Last week, New York Yankees prospect Jake Sanford was released after it was revealed that the former third-round pick was allegedly stealing equipment from his teammates to sell.
Sanford was accused of not only stealing from his teammates but also of defrauding fans online by selling autographed equipment but never actually sending it.
Sanford deactivated his Twitter account after fans called him out on his scam on the social media platform. His Instagram account, which says he’s a part of the “New York Yankees organization,” is still active.
According to a source, the 24-year-old outfielder was released last week after a team investigation found Sanford had stolen from teammates, including equipment that he would then try to sell online.
Additionally, a source said Sanford, who played college baseball at Western Kentucky, also accepted money from prospective buyers for the equipment, then failed to deliver.
The issues, another source said, could be related to gambling debts. The Yankees declined to comment on the situation.
The Yankees launched an investigation into Sanford’s theft and deception. The investigation’s findings were not made public, but the organization did fire him as a result of it.
Once a prized prospect, Rivera was released by the Yankees during spring training in 2002 for stealing Derek Jeter’s glove and bat and reportedly selling them. Rivera, a cousin of Mariano Rivera, had just signed to return to the Yankees earlier that spring.
The Yankees took Sanford in the third round of the 2019 MLB Draft. Received a signing bonus of $597,500, and the comparisons to Brett Gardner, a mainstay for 14 years in The Bronx, came quickly.
“If this one can do what Gardy did, then we’ve had a hell of a Draft on its own,” Yankees director of scouting Damon Oppenheimer said at the time. “He really reminds us of [former Rockies All-Star] Brad Hawpe. He’s got huge power; it’s easy, he drives the ball the other way. The combination of the power and the speed he has, being a guy who is kind of young and just starting at this thing, it made him real attractive to us.”
Not only did Sanford possess a similar skillset to the speedy Gardner, but they were also both coached by John Pawlowski in college. Gardner, who was also a third-round pick of the Yankees (2005), played under Pawlowski at Charleston, while Sanford’s time with him came at Western Kentucky.