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Thursday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Josh Beckett vs. C.C. Sabathia

06.09.11 at 8:12 am ET
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In a Thursday night matchup in The Bronx, the Red Sox and Yankees will look to their best arms to take the series finale as Josh Beckett faces C.C. Sabathia at 7:05 p.m. The Red Sox have had the upper hand against their rivals so far this season, and it has primarily stemmed from starting pitching. Sabathia is undoubtedly the Yankees‘ ace, but even he’s been overshadowed by Boston’s rotation.

Sabathia and Beckett have already squared off twice this season, with Boston’s ace considerably out-pitching New York’s on both occasions. On May 14 in New York, Boston scored six runs on seven hits through 6 2/3 innings, marking Sabathia’s worst outing of the season. Beckett, on the other hand, struck out nine over six shutout innings to lead the Sox to a 6-0 win. Back on April 10 at Fenway Park, Beckett threw a two-hit shutout over eight innings before handing the ball over to Jonathan Papelbon for the save. Sabathia only gave up one run, but he walked four and surrendered nine hits in just 5 2/3 innings. The Red Sox won, 4-0, for their second win of the season.

Aside from his struggles against Boston, Sabathia (7-3, 2.80 ERA) has been the steadiest Yankee starter by far, leading the team in wins, ERA, and strikeouts (70). The 290-pound lefty has won five of his last six starts, including an impressive outing against the Angels last Saturday. Sabathia got 26 of 27 outs before Mariano Rivera came in to close out the 3-2 win, and nearly recorded his second complete game in three starts.

While the Yankees starter has the ability to go deep in games, he’s had trouble limiting his pitch count and handling some of Boston’s premier hitters. For instance, Kevin Youkilis has dominated Sabathia, hitting .394 with two triples, two doubles, two homers and five RBI in 40 career plate appearances. David Ortiz has launched two home runs as well, although he’s hitting just .250 with 11 strikeouts against the left-hander.

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Read More: C.C. Sabathia, Josh Beckett, Red Sox, Yankees

Red Sox Day 3 Draft Recap: Sox take Yankees fan who demanded that Epstein draft him

06.09.11 at 2:43 am ET
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On Wednesday night, Luis Exposito got the call. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia sick, Exposito was summoned to Yankee Stadium for his first day as a major leaguer.

The timing seemed appropriate, since his call-up came on a day when Major League Baseball conducted Rounds 31-50 of its amateur draft. Exposito, after all, was taken by the Sox in the 31st round of the 2005 selection process as a draft-and-follow; he was signed prior to the 2006 draft, and over his six seasons in pro ball, he’s developed into a player whose abilities suggest that he has a major league future.

The third day of the draft, for obvious reasons, will feature fewer players with big league futures than the first two. Nonetheless, there are future big leaguers to be found in the final 20 rounds of the draft. Certainly, Exposito can offer hope to some of the players taken by the Sox on Wednesday.

31st round: Tyler Wells, OF, Lexington Catholic HS (Ky.)

Based on the limited available information on the interweb, it would appear that Wells won the John Philip Sousa Band award and was a National Honor Society member at Lexington Catholic, a school that had one of the top baseball programs in Kentucky. He is listed at 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds, and is considered a fast-twitch athlete with a good swing, some speed and an idea of what he is doing at the plate. He does not have a known commitment to a college program.

32nd round: Julius Gaines, SS, Luella High School (Ga.)

Gaines is considered an athletics shortstop with a good glove. He dealt with early-season shoulder issues as a senior, but improved as the year progressed and ended up hitting .391 with two homers. Entering the year, he was projected to be a pick in the relatively early rounds, but appeared to slip due to his performance while playing through the injury. He has a commitment to Florida Atlantic University; Gaines fits the profile of a high-school draftee whom the Sox will follow over the summer to determine what kind of offer, if any, to make in hopes of convincing him to turn pro. Gaines told the Henry Daily-Herald that he was open to turning pro, depending on where he was drafted and what kind of offer he received.

33rd round: David Chester, 1B, University of Pittsburgh

At 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds, he likely wins the prize for the biggest player drafted by the Sox (helped in part because the team’s tallest draftees, such as 6-foot-6 sandwich pick Henry Owens, are rail thin). Chester is a senior out of Pitt who mashed in Big East play. He led the conference with 16 homers while hitting .345 with a .470 OBP and .665 slugging mark. He’s a likely candidate to land in Lowell.

34th round: Ben Dartnell, LHP, Vauxhall High School (Manitoba)

A 6-foot-3, 210 pound lefty from Canada, Dartnell told the Winnipeg Sun that he was pleasantly surprised when the Red Sox — his favorite team — drafted him, since he’d had little contact with them. He had worked out for the Brewers. The article suggests that Dartnell throws as hard as 91 mph.

Also noteworthy: Vauxhall is a place of profound yet subtle significance, as the Vauxhall Gardens in London were a cultural institution from the 17th to 19th century that helped to shape popular amusements — such as amusement parks — into present times. Read the rest of this entry »

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Closing Time: Red Sox 11, Yankees 6

06.08.11 at 10:33 pm ET
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The Red Sox continued their early-season dominance against their chief AL East foe, battering the Yankees in an 11-6 victory that gave Boston sole possession of first place in the division. The Sox took a one-game lead in the division, largely on the strength of their performance against New York.

On the year, the Sox are 7-1 against the Yankees, and 28-25 against everyone else; the Yankees, meanwhile, are 32-19 against clubs who do not hail from Boton. The Sox have won six in a row against the Yankees, including five straight in New York. It is the first time in 99 years that the Sox have won five straight games against the Yankees (or their earlier incarnation, the Highlanders) in New York to open a season since 1912.


–Wakefield wasn’t supposed to start against the Yankees this series, but the balky back of Clay Buchholz resulted in the 44-year-old claiming the start. And he was masterful through the first four innings of the game, allowing just one run on three hits, before seemingly tiring in the fifth, when he started to leave pitches up in or out of the strike zone. He ended up allowing five runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings, striking out three and walking three.

The final line was far from overwhelming, but the knuckleballer’s signature pitch was moving all over the place, enough to unbalance the Yankees through the early innings and put the Sox in a position to win. That has been a common feature of Wakefield’s six starts this year, in which the Sox enjoy a 4-2 record.

David Ortiz continued a torrid stretch at the plate, in what is fast becoming his best year since 2007. He lined another homer — his second in as many nights — in the top of the first inning and later took a walk to push his OPS for the year to 1.010 (as of that at-bat). Aside from the first couple games of this season, it marked the first time since the end of the ’07 season that Ortiz has had an OPS above the 1.000 plateau. Though he was hitless with a walk in four subsequent plate appearances to drop his OPS in 2011 to .999, he is nonetheless re-establishing himself as one of the top slugging threats in the game. He is now hitting .435 with a 1.480 OPS and three homers in June.

Jacoby Ellsbury continued his outstanding season, going 3-for-5 with a double and a steal. He now has eight three-hit games this year, halfway to his career-best of 16 in 2008. He currently is on pace to amass 199 hits.

Alfredo Aceves earned a save the hard way. He entered the game with one out in the sixth, and pitched the duration, logging 3 2/3 innings while giving up one run on four hits and a walk, striking out four. It was the first save of more than three innings by a Sox pitcher since Casey Fossum had a four-inning save on July 21, 2003. On a night when Jonathan Papelbon was likely unavailable after a 27-pitch outing on Tuesday, the fact that Aceves was able to offer a night off to the rest of the Boston bullpen could be felt in days to come.

–In his first start being paired with Wakefield since June 6, 2005, Jason Varitek handled the knuckleballer with aplomb. On a night when Wakefield’s pitches were dancing all over the place — both in and out of the strike zone — Varitek had a passed ball, but otherwise showed quiet hands while corralling almost all of the pitcher’s offerings. The two had an evidently good rapport, with Wakefield remaining in a steady rhythm in part because Varitek was catching his offerings and tossing them back to the mound.

In past years, the Sox were left in a state of panic anytime that Doug Mirabelli was unavailable to work with the pitcher. Now, between the work done by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Varitek, those concerns are something that the Sox evidently will not have to contend with.

–There was a time when Derek Jeter was unquestionably the one member of the Yankees lineup that the Red Sox didn’t want to see at the plate with the game on the line. No longer. The future Hall of Famer is nearing the 3,000 hits milestone, but his .656 OPS ranks in the bottom 20 percent in the game.

With Aceves struggling upon entering Wednesday’s game, Jeter stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth, representing the go-ahead run. Jeter went ahead in the count, 3-1, but then took a fastball for a strike before rolling over into a 5-4-3 double play. The outcome offered a reprieve to Aceves, who allowed singles to Eduardo Nunez and Francisco Cervelli — the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters in the Yankees lineup — upon his entry into an 8-4 game.

Carl Crawford delivered an insurance two-run homer in the ninth. He now has six homers for the season, a pace that would leave him with 16 for the season, which would be the third highest total of his career.


–Every member of the lineup either scored or drove in a run while reaching base at least once. Wakefield did his job holding the Yankees off the scoreboard early. Aceves, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon closed the door late. The Sox took over first place. So what went wrong for the Sox? Beyond the middle innings stumble by Wakefield, and the fact that Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis both suffered three strikeout nights, virtually nothing.

Alfredo Aceves no longer has his bike, but he does have some revenge

06.08.11 at 10:14 pm ET
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NEW YORK — Alfredo Aceves showed them.

The Red Sox pitcher held the fort Wednesday night in Yankee Stadium after coming in for Tim Wakefield, allowing four hits and one run while striking out two in 3 2/3 innings for a hard-earned save against the Yanks. His biggest pitch came when he induced a 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Derek Jeter with the bases loaded and the Sox clinging to a three-run lead in the sixth inning.

Consider it payback.

Aceves, who had spent his entire professional baseball career with the Yankees prior to coming to the Red Sox this season, found himself with his current team in part because of a mandate set out by New York in the offseason. According to the pitcher, because of an injured back he was told by the Yanks not to do any running in the offseason, but instead pick up bike riding.

That didn’t work out well.

“The Yankees said not to run because of my back. I was like, ‘€˜What do you mean I can’€™t run?’€™ So I started to bike and I had an accident,” he explained.

Riding on a 10-inch strip of pavement along a highway, Aceves took a spill. The result was a broken collarbone.

“I could feel my shoulder in my elbow,” he said.

With nobody with him, Aceves sprung into action the best he could, hitch-hiking with the 10-speed left for junk. It would take six cars to pass by before somebody finally helped out the wounded cyclist, driving him to the hospital for X-rays. The prognosis resulted in 11 screws and a titanium rod being inserted in his affected area.

Because of the injury, the Yankees weren’t sure about Aceves’ ability to rehab his pre-existing ailment, the back, paving the way for New York to non-tender the hurler. It has worked out well for the Red Sox, with the righty having entered Wednesday with a 3-1 mark and 3.38 ERA. Remarkably, he now stands at 17-2 for his major league career.

“My left side,” he said, pointing to where the break occurred, “is stronger than the right side.

“My father taught me something, saying, ‘If you want to do something, do it well. If you’€™re not going to do it well, don’€™t do it at all.’ That’€™s the way I live my life. Every day. I’€™m happy every day I wake up. I thank God I’€™m allowed I’€™m alive that day. God has given me the opportunity to live. We live and learn. I just keep living and working hard every day I’€™m alive.”

And while Aceves survived the bike accident, it is an incident he’ll never forget. That’s why, as far as he’s concerned, from here on in, it’s all about baseball, and not biking … no matter what.

“You can run on the field, but you’€™re not going to jump on a bike and go to first base,” he explained.

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Top pick Matt Barnes ‘thrilled’ to be taken by Red Sox

06.08.11 at 6:55 pm ET
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Right-hander Matt Barnes, the top overall pick of the Red Sox in the 2011 amateur draft, said that despite growing up as a Yankees fan, he’s thrilled to be a member of the Red Sox organization after being taken with the 19th overall pick in the draft. Barnes, who is in South Carolina preparing for the University of Connecticut’s Super Regional against the University of South Carolina, suggested that it is a bit odd watching a Red Sox-Yankees series and having an altered rooting interest, but that he was more than happy to change his allegiance.

“It’€™s definitely ironic, but as much as I’€™ve always been a Yankees fan, I’€™ve always respected the Red Sox,” said Barnes. “They have a great organization, they have a great team, they develop their players well. So I’€™m very excited for the opportunity to play for the Red Sox. I know that they’€™ll take care of me just fine.”

Barnes found out about the fact that the Red Sox took him during Monday’s regional game against Clemson for the right to advance. He had been aware of the Sox’ scouting interest in him — he’d seen GM Theo Epstein at his outings on a few occasions — but there hadn’t been direct contact between him and members of the organization in the weeks leading up to the draft, or even on the day of the draft. He had his cell phone close at hand prior to and even during the game against Clemson on Monday, and a couple of teammates who weren’t allowed into the dugout during the game would give him updates on the draft every half-inning .

“All in all, it was hectic, but it was a great day,” said Barnes. “I was very fortunate to be drafted by the Red Sox on Monday, and to top it off, to get the W, and now we’€™re here in South Carolina.”

Barnes came of age with a UConn program that has done the same while he has pitched there. In high school, he was able to live with a fastball that was in the upper-80s and touched 90 mph. In a baseball region where the level of competition wasn’t elite, that single pitch allowed him to dominate his competition, permitting him success on the baseball field even as he committed his winters to basketball rather than baseball conditioning. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 MLB Draft, matt barnes,

Terry Francona on The Big Show: Ortiz ‘can handle himself’

06.08.11 at 3:49 pm ET
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As always when the Red Sox and Yankees play, there was a bit of controversy Tuesday night after Sox slugger David Ortiz flipped his bat following a home run in their 6-3 win. Red Sox manager Terry Francona was a guest on The Big Show on Wednesday and offered his take.

“I don’t think it matters. We’ve got [Tim Wakefield] going. He’ll handle it,” Franconca joked. “David’s a big boy. He can handle himself. I don’t know if there’s any difference in somebody hitting a home run and looking in their dugout and waving or something like that. David’s a big boy he can handle himself.”

As for the notion of baseball’s unwritten rules, Franconca dismissed those. “I don’t know about the unwritten rules. I think the people who are writing these rules aren’t in the game. I don’t know who’s writing them. I think there a lot of different books. Everybody’s got their own thoughts. I think David respects the game. I think he flipped his bat, I don’t know, he just flipped his bat. David’s a big boy. He can handle himself.”

To hear the whole interview, visit The Big Show audio on demand page.

Here’s a transcription of the rest of the interview.

Is the fact that Jon Lester is struggling but still earning victories a good sign?

I think it’s a great sign. Sometimes these things don’t even out. If he can get some wins when he doesn’t have his A game going, he’s going to get it together. We’ve all seen it. He’s healthy. He’s not being as consistent right now as he has been. When he dials it, we’ve all seen it, he keeps it. I think that bodes really well for us.

On nights when you don’t have your A game you’ve got to find a way to stay out there. Against the Yankees that’s hard because they make you work so hard and if you don’t execute your pitches you’ll drive that pitch count up in a hurry, as they did with Lester. But to his credit he stayed out there and he kept them off the board.

How as Ortiz’z ability to hit lefthanders affected the lineup this season?

It does a couple of things. One, it lets me answer a heck of a lot less questions. The second thing is last year we were vulnerable against left-handers. When David didn’t get hits or JD and that happened probably too many times we had a tough time. Now we’re not having to drop him in the order. We can hit him fifth. We can hit him behind [Kevin Youkilis] and he’s a big presence right in the middle, whether it’s against lefties or righties. We have become used to that over the years.

For whatever reason, I know a lot of people thought he was getting old and everyone was taking their shots at him. But he got himself in a position where he wasn’t able to show his bat speed. He was swinging at balls out of the zone. He was check-swinging. He was behind the fastball. He was ahead of the breaking ball. Now he’s shortening up with two strikes. he’s not striking out very much at all. He’s hitting the ball to left field and when they come in on him he turns it he hits a home run. It’s fun to watch. He’s been productive and he’s probably going to be more productive as the season wears on because it will get hot. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adrian gonzalez, Big Show, bobby jenks, Clay Buchholz

Peter Gammons on M&M: ‘Distinctly possible’ Yankees may retaliate

06.08.11 at 1:58 pm ET
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MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons made his weekly appearance on the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday to talk about the Red Sox, who started a three-game series in New York with a 6-4 victory over the Yankees Tuesday night.

In that game, Jon Lester hit Mark Teixeira with a pitch, knocking the Yankees slugger from the game. Gamons was asked if he expected any payback Wednesday night.

“It will be very interesting to see if they do open this up a little bit and get into it,” he said. “It’s a good night with Burnett doing it, because he’s not worried about having people on base. And Tim Wakefield‘s not exactly going to go drill people. Maybe something like that will happen.”

Following are highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Jon Lester gets the win but once again doesn’t look sharp. ‘€¦ What are they saying down there? Is he just going through a tough period right now, or is there any concern?

It’s a tough period in overthrowing. I think at times, he’s reaching back so much that he’s getting his delivery out of whack early on. When he rocks back, sometimes he rocks back so far he just gets out of that delivery. And also I also think at times, he’s become so cutter happy. Rather than thinking about being able to use all four of his pitches, I think he’s trying to become too much of a power guy and overthrows, then throws that cutter, cutter, cutter.

But the good thing is that he hasn’t been losing while he’s been in this period. I was thinking about this last night, watching him. He never gives in. And that may be part of his personality. He is so aggressive. And he also is so accountable. He beats himself up unbelievably. And I think that makes him press even further.

But if he doesn’t lose while not pitching very well, what’s he going to be when he goes on one of those 10-game streaks where he’s almost untouchable? So, I think the good news for the Red Sox is they survived Jon Lester not being their best pitcher.

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Read More: adrian gonzalez, David Ortiz, Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon

Jerry Remy on D&C: ‘No way’ Jon Lester hit Mark Teixeira on purpose

06.08.11 at 10:32 am ET
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NESN Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning, following the Sox’ 6-4 victory over the Yankees Tuesday night in New York. To hear the interview, go the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi criticized David Ortiz for flipping his bat after hitting a home run off rookie Hector Noesi in the fifth inning. Remy defended the designated hitter.

“The bat flip didn’t annoy me last night because [Ortiz] did it. He’s done that in the past. He’s done that quite a few times, and it’s almost become accepted in the game today,” Remy said. “I didn’t think very much of it, except that when he made contact he knew it was gone, so he just kind of gave it a little flip and that was it.”

Another reason for the Yankees to be upset is because Mark Teixeira had to leave the game after being hit by a Jon Lester pitch. He was one of two batters hit by the Sox lefty.

“Both those pitches were cut fastballs that certainly weren’t intentional,” Remy countered. “But it does hurt, obviously, when you get Teixeira out of the lineup early in the ballgame. So, we’ll have to see how it goes. We don’t know how New York took it. But if they’re taking that Lester was throwing at those guys intentionally, they’re wrong there, because that wasn’t the case. If they’re offended by the bat flip, that’s a different story.”

Added Remy: “If I was on the other side, I wouldn’t say that that [hit by pitch] was intentional. I’d be upset that we lost one of our best players, obviously. But there’s no way you can sit there and say Lester was trying to put Teixeira out of the game with a cut fastball that hits his knee.”

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Read More: David Ortiz, Jerry Remy, Jon Lester, Mark Teixeira

Wednesday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Tim Wakefield vs. A.J. Burnett

06.08.11 at 9:00 am ET
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With American League East dominance on the line, two seasoned veterans will take the mound for the Red Sox and Yankees Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. in New York. Joe Girardi will look to A.J. Burnett to keep Boston’s offense in check, while Terry Francona will counter with Tim Wakefield to challenge the division leaders.

Wakefield (2-1, 4.40 ERA) was stellar in his first two starts of the season, both coming in late May. The 44-year-old was 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA as a starter this season, but the White Sox managed to solve the knuckleballer in Chicago on June 1. Wakefield surrendered four runs on seven hits through six innings; not terrible, but not good enough to get his team the win.

Wakefield has become all too familiar with the nemesis from New York, as the Yankees have seen him in 484 combined plate appearances. In fact, Derek Jeter has faced Wakefield 127 times — more than any other hitter in major league history. Alex Rodriguez is third on the all-time list with 103 plate appearances, and Jorge Posada is sixth with 93. Wakefield has held all three of those hitters under .280.

Jeter has hit a triple, three home runs and 11 RBI against the knuckleballer, while Posada has hit four homers and 15 RBI. Rodriguez leads the Yankees with seven longballs off Wakefield, but also has a team-high 21 strikeouts. Robinson Cano has had the most success against the knuckleballer, hitting .304 with four doubles, four homers and 12 RBI in 47 plate appearances.

Burnett (6-3, 3.86 ERA), has been as unpredictable as ever this season, pitching brilliantly one night and horribly the next. He won four of his first five starts this year, but his win-loss record has been mostly dependent on the Yankees offensive production. New York has scored over six runs a game in Burnett’s six wins, but only eight runs combined in his three losses.

The 12-year pro got the month of June off to a good start with a win over Oakland in his last outing. Burnett allowed just two runs and three hits in seven innings while striking out five and walking three. In the start before that, however, the right-hander had struggled with his command. In a loss on May 27 vs. the Mariners, he was pulled after issuing five walks in just five innings.

With 266 combined plate appearances against the Yankees starter, the Red Sox are well aware of how wild Burnett can be. Still, he has struck out 62 Boston batters against 28 walks. Dustin Pedroia has exercised the most patience against Burnett, drawing 10 walks in 40 career plate appearances to go along with two homers, four RBI, and an even .300 batting average.

David Ortiz is on the other end of the spectrum, striking out twelve times in 40 plate appearances. He leads the team in K’s vs. Burnett, but also leads the way in home runs (3), doubles (5) and RBI (9). While Pedroia and Ortiz have seen the right-hander 40 times each, Carl Crawford has the most experience against Burnett. In 59 plate appearances, Crawford has a team-high .315 batting average with a homer, three doubles and five RBI.

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Read More: a.j. burnett, Red Sox, Tim Wakefield, Yankees

Rounds 21-30: Red Sox make a second run at drafting Tino Martinez (sort of)

06.08.11 at 8:44 am ET
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In 1985, the Red Sox drafted first baseman Tino Martinez in the third round of the draft. They failed to sign him. He went on to have a terrific college career at the University of Tampa, after which the Mariners took him as a first rounder in 1988. He went on to hit 339 homers in more than 2,000 major league games.

More than 25 years later, the Sox couldn’t draft Tino Martinez in rounds 21-30 of the 2011 draft, but they could take a player who was a finalist for the Tino Martinez Award as the best player in Division 2.

21st round (No. 652): Austin Davidson, INF, Oxnard HS (California)

Davidson’s best asset is his arm and his defense. He has the ability to play third base, shortstop and second base. He is not known much for his bat and does not have much power. Davidson has committed to play at Pepperdine.

22nd round (No. 682): Joseph Holtmeyer, RHP, University of Nebraska-Omaha

Holtmeyer was a finalist for the Tino Martinez Award last year as the country’s best Division 2 player. Also, he won the NCAA Division 2 strikeout Award for having the most strikeouts in all of Division 2 with 152. He has a pretty big build as he stands at 6-foot-3, 240 pounds. This past spring he had 94 strikeouts in 71 innings pitched. He had a 3.18 ERA in seven starts for Harwich in the Cape League last summer, striking out 37 and walking 13 in 39 2/3 innings.

23rd round (No. 712): Jarrett Brown, LHP, Salem HS (Georgia)

Brown is expected to play at the University of Georgia the next three years and fine tune his game. The left-hander currently has a fastball in the high 80’s, but has yet to develop a consistent off-speed pitch. He was went 5-4 with a 2.48 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings this past spring, though he only recently became a starter. His high school coach told the Rockdale Citizen that Brown is raw with big upside, suggesting that he has as much talent as former Sox prospect Brandon Moss did while playing in the district, but that his need to refine his skills suggests that unless he gets “life-changing money” he should go to college. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 MLB Draft, alex massey, austin davidson, brenden shepherd
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