-2 with a 3.51 ERA in 25 2/3 innings.
Othman, 28, was originally a 32nd-round pick of the Marlins in 2011 and spent six seasons with them before being released. He signed with the Yankees last spring and split 2017 between Tampa and Trenton, hitting .223 with seven homers and 22 RBI in 72 games, and had re-signed as a Minor League free agent last month.
Soto, 20, hit .172 with nine home runs and 17 RBI in 52 games at Class-A Lake County last season. The Dominican native was originally signed as an international free agent in July 2013 and has hit .217 in 168 games in four seasons in the Indians organization.