The New York Yankees tonight selected two players over the first two rounds of the 2016 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. With their first overall selection (18th overall) in the first round, the club drafted outfielder Blake Rutherford out of Chaminade College Preparatory School in West Hills, Calif. In the second round, the Yankees chose University of Louisville infielder Nick Solak with the 62nd overall pick.
Rutherford, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound outfielder, recently concluded his high school career at Chaminade, where he hit .577 (45-for-78) with 34 runs scored, 13 doubles, 1 triple, 4 home runs and 9RBI over 27 games as a senior to earn First-Team All-Mission League honors. The 19-year-old lettered four years at Chaminade, posting with a .438 (109-for-249) career batting average in 90 games.
The left-handed hitter also spent two summers on USA Baseball's 18U National Team, winning gold medals at the 2015 18U World Cup in Japan and 2014 18U Pan American Championship in Mexico.
"Blake's a guy that we've scouted for a long time, and we couldn't be happier with him falling to us," said Damon Oppenheimer, Yankees Vice President of Domestic Amateur Scouting. "He's hit at a high level, he can run, he's a really good defender in center field, and he's got power. He's got a chance to have all the tools to profile. The fact that he's performed on a big stage with Team USA, where he's been a quality performer, makes it really exciting for us."
A native of Simi Valley, Calif., Rutherford was rated by Baseball America as the No. 9 overall prospect in this year's draft, as well as the fifth-best high school player. The selection of Rutherford marks the first time the Yankees have picked a high school player in the first round of the draft since 2012, when they drafted RHP Ty Hensley with the 30th overall pick. He is the 10th high school outfielder chosen by the Yankees in the first round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft since its inception in 1965.
As a junior in 2016, Solak has hit .380 (60-for-158) with 49 runs scored, 14 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs and 29RBI through 45 games for the Cardinals, who continue their season in this weekend's Super Regional vs. UC-Santa Barbara. The 21-year-old has earned Third-Team All-America honors from Baseball America and Second-Team All-ACC accolades this season.
"Solak is a really accomplished hitter," said Oppenheimer. "He makes hard contact, he walks, he has plate discipline and he's tough. He's also a plus runner, with tools to stand on in the middle of the diamond."
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound infielder was tabbed as the No. 147 overall prospect in MLB.com's pre-draft rankings and No. 153 by Baseball America. This marks the second consecutive year that the Yankees have selected a player from Louisville, following their 11th-round pick of left-handed pitcher Josh Rogers in 2015.
The 2016 First-Year Player Draft resumes on Friday at 1:00 p.m. ET, with the Yankees making their next pick in the third round (98th overall).