Israel Ávila was selected #1 overall by the Yankees just about two weeks ago in the MLB First-Year Player draft. New York weighed their options for the #1 overall pick. Special advisor to the Yankees front office, Jim Melichar, stated that it came down to high school star CF Jesús Martínez and the afore mentioned Ávila. Ultimately, both time to the majors as well as positional depth in the draft pushed the Yankees to call Ávila’s name first. The Yankees and Ávila came to terms quickly on a signing bonus, $4.5, as Ávila stated he “just wanted to get playing”. Within a week Ávila was assigned to Class-A Charleston and away he went.
The early results have been nothing short of spectacular. Ávila is slashing .313/.488/.500 for the RiverDogs after just 10 games. Ávila even homered in his first game. “Yeah, that was a fantastic way to start my career” , Ávila said, “I couldn’t have dreamed for it to start any better”. Ávila has showed wonderful plate presence in the early going as well, drawing 9 walks to 8 strikeouts. He showed the same kind of skills at Washington State through his college career.
“He’s been everything as advertised, and maybe a bit more” Melichar said. When pressed for a timeline on when we may see Ávila at Yankee Stadium Melichar got a little coy and danced around the subject “When’s he’s ready….”. By the looks of his polished college bat, we may see Ávila sooner than later. His defense isn’t quite as far along as his bat, but the Yankees do envision him staying at third-base in the short term. For now, if you’re a citizen of Charleston, you may want to go see Ávila before you have to make a 10 hour commute to see him up in Trenton.
As a bonus, you can watch the newly signed Yankee second-round pick Ira Mullins hit in-front of Ávila. Mullins was also quick to agree to a $500k signing bonus and is now starting in centerfield for the RiverDogs. This could be a duo we’re talking about in New York in the not so distant future.