NEW YORK -- It must have been fate.
In the 13th round of the First-Year Player Draft on Saturday, the Yankees selected Sean Carley, a hard-throwing right-hander and West Virginia graduate. Their timing was impeccable.
Besides the accolades Carley earned this season -- 5-3 with a 2.95 ERA and four saves in 18 appearances -- he distinguished himself with his haircut. Sporting a mullet and goatee for the season, most people likened him to television character Kenny Powers, played by Danny McBride in the show "Eastbound and Down."
Once Carley knew he was a likely Draft candidate, he told Twitter that he would cut the mullet after he signed.
"I was actually in the barber chair, getting the haircut when the Yankees called to say I was on top of their Draft board and they were picking me up," Carley said. "So it's kind of ironic that an organization that makes you cut your hair and be clean shaven picked me up right at that moment."
Carley pitched at the Air Force Academy to begin his collegiate career, but at the end of two seasons, he tore his ulnar collateral ligament and underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012. After rehabbing, he transferred to West Virginia but was forced to sit out another year due to transfer rules.
Still, the San Diego Padres wanted him enough to select him in the 34th round of the 2013 Draft, even though he hadn't thrown a real pitch in nearly two years. He rejected their offer and decided to play for the Mountaineers.
"The Padres organization and I weren't able to come to an agreement," Carley said. "I was really excited to compete in the Big 12, obviously a great baseball conference. Being able to come out there and throw well in that conference and playing with guys I was with, I couldn't ask for a better situation."
Carley was used out of the bullpen this year but also started nine games, finishing with 47 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings. Before the Yankees pulled the trigger, he admitted there were probably seven teams he was in contact with trying to settle on a dollar figure. Now, Carley is relieved the process is over.
"Today's been a pretty hectic day," he said. "I know where I'm going and I can just look towards the future now and continue to work and get better, and hopefully bring a ring back to the Bronx.
As for the mullet, 2014 was the first time Carley was allowed to grow it out. The Air Force Academy required short hair, so when he transferred east, Carley let his locks grow and complemented them with a goatee. Now, he'll have to shed that persona with the Yankees.
"It was kind of tough," he said. "I wasn't really ready to let it go, but obviously, I'm really excited with a good opportunity.
"I'm buying myself a Yankee cap right now."
Jake Kring-Schreifels is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.