George Lombard Jr. became the newest member of the Yankees' first-round family this past June, though with his big-league pedigree, it's kind of a shock he didn't somehow find his way to the Toronto Blue Jays and their roving band of MLB sons.
Lombard Sr. was an Atlanta Braves draftee and long-time Detroit Tiger who currently coaches in the Motor City. His son might've entered his draft year with even higher ambitions than his second-round pops -- though it was expected to take a first-round selection to sway him away from a lofty commitment to Vanderbilt.
The Yankees did exactly that, taking Lombard Jr. 26th overall out of Gulliver Prep in Florida and shirking conventional wisdom that said they'd choose a shortstop out of their own backyard: Sammy Stafura of Walter Panas High School, who eventually went to the Reds a bit later.
Scouting showcase Perfect Game had a camera crew following Lombard Jr. on that fateful day, and just released a mini-doc that showcases the moment he found out he'd have a chance to don the pinstripes.
Yankees first-round pick George Lombard receives sixth-highest ranking in system from MLB Pipeline
That's exactly the slot where you place a high-upside, tools-first prospect who might just blow the doors off in his first full season in the system.
Luckily, the figures lined up and the Yankees managed to secure not just Lombard Jr., but their entire draft class (though Oklahoma State's Roc Riggio took things down to the wire). Perhaps most intriguingly, the documentary showed Lombard Jr. on the phone with his agent, who stated that things worked out "the way [they] wanted them to."
When the Yankees called, they told Lombard Jr.'s representation they were "all in," and only needed the shortstop's consent before they opted to make the pick. In other words, Lombard Jr. took himself -- secretly -- off Vanderbilt's roster on draft night. Kudos to the Yankees for getting a verbal agreement before taking the plunge, and congratulations to both parties on the eventual overslot $3.3 million deal that kickstarted his pro career.
Lombard Jr. hit .311 with a .466 OBP in limited duty between the FCL and Single-A Tampa this past summer, and will be seeking his first career home run when he embarks on his first year in full-season ball in 2024. The marriage may have been unpredictable, but the Yankees and the player came to a mutual understanding quickly, according to this newfound footage. It's hard not to be happy so far that both parties appear to have gotten what they wanted.