"He worked his tail off all the time and even more so, he was always accessible to us and we appreciated that. I couldn't see him going through his senior year the way he did and not get drafted."
Fon was named to the AFLAC All-American Classic in the summer of 2004 as one of the nation's top rising seniors after hitting .357 with 4 home runs and 12 stolen bases in his junior year. With a quick, compact swing from the left side of the plate, many scouts believed Fon could develop into a Bobby Abreu type of outfielder at the professional level.
Showing amazing consistency, he followed up his junior season with another solid year for Las Lomas High School in California by hitting .379 with 3 home runs and stealing 13 bases in 20 games as senior this past season.
"Diallo's speed doesn't profile all that much for center field, but he does a lot on pure instinct", said Oppenheimer. "We think he has a chance to hit for average and hit for power. We believe he's a kid that has the offensive tools to play a corner outfield position in pro baseball."
|PROJECTION: Many scouts believe Diallo Fon could develop into another Bobby Abreu. (Photo: Patrick Teale)|
"Yeah, I would sign with them [the Yankees]", said Fon. "I told teams before the draft that if I wasn't a first round pick that I wouldn't sign. But I would sign with the Yankees. It would just depend on what they offer me."
While he won't come out and say the words, it is quite apparent that it would take close to first round money to sign the slick-hitting center fielder. But lost in the debate as to whether or not he'll forego his college commitment at Vanderbilt and begin his professional baseball career this summer with the Yankees is the fact that Fon is determined to get a college degree.
"If I do go to Vanderbilt, I plan on taking a summer off from baseball and get enough credits to graduate in three years before I go pro", Fon told us. "Even if I do go pro this year, I would still be working towards getting my degree during the off-seasons. Graduating from college is very important to me."
So what type of player does Diallo see in himself? "I think I play like Torri Hunter", Fon told us. "I like to play hard and always go all out when I'm playing. I probably need to work on my fielding, but I think I can hit for power and average. I'm the type of guy that likes to prove people wrong."
Even the allure of playing alongside the likes of C.J. Henry and Austin Jackson, two high-ceiling prospects drafted by the Yankees this season, is not enough to tempt Fon to skip out on college without the deal he seeks from the Yankees.
"No, not really", said Fon about whether signing with the Yankees is more tempting with Henry and Jackson close to signing with the Yankees. "In fact, not at all. I'm happy for them [C.J. Henry & Austin Jackson]. But if the Yankees and I can't work something out, I'm just going to have to see them in a few years."
The Yankees would love nothing more than add another high-ceiling prospect to an already underrated stable of prospects in their farm system. "We're going to stay on Diallo", said Oppenheimer. "We got to watch him play and we know what's he got. Boy, he's a really intelligent kid and I really have enjoyed talking to him. He is scheduled to go to Vanderbilt next year but we'll see what we can do."
Seeking a large signing bonus and seemingly steadfast in his decision to go to college at Vanderbilt next season, Fon doesn't appear desperate to sign with the Yankees. In fact, when asked to give the chances of him signing with the Yankees this summer, Fon quickly responded, ".0001%".