Yankees: Scouting is responsible for their elite farm system
Once the Brian Cashman era ends, the man touted by many to be the next general manager of the Yankees is Damon Oppenheimer.
A week ago, I wrote a piece how the Yankees had replaced the “Core Four” with a collection of players drafted or signed and then developed by the organization. I called them “The Magnificent Seven.” I added to the list other notable roster bound Yanks who arrived at the club in the same way but are not “core” to team’s long-term future.
So who found these diamonds in the rough? Yankees’ scouts often get the blame when a prospect doesn’t work out, and as head of that program, the successes and failures must be attributed to head scout Damon Oppenheimer. Everything begins with the scouts.
The Yankees vice president and director of amateur scouting since 2005, Oppenheimer, should be largely credited for the organization’s talent-rich farm system and the array of homegrown stars that make the big league roster shine so bright.
Here is a list of some current players that were scouted and then drafted or signed by the Yanks, and subsequently made their way up through the farm system:
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Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Tyler Wade, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery, David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Austin Romine and Adam Warren.
Not too shabby! How many were other scouted gems traded to upgrade the Yankees’ roster? Giancarlo Stanton, Didi Gregorius, and even Aroldis Chapman didn’t fall off the banana truck.
Oppenheimer became the director of player personnel for the Yanks in 2001 and was promoted to scouting director in 2005. He was considered for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ GM vacancy after the 2010 season, but the Yankees denied the Diamondbacks permission to interview him.
Despite his remarkable achievements and assist in the rebuilding of a once in shambles Yankees’ farm system, the 59-year-old head of scouting still lives in the shadows behind three key members of the Yankees front office: Brian Cashman, Tim Naehring and Cashman’s former right-hand man and ex-vice president of player development, Gary Denbow.
Derek Jeter recently snapped up Denbo to head up his Miami Marlins’ scouting division.
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Many will argue that the credit for the dramatic Yankees’ turnaround goes to these three, but hey, you can’t sign and develop a player if the scouts didn’t find him. As I previously stated, everything begins with scouting, so the “proverbial buck” stops with Oppenheimer.
Oppenheimer is not a seeker of headlines, and we may not hear about him very often in the news, but for the last 13 years, he has quietly been one of the principal architects to what may become one of the greatest Yankee dynasties ever. Lets finally give the “boss” some credit.