|06.08.10 at 3:04 pm ET|
With picks in the sixth (203rd), seventh (233rd), and eighth round (263rd) in the 2010 MLB draft, the Red Sox selected center fielder Kendrick Perkins from La Porte High School, left-handed pitcher Chris Hernandez from Miami, and right-handed pitcher Mathew Price from Virginia Tech.
After drafting three straight college players, Perkins is the fourth straight high school prospect selected by Boston. He’s committed to Texas A&M and is one of the better high school athletes in the draft this year. According to Baseball Beginnings, Perkins possesses three above-average tools with a strong arm and good speed and power. Despite being an inexperienced hitter, his speed makes him a threat on the base paths.
Hernandez is a prospect who received a lot of hype after his phenomenal freshman season at Miami in which he went 11-0 with a 2.72 ERA. This season as a junior, he had an ERA of 3.02 while striking out 95 batters in 89 1/3 innings. Sox Prospects characterizes Hernandez as a strikeout pitcher with velocity in the high 80’s and good command.
After struggling in his freshman season, Price made great strides as a sophomore. He lowered his ERA from 6.90 to 4.95 while improving his record from 3-4 to 7-4. He has three pitches with his fastball ranging from the low to mid 90’s and a curveball and changeup that both need work but could be effective at the next level, according to SB Nation Boston.
|06.08.10 at 1:52 pm ET|
After taking Sean Coyle with the 110th pick, the Red Sox selected another shortstop in Garin Cecchini from Barbe High School with the 143th pick in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB draft. Boston then selected right fielder Henry Ramos from Alfonso Casta Martinez High School with the 173rd pick in the fifth round.
Cecchini has committed to LSU next year and was ranked No. 46 in the Top 50 overall draft prospects by Baseball America. An ACL injury, however, kept him off the field this season and prevented Cecchini from being selected in the earlier rounds of the draft, according to Over the Monster.
Ramos is listed at 6-2, 190, and is an 18-year-old switch hitter with relatively raw talent. According to Sox Prospects, he shows a lot of potential despite only playing baseball for a year and his athleticism comes from playing soccer at a high level.
|06.08.10 at 1:23 pm ET|
The Red Sox selected shortstop Sean Coyle from Germantown Academy (HS) with the 110th pick in the third round of the 2010 MLB draft. The 5-9 shortstop batted .529 with his school single-season record 13 home runs, 50 RBI, and 20 stolen bases in 20 attempts in his senior season. Coyle helped lead the Patriots to a 29-3 record and the Pennsylvania Independent Schools state championship.
Last Wednesday, he was named the 2009-10 Gatorade Pennsylvania Baseball Player of the Year and though he signed with North Carolina, Coyle traveled to Boston to work out at Fenway Park.
“The workout was a lot of fun. It’s obviously a historic park,” said Coyle. “I thought I did pretty well and hopefully impressed some guys.”
Clearly, as a third rounder, he did. Of course, the Sox might have been uniquely positioned to appreciate Coyle’s skill set, given the player to whom he is most often compared.
“A lot of people like to draw parallels between me and [Dustin Pedroia], just because I play second base and I’m kind of a smaller guy, and I like to play the game hard. I definitely look up to him as a premier player,” said Coyle. “My best physical asset is probably speed. I like to run a lot. And obviously, being a small guy, I’d like to work on my power numbers and improve my game.”
Coyle met with several Sox officials during the workout, including GM Theo Epstein and scouting director Amiel Sawdaye. While there have been reports that an agreement is in place with the Sox, Coyle said that he does not yet have an agreement with the Red Sox, and that he expects to sit down with the team in the next couple of days to determine whether he will turn pro or honor his scholarship to play at the University of North Carolina, where his brother, Tommy Coyle, just finished his freshman year.
“We haven’t come to any agreements yet. It’s still a discussion,” said Coyle. “My brother attends North Carolina. I’d love to play with him. Pro ball offers the opportunity to go out and play baseball everyday as a job, and to really improve my skills as a baseball player.”
Alex Speier contributed to this report.
|06.08.10 at 12:40 pm ET|
The Red Sox selected Texas right-handed pitcher Brandon Workman with the 57th pick in the 2nd round of the 2010 MLB Draft. Workman, who is listed at 6-5, 220, was 12-1 with a 3.43 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 99 2/3 innings in 2010 for the Longhorns. This was the first season as a full-time starter at the collegiate level for the 21-year-old pitcher, although many project him as a reliever in the major leagues. He throws a 90-95 mph fastball, a plus cutter and a “good feel for his changeup,” according to MLB.com’s Draft Report. (You can see the report along with a short video by clicking here).
Several projections had him going higher than the second round. Keith Law of ESPN even said “He’s a mid-first-rounder for me, and if he slips into the mid-20s someone will get a nice bargain.” A Baseball America mock draft had him going at the 21st pick to the Twins but mentioned that perhaps the Sox were considering taking him with the 20th selection. He was previously a third-round (107th overall) pick of the Phillies in 2007 but chose to attend Texas instead of signing.
|06.08.10 at 10:50 am ET|
When Tim Wakefield takes the mound against the Indians Tuesday night, he’ll look to throw the fifth straight quality start by Boston pitchers after Daisuke Matsuzaka extended the streak to four games with an eight-inning, no-run performance in Boston’s 4-1 win Monday. The Indians will try to get a quality start of their own from David Huff, who will be making his first start since taking a line drive to the head off the bat of Alex Rodriguez on May 29.
Wakefield (1-4, 6.02 ERA) will have a few issues of his own to deal with Wednesday. In his last two starts, he has allowed a total of 15 earned runs, causing his ERA to jump from 4.44 after an eight-inning shutout of the Phillies on May 23 to its current place at 6.02. In particular, Wakefield has struggled in the fourth inning. In the inning when most batters got to see the knuckleballer for the second time, opposing teams scored 11 of their 15 runs against Wakefield, including seven in the fourth inning alone in his last start against the Royals.
Luckily for him, the Red Sox elder statesman faces Cleveland Tuesday, a team he has performed very well against. He is 11-8 in his career against the Tribe with a 4.23 ERA. But he’s performed even better against this particular group of Cleveland players. No Indian with more than five career at-bats against him has a batting average better than .250. Cleveland designated hitter Travis Hafner has struggled the most against Wakefield’s knuckleball, going a team-worst 0-for-11 against the Boston starter.
Despite the Indians’ checkered past with Wakefield, at least some of the Cleveland hitters can claim to have seen him before. Most of the Red Sox cannot make the same claim about Huff, a pitcher only Marco Scutaro, Bill Hall and Mike Cameron, who were all free agent signings in the offseason, have faced. The Sox hitters, though, may not be the only ones worried about what’s coming at them, as Huff returns from the head injury caused by Rodriguez’ vicious line drive. It should be interesting to see how he reacts to his first live action since the incident.
Even though very few Sox hitters have faced Huff in the past, Sox fans should still watch for David Ortiz‘s at-bats against Cleveland’s lefty starter. Ortiz hasn’t gotten a hit in his last 17 at-bats and is just 2-for-23 so far in the month of June after being named the AL Player of the Month in May. Sox manager Terry Francona may be inclined to give Ortiz a day of rest and give right-handed batter Mike Lowell his first start since June 3.
|06.07.10 at 11:05 pm ET|
After they selected Ball State University’s Kolbrin Vitek with their first-round pick, the Red Sox used a pair of sandwich picks to take college players with high ceilings.
With the 36th overall pick, the Sox selected Bryce Brentz from Middle Tennessee University. Brentz hit .348 with a .440 OBP, .636 slugging mark and 15 homers in 46 games as a junior. While those numbers represented a slight drop from his 2009 numbers, when he set MTSU records for homers (28), average (.465) and slugging percentage (.930), the 21-year-old was still described by Baseball America as one of the top power-hitting bats in the draft. Brentz suffered a high ankle sprain in his junior season that he told the Sox did not affect his approach at the dish, but that he’d struggled while trying to regain his timing as he worked his way back into shape.
While the Sox said that there is no deal in place with Brentz, GM Theo Epstein said that there was a good chance that an agreement could be reached quickly. That prospect, in conjunction with the agreement with Vitek (an agreement that Epstein did not acknowledge), was encouraging to the GM.
“[Vitek and Brentz] have a chance to sign and get out quickly,” said Epstein. “It’s refreshing.”
Then, with the 39th pick, the Sox selected right-hander Anthony Ranaudo, a pitcher out of Louisiana State University. The Sox’ interest in the 6-foot-7 hurler was widely known. He entered the year as a consensus top-five overall draft pick after a dominating sophomore year that concluded with him claiming the win in the College World Series championship game, but his performance fell off in 2010 as he fought injury (a stress reaction in his right forearm) and then mechanical woes.
This year, he is 5-3 with a 7.32 ERA and while his strikeout totals remained high (54 in 51.2 innings), his walks totals also spiked (27). He has been impressive in recent outings, but because of medical concerns, his performance inconsistency and the fact that his advisor is Scott Boras, who will expect his client to receive a bonus commensurate with his skills when healthy, Ranaudo dropped to the sandwich round in the draft.
The Sox said that they viewed Ranaudo as one of the top players in the draft at the start of the year, and said that he looked strong again at the end of the year in the SEC tournament. Amateur scouting director Amiel Sawdaye said that the team “did a lot of homework on him,” and the team believed that his injury in the middle of the season had presented an opportunity.
“Without the downturn in his performance,” said GM Theo Epstein, “he’s probably not available to us in the sandwich round.”
The team suggested that Ranaudo might pitch in a summer league, something that could give both sides a better gauge of a fair value for his bonus number after this injury-interrupted season.
Epstein said that it remains to be seen how the negotiation might proceed with Ranaudo and Boras. Boras and his clients typically engage in a prolonged negotiation process. The Sox are not concerned about that possibility.
“It’s not everyday you can sign a player immediately after the draft,” said Epstein. “The good ones are sometimes worth waiting for.”
The Sox recognize that draft-day evaluations are often fruitless, and that the true measure of picks takes years to achieve. Even so, the team was excited at the prospect that it had found, in the words of Sawdaye, “three college players who can provide impact.” Epstein seconded that assessment.
“We feel,” said Epstein, “like we got three of the guys we wanted today.”
|06.07.10 at 8:54 pm ET|
With their first-round draft pick, the Red Sox selected second baseman/outfielder Kolbrin Vitek out of Ball State University. Vitek hit .361 with 17 homers and 16 steals en route to winning Mid-American Conference Player of the Year honors. The Sox had the 20th overall selection as compensation for the Braves‘ signing of Billy Wagner this offseason.
Vitek said that he and the Sox have already reached a verbal agreement for a signing bonus that represents “a fair number to them and a fair number to me.” A baseball source indicated that the agreement was for the Major League Baseball slot recommendation for the 20th pitch of the draft. A year ago, the Blue Jays signed college pitcher Chad Jenkins for the slot recommendation of $1.359 million at the No. 20 pick.
Vitek had great workouts for the Red Sox and Padres, and he was also scouted heavily by the Blue Jays, Rangers and Cubs. He is viewed as an advanced college hitter, with good bat speed and power potential. The Padres were close to taking him with the No. 9 pick of the draft, and would have selected Vitek had high school pitcher Karsten Whitson not been on the board at the pick.
One talent evaluator evaluated the 21-year-old as most likely to end up as an outfielder or third baseman in the majors. Vitek worked out for the Sox at Fenway Park over the weekend, where he took grounders at both third and short. He suggested that the Sox plan for him to play third, a position he last played as a sophomore in college.
The team has not yet talked with the player about where he will start his professional career, but with 2009 third-rounder David Renfroe preparing for a short-season assignment, there would seem a decent chance that he will debut in Single-A Greenville. Ball State teammate Jeremy Hazelbaker, a fourth-round pick of the Sox in 2009, spent almost all of his first pro season in Greenville.
For his part, Vitek was less concerned with where he will start his career than with the fact that he will start his professional career.
“It’s very exciting to join such a successful organization,” he said.
He suggested that his strengths are as a hitter, where he stays inside the ball and drives pitches into the gaps. He described his biggest challenge as re-learning how to play third base after having not played the position in his junior season.
While Vitek was announced as a second baseman, he was also Ball State’s top pitcher this year. He led the MAC with a 3.28 ERA this year, and had 60 strikeouts in 79 2/3 innings of work.
Vitek is the second straight toolsy Ball State second baseman/outfielder selected by the Sox, following Jeremy Hazelbaker, a Sox fourth rounder in 2009. Hazelbaker was named the top position player for the Sox in the Fall Instructional League, and while his offensive numbers this year at Greenville are modest (.240/.339/.413), he has swiped 26 bases at this young stage of the season.
|06.07.10 at 8:47 pm ET|
–With the 12th overall pick, the Reds snagged Yasmani Grandal. Grandal was considered the best all-around catcher in the draft. The Red Sox drafted the catcher out of high school in 2007, grabbing him in the 27th round. But Grandal instead elected to fulfill his commitment to the University of Miami, and the decision apparently will pay off handsomely for the Boras client.
—Chris Sale went with the 13th overall pick to the White Sox. The left-hander is a product of Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, a school that just a few years ago had little significance in the draft landscape, but that has now become something of a factory for baseball talent. Because the Red Sox’ spring training facility is based in Fort Myers, the organization had plenty of opportunities to see Sale.
–A lot of prominent prospects remain on the board for the Sox at No. 20. The Sox will be able to pick from a number of players considered to have a high ceiling, among them LSU right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (more on him here), Arkansas third baseman Zack Cox and Ball State second baseman/centerfielder Kolbrin Vitek.
|06.07.10 at 8:08 pm ET|
–It came as no surprise that Bryce Harper was taken with the first pick, but it was unexpected that the 17-year-old phenom was announced as an outfielder rather than a catcher.
–The first New England product selected was Matt Harvey, who went with the seventh overall pick to the Mets. Harvey attended Fitch High School in Groton, Conn., before enrolling at the University of North Carolina. The right-hander, who is represented by Scott Boras, was considered a possibility to fall in the draft due to signability concerns. Some thought that he could be a candidate to fall to the Sox at No. 20, in the same way that another UNC product, right-hander Daniel Bard, was left on the board at pick No. 28 for the Sox in 2006. But the Mets moved quickly on Harvey, making him the second college pitcher taken in the draft.
–Former Red Sox second baseman Mark Loretta was at the draft as the representative of the San Diego Padres, one of many connections between the Padres and Sox. It is worth noting that the Sox turned down Loretta’s offer to re-sign with them for the 2007 season for $1 million because the team wanted to make sure that there was no temptation to take playing time from Dustin Pedroia in his rookie season.
Of perhaps greater significance to the Sox was the fact that the Padres (whose Assistant GM, Jason McLeod, used to be the amateur scouting director of the Sox) selected high school right-hander Karsten Whitson. The Padres were considered likely to draft Kolbrin Vitek, a second baseman and center fielder at Ball State University. The Sox have legitimate interest in Vitek, as evidenced by the fact that GM Theo Epstein reportedly scouted him at the MAC tournament.
As an aside to the Sox’ possible interest in Vitek: Vitek could become the second straight toolsy Ball State second baseman/outfielder selected by the Sox, following Jeremy Hazelbaker, a Sox fourth rounder in 2009. Hazelbaker was named the top position player for the Sox in the Fall Instructional League, and while his offensive numbers this year at Greenville are modest (.240/.339/.413), he has swiped 26 bases at this young stage of the season.
|06.07.10 at 5:27 pm ET|
Just about everyone and his or her mother has, at some point, suggested that the Red Sox are one of the most likely destinations for LSU right-handed pitcher Anthony Ranaudo. The 6-foot-7 hurler was the consensus best college pitcher in the draft entering the year, following a sophomore campaign in which he went 12-3 with a 3.04 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning against some of the top college competition. He was the pitcher of record in the championship game when the Tigers won the College World Series, and his mid-90s fastball, and he also graded as having an above-average curveball and a usable slider.
But in his junior year, he suffered a stress reaction in his right elbow (a precursor to a stress fracture) early in the season and was sidelined for a month. His mechanics fell out of whack when he returned, resulting in inconsistent performances. This year, he is 5-3 with a 7.32 ERA and while his strikeout totals remained high (54 in 51.2 innings), his walks totals also spiked (27).
He has been impressive in recent outings, but because of medical concerns, his performance inconsistency and the fact that his advisor is Scott Boras, who will expect his client to receive a bonus commensurate with his skills when healthy, Ranaudo will likely drop in the draft. The Sox, according to multiple sources and several industry publications, are extremely high on the pitcher’s potential. The team likes to shoot for the players who can make the biggest impact in the farm system, and certainly, prior to this year’s struggles, Ranaudo seemed like just such a pitcher.
But would the Sox pull the trigger on a pitcher who comes with medical risks attached?
Certainly, the Sox attach tremendous value to gathering medical information about every player whom they scout. As Sox GM Theo Epstein said last week, “the currency of the draft is information,” and medical information is one of the crucial components that the Sox have worked to refine over the past few years.
“We have a good process that we work on with our medical staff here. They’ve refined the process. We all refine the process every year,” said Sox director of amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye. “Four years ago I couldn’t sit here and say we’re as comfortable with the process as we are today.”
But in practical terms, what has that meant? How have the Sox approached prominent draftees who were either medical or performance risks in recent years?
–The closest comparable player to Ranaudo to come out in the draft in recent years was Kyle Gibson, a right-hander out of Missouri who was viewed as a top five or top 10 pick in the 2009 draft before a stress fracture in his right forearm. His velocity dropped during his junior year as a result of the injury, and so, too, did his draft stock.
He remained on the board until the Twins selected him at No. 22 overall, six picks before the Sox made Reymond Fuentes their first-round draft choice.
According to sources familiar with the Sox’ thinking last year, the team did not expect Gibson to fall to them at No. 28. (Indeed, it was a draft day surprise that he was still on the board at 22.) But the Sox were comfortable enough with the pitcher’s medicals to be prepared to consider the talented right-hander had he gotten to their pick.
That would not have been a guarantee that the team would have taken Gibson over Fuentes — a player whom the Sox loved, and who is currently enjoying a terrific first year of pro ball for Single-A Greenville, hitting .275/.321/.401/.723 with three homers and 19 steals (without a single caught stealing). Still, the Sox’ willingness to consider Gibson (who is enjoying a spectacular pro debut, with a 7-2 record and 2.27 ERA in Hi-A and Double-A for the Twins this year) offered some indication that the team was not averse to taking a player who was deemed a medical risk by some clubs if his talent justified an early selection.
–The Sox did take another player who fell from the top of the 2009 draft. Right-hander Kendal Volz was considered one of the top college pitchers entering the 2009 season thanks to a strong performance for Team USA, but his velocity slipped as a junior, and his mechanics got worse over the year. He went 3-7 with a 4.50 ERA, and both his strikeout and strikeout-to-walk numbers took a hit. The Sox took him in the ninth round and signed him for $550,000. This year, he’s 4-2 with a 3.33 ERA for Greenville.
–In 2008, the Sox were very interested in taking right-hander Alex Wilson, even though he’d missed the entire season due to Tommy John surgery. The Cubs ended up taking the pitcher in the 10th round, but he didn’t sign and re-entered the draft in 2009. Then, the Sox took him in the second round and signed him for the slot bonus of $470,000. In High-A Salem this year, Wilson is 2-1 with a 3.40 ERA and an excellent 50:15 strikeout:walk rate in 55 innings.
–In 2006, the Sox drafted left-hander Kris Johnson one year after he’d undergone Tommy John surgery. He’d pitched in the 2006 season for Wichita State, forging a 4.86 ERA in his recovery year. The Sox were hopeful that they’d get an undervalued pitcher once his stuff played back up to its pre-surgery form, but his curveball — a potentially above-average swing-and-miss offering before the procedure — has never returned with the same bite. In some respects, though Johnson (who is having a decent season this year in Triple-A Pawtucket, with a 4.32 ERA that represents significant improvement on his 6.35 mark of 2009) may reach the majors, it seems unlikely that he will give the Sox the return for which they hoped when they drafted him as a first-round sandwich pick (40th overall).
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