By: Matthew Kardos
Like many years past, the New York Yankees did not own a first-round draft selection in this past June's MLB draft. With their first available pick in the second round, the Bronx Bombers selected left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren out of Mississippi State University.
The 21-year old Lindgren signed quickly with the Yankees; inking a hefty deal that included a lucrative $1.1 million signing bonus. The south-paw has ascended through their farm system as rapidly as any player in franchise history. Lindgren now has already pitched at four different levels of the minor leagues (Gulf Coast League, South Atlantic League, Florida State League and Eastern League) despite having a mere 13 career games under his belt.
Currently in Double-A Trenton, Lindgren has showcased an advanced repertoire of pitches that already has General Manager Brian Cashman considering adding him to the big-league club when rosters expand in September.
"It's been a whirlwind, but I'm just excited about the whole experience," Lindgren said. "It's pretty cool that they have the confidence in me to have sent me this far already, but I'm just trying to make the most of it and keep making my pitches when I have to."
Of the 48 outs that Lindgren has recorded over his 16 innings of work, 33 of them have come via the strikeout.
"I'm just trying to execute my pitches," said Lindgren. "The hitters have to hit the ball no matter what level you're at, so you just have to let them try to hit it."
With three years of big-time college experience under his belt, the Yankees felt that Lindgren could take the fast-track to the majors when they selected him nine weeks ago. His heavy fastball and devastating slider may be more equipped to get big-league hitters out than even Cashman believed back in June.
"It's pretty crazy to think that the majors are right around the corner, but I just have to keep executing and take it one day at a time," Lindgren said, "I'm just pitching and going where they tell me."
Lindgren added, "I have to keep getting better no matter what level I'm at, and hopefully one day I can be pitching at Yankee Stadium."
With just 20 games remaining in the minor league season, "one day" may be just a few short weeks away.