Red Sox look for upside, athleticism in Rounds 5-10
|06.07.11 at 6:05 pm ET|
As the draft began to pick up steam, with picks flying, the Red Sox continued to acquire a diverse set of players in Rounds 5-10. The team nabbed a couple of position players from smaller schools in the Midwest, a pair of fast, toolsy high school position players and a pair of intriguing left-handed pitchers.
5th round (No. 172): Mookie Betts, SS, Overton HS
Betts has a commitment to the University of Tennessee, although that program is in a state of some chaos after their head coach (Todd Raleigh) was fired late in May.He was expected to play second base for the Volunteers, although his speed has created some suggestions that the 5-foot-9, 160-pounder could be an outfielder in the future. Betts is considered extremely athletic, and was a third-team All-State basketball player in Tennessee, as well as the state’s top bowler as a junior. His speed, plate approach and athleticism are all intriguing tools.
Betts told govolsxtra.com that he was undecided about whether to go to college or turn pro.
“I have no clue,” Betts said. “Even though (coach Todd Raleigh and athletic director Mike Hamilton) are gone, I wouldn’t mind one bit going to UT. I just have to find out what I actually want to do.
“I’ve always wanted to play pro ball, but it’s every kid’s dream to go to college and live the college life. I’m just living on a high right now, and when I come back down we can figure it all out and make a decision.”
6th round (No. 202): Miguel Pena, LHP, San Jacinto Junior College
This marks the third straight year in which Pena has been drafted. He was selected by the Nationals out of high school in the fifth round of the 2009 draft, and by the Padres in the 13th round out of San Jacinto (where Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte both pitched) of last year’s selection process. In his second year at San Jac, Pena went 10-3 with a 1.91 ERA, 93 strikeouts and 24 walks in 85 innings.
At 6-foot-2 and 160 pounds, he’s slight, but scouting reports suggest that he has a clean delivery that allows him to throw strikes with his fastball (described by Baseball America as an 88-91 mph pitch; though this report suggests that he tops out at 94 mph), curve, slider and changeup. He did reportedly get sent home from the Cape League last summer due to disciplinary reasons.
7th round (No. 232): Cody Kukuk, LHP, Lawrence Free State HS (Kansas)
He’s 6-foot-4, left-handed and throws in the mid-90s. That’s a formula to get drafted. Kukuk — whose last name is the most impressive palindrome ever seen by a Red Sox draftee — became the second high school left-hander tabbed by the Sox this year (joining left-hander Henry Owens, a sandwich-round pick on Monday). He has a commitment to the University of Kansas, but suggested to the Lawrence Journal-World that he’s open to turning pro. He was expecting to get tabbed in the third to seventh rounds, and saw that vision come to fruition.
Kukuk is relatively raw, with a potentially big fastball, and an inconsistent slider and change. But he represents the sort of lottery ticket that could pay dividends depending on how he progresses once in a player development system.
8th round: Senquez Golson, CF, Pascaguola HS (Miss.)
Golson is the first true two-sport star drafted by the Red Sox this year, as he has a two-sport scholarship to play baseball and defensive back at Ole Miss. He hit .325 with three homers as a senior, but his tremendous athleticism makes his upside clear. He has reportedly been clocked at 4.0 seconds running from home to first, and he shows bat speed and strength to make future power projectable. He is considered a raw — similar to many other two-sport players who are not dedicated to baseball year-round — but intriguing talent. He told the Clarion Ledger that he had informed clubs that it would take more than a $1 million bonus to sign him away from college.
9th round: Travis Shaw, 3B, Kent State
Shaw, the son of former big league closer Jeff Shaw, was drafted by the Sox in the 32nd round of the 2008 draft. As a junior at Kent State in 2011, he hit .307 with a .401 OBP, .553 slugging mark, 14 homers and 51 RBI in 62 games; in his three years with the Golden Flash, he’s slammed 36 homers and shown an intriguing mix of power and patience.
At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, his power is considered legitimate. He played third at Kent State, though there are questions about whether he has the range to stay at the position as a pro. If not, he’ll have to hit enough to advance as a first baseman.
10th round: Cody Koback, CF, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Koback hails from the same school as Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann. He shows excellent speed, having been clocked at 4.0 seconds from home to first from the right side of the plate, and he hit .424 with a .516 OBP, .701 slugging percentage, eight homers and 16 steals in 18 attempts this year. He appears to fit a profile of player whom the Sox have pursued in recent years: An athletic player with power and speed who is available a bit later in the draft after coming out of a smaller college program. That’s the formula that brought the Sox to outfielder Shannon Wilkerson and Jeremy Hazelbaker in 2009. He was also a solid starter for UWSP, and is considered to have good arm strength.
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