|Red Sox Draft Update||08.10.09 at 4:27 pm ET|
One week remains until the Aug. 17 deadline to sign 2009 draft picks, and the Red Sox are working the phones to determine who will join a farm system that has proven remarkably productive in recent years. Here are updates on some of the most prominent of the players who were characterized as “signability questions” when they were drafted by the Sox.
3rd round pick: David Renfroe, South Panola HS (committed to Ole Miss)
Renfroe was a two-way star in high school, showing early-round talent as both a pitcher and a shortstop. The Sox drafted him with the idea of developing him as a position player. There were reports before the draft of extremely high bonus demands by Renfroe, who was said to be seeking something in the neighborhood of $3 million. The Sox are still talking to Renfroe’s representative. If he does agree to terms with the club, it would likely be just before the Aug. 17 deadline.
6th round pick: Brandon Kline, Gov. Thomas Johnson HS (committed to the University of Virginia)
Kline will not sign, and instead plans on honoring his academic and athletic scholarship at UVA. The Sox were very high on Kline, believing that his intelligence, athleticism and frame offered a vast array of projectable tools. But Kline, an excellent student, felt strongly that he wanted to become the first person in his family to attend college. Moreover, he did not pitch in a summer league, and so the Red Sox did not have the opportunity to evaluate him fully in hopes of making an offer to convince him to begin his professional career. Kline will become the second-highest draft pick (after 2007 second-rounder Hunter Morris) not to sign with the Sox under the current baseball operations department.
7th round pick: Madison Younginer, Mauldin HS (committed to Clemson)
Younginer is described as roughly a 50/50 proposition as to whether he might sign with the Sox. The right-hander featured high-90s velocity and an advanced breaking ball as a high school closer. But with a commitment to play college ball near his hometown, it remains to be seen whether he can be convinced to begin his professional career.
9th round pick: Kendal Volz, Baylor University
After showing electric stuff while pitching for Team USA last summer, Volz had a disappointing junior year at Baylor. The Sox drafted him with the intention of monitoring his work over the summer to see what kind of offer to make, and whether they should offer a bonus commensurate with the elite potential he demonstrated a year ago, or more in line with his 2009 college season. Volz pitched just nine innings for Brewster on the Cape this summer, allowing two runs and striking out nine while walking two. The Sox continue to talk with the right-hander’s representatives, but it can often prove tricky to reach an agreement with a player whose past performance suggested upper-round talent but whose recent performances have created grounds for more limited expectations.
10th round pick: Brandon Jacobs, Parkview HS (committed to Auburn)
A two-sport high-school star, Jacobs was recruited to Auburn to play both running back and baseball. Auburn anticipates that he is virtually certain to begin his baseball career in the coming days – the powerful outfielder is not listed in the newcomers section of the football media guide, and he has not been a participant in the first week of Auburn’s football practices. It seems safe to assume that Jacobs’ signing will be announced in the next week, likely for second-round money.
11th round pick: Jason Thompson, Germantown HS (committed to Louisville)
Thompson, a switch-hitting shortstop, has signed with the Sox for $300,000. He played in his first Gulf Coast League game on Sunday, drawing a walk in his only plate appearance.
16th round pick: Luke Bard, Westminster Christian Academy (committed to Georgia Tech)
Daniel Bard said recently that his brother was open to discussing turning pro, but the younger brother of the Red Sox reliever seems likely to follow his sibling’s career path and head to college.
20th round pick: Alex Hassan, Duke University
Hassan, a native of Milton, Mass., signed for a shade under $100,000 after the Sox watched him play in the Cape League to start the summer. Hassan’s career took a rather unexpected turn with Orleans.
The Sox drafted the two-way player (he was both an outfielder and closer for Duke) as a pitcher, but were more impressed this summer by his performance as a position player. And so, the team signed him as an outfielder, and the early returns in Lowell have been extremely impressive. The 21-year-old is hitting .444 with a 1.001 OPS, and has struck out just once in 38 plate appearances.
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