Athleticism is Yanks' priority in Day 2 of Draft
Second-round pick Gumbs an impressive five-tool player
For nine seasons last decade, Yankees fans adored a right fielder who wore No. 21 in Paul O'Neill. Their second-round pick in Tuesday's First-Year Player Draft, Angelo Gumbs, sports the number to honor a different and less recent right fielder: Roberto Clemente.
Like the idol he never got to see play live, Gumbs oozes both athleticism and enthusiasm. The 17-year-old out of Torrance High School in California -- the same one that produced veteran All-Star catcher Jason Kendall -- has the potential to be a five-tool superstar in the Bronx, and more likely one in center field than at his high school position of shortstop.
"He's a well above-average athlete. The guy can throw, he can run, he's got some pop in his bat," said Damon Oppenheimer, the Yankees' vice president of scouting. "We're pretty excited by that combination."
Gumbs' game has made large strides in the past year alone, especially at the plate, where he's refined his approach. He's hitting .495 as a senior, with four home runs and 22 RBIs. He has scored 47 runs in only 34 games for his high school Tartars.
Gumbs is a cerebral player, as well -- the kind who reads books about baseball in his spare time and keeps a journal to chart his own development. He's clearly a teenager who understands the game's history; now, he's anxious to chisel his own place in it.
Oppenheimer made it clear that the athleticism typified by Gumbs was a focus for the Yankees on Day 2.
"We've realized that we need to get some athleticism into the system and make it a priority," Oppenheimer said, with players such as Mason Williams and Kevin Jordan also fitting the bill. "It fit for us this year. Hopefully we get them all signed and into the system."
Round 3, Robert Segedin, 3B, Tulane University: After missing all but five games of the 2009 season with a back injury, Segedin had a monster '10 for the Green Wave. He earned first-team All-Conference USA honors by hitting .434 with 14 homers and 54 RBIs -- all tops on the team. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound New Jersey native is considered one of the best pure hitters available in the Draft.
Round 4, Mason Williams, CF, West Orange HS (Fla.): Williams could be music to the Yankees' ears, with speed to burn in center field and a potent bat at the plate that hit .450 during his senior season. The Florida high schooler had committed to South Carolina.
Round 5, Thomas Kahnle, RHP, Lynn University (Fla.): Originally from Latham, N.Y., the 6-foot Kahnle projects as a late-inning reliever in the Majors. Although a starter for most of his college career, he was named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA National and South Region Tournament during his freshman season, when he collected a win and five saves in 12 2/3 shutout innings.
Round 6, Gabe Encinas, RHP, St. Paul HS (Calif.): Encinas has already established that he has excellent control for a high schooler; now it's about developing secondary pitches to go with a heavy sinker.
Round 7, Taylor Anderson, CF, Woodlawn School HS (La.): More commonly known as Jake, Anderson is a sweet-swinging lefty from Baton Rouge.
Round 8, Kyle Roller, 1B, East Carolina University: A senior first baseman who returned to school after being drafted last season, Roller hit .324 with 12 homers and 48 RBIs for the Pirates.
Round 9, Taylor Morton, RHP, Bartlett HS (Tenn.): Morton is that rare high schooler who has already developed a bit of a changeup to go along with a fastball and a raw curveball. He had committed to stay in-state at the University of Tennessee.
Round 10, Benjamin Gamel, CF, Bishop Kenny HS (Fla.): The younger brother of Brewers third baseman Mat, Benjamin Gamel possesses the same smooth stroke that seems to run in the family. He had committed to play in Tallahassee for Florida State.
Round 11, Zachary Varce, RHP, University of Portland: In his first season as a full-time starter at Portland, Varce became an ace. The Seattle native finished his junior season with a 5-2 record and 3.48 ERA in 13 starts. During his sophomore season, he collected nine saves out of the bullpen.
Round 12, Daniel Burawa, RHP, St. John's University: The 6-foot-3, 215-pound community college transfer excelled in his only year for the Red Storm, notching a dozen saves with a 4.18 ERA out of the bullpen. The right-hander struck out 31 in 23 2/3 innings.
Round 13, Christopher Austin, C, Heritage HS (Ga.): An 18-year-old catcher, Austin was one of eight Georgians to be invited to 2009's Aflac All-American High School Classic.
Round 14, Travis Dean, RHP, Newton South HS (Mass.): A 6-foot-5 right-hander from Red Sox country, Dean was scheduled to continue his career at Kennesaw State.
Round 15, Chase Whitley, RHP, Troy University: A threat at the plate and a force on the mound, Whitley was a star for the Trojans in 2010. He hit a team-leading .364 while coming out of the bullpen to win seven games and save seven others with a 3.68 ERA.
Round 16, Evan Rutckyj, LHP, St. Joseph's HS (Ontario, Canada): The Yankees reached north of the border to nab Rutckyj, a 6-foot-5 southpaw who only recently stopped playing hockey to pursue baseball full-time. His fastball/slider repertoire is similar, if not as hard, as that of his idol, Randy Johnson.
Round 17, Preston Claiborne, RHP, Tulane University: The second member of the Green Wave to be drafted by the Yankees, Claiborne went 3-2 with a 5.67 ERA and two saves out of the Tulane bullpen. The Dallas native was a four-year reliever for the Green Wave.
Round 18, Kevin Jacob, RHP, Georgia Tech: The junior from Baltimore compiled a 5.23 ERA in 10 appearances in relief for the Yellow Jackets. That step back followed a remarkable summer in the Alaska League, in which Jacob collected 12 saves with a 0.34 ERA. Jacob throws as hard as 97 mph, but struggles at times with his control.
Round 19, Kevin Jordan, CF, Northside HS (Ga.): A standout athlete with five-tool potential, Jordan has been limited during his senior season because of a throat infection. Jordan had committed to play at Wake Forest.
Round 20, Michael Ferraro, LF, University of San Diego: In his first season with the Toreros, Ferraro batted .364 with four homers and 34 RBIs.
Round 21, Dustin Hobbs, RHP, Yavapai College (Nev.): A sophomore out of Las Vegas, Hobbs went 12-3 for the junior college Roughriders, with a 3.05 ERA. Hobbs had signed a letter of intent to play next season at the University of Utah.
Round 22, Trevor Johnson, LHP, College of the Desert (Calif.): Only a freshman, Johnson went 4-2 with a 2.69 ERA for the Roadrunners. Perhaps his most impressive statistic, though, is that he completed five of his nine starts on the season.
Round 23, Shane Brown, C, University of Central Florida: Brown had a tremendous senior season for the Golden Knights, hitting .428 with 10 homers and 43 RBIs en route to first-team all-conference honors.
Round 24, Conor Mullee, RHP, St. Peter's College (N.J.): A long-time admirer of Derek Jeter, this shortstop-turned-pitcher is a bit more of a project. Mullee split time between the two positions during his senior year with the Peacocks, posting a 10.50 ERA on the mound and a .325 average with a team-leading 45 RBIs at the plate. He played in all 205 games of his four-year career at St. Peter's.
Round 25, Casey Stevenson, 2B, University of California-Irvine: The 6-foot-3 senior batted .324 with four home runs and 41 RBIs for an Anteaters team that advanced to the NCAA Regionals.
Round 26, Richard James Hively, RHP, Santa Ana College (Calif.): The man who goes by R.J. led Santa Ana with a 3.06 ERA in 21 appearances, including 10 starts. He had committed to continue his career in the SEC at Mississippi.
Round 27, Martin Viramontes, RHP, Loyola Marymount University: Three years ago, Viramontes was an 11th-round selection of the Angels. He struggled with shoulder injuries during his college career, however, and went 4-7 with a 7.53 ERA as a redshirt sophomore for the Lions this past season.
Round 28, Josh Dezse, RHP, Olentangy Liberty HS (Ohio): Dezse had committed to stay in the Buckeye State and play his college ball at Ohio State.
Round 29, Stewart Ijames, LF, University of Louisville: A 46th-round selection by Milwaukee in 2007, the left-hand-hitting Ijames hit .324 with 14 homers and 63 RBIs for a Cardinals squad that won 50 games out of the Big East this season.
Round 30, Zachary Nuding, RHP, Weatherford College (Texas): Nuding, who was drafted in the 36th round by the Pirates a season ago, went 6-4 with a 2.18 ERA during his sophomore season for Weatherford.
Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.