The Charleston RiverDogs figure to get a rare boost from the Major League draft, and maybe soon. The New York Yankees – the big league parent club of the South Atlantic League’s RiverDogs - used two of their three first-round picks Thursday night on prominent college players, Notre Dame third baseman Eric Jagielo and Fresno State outfielder Aaron Judge.
Jagielo has played all over the infield for Notre Dame but improved as a third baseman this season. There were fewer doubts about his offense. He hit .395 with nine homers this season.
Judge is huge, 6-7 and 255 pounds. He turned down offers to play tight end out of high school and is considered one of the most intriguing upside gambles in the draft. Judge had a .373 batting average and 11 home runs this year.
While high school draftees often start pro careers in rookie level leagues, college players frequently start at the Low-Class A level. The RiverDogs got a boost last year from Yankees’ fifth-round pick Rob Refsnyder soon after the former University of Arizona outfielder helped the Wildcats defeat South Carolina in the College World Series.
The Yankees with two compensation picks had three total first-round selections. The third was Ian Clarkin, a left-handed pitcher from San Diego’s James Madison High School. He likely will pitch for Charleston in 2014.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff.