|Report: Red Sox eighth-rounder Senquez Golson unlikely to sign||06.13.11 at 11:48 am ET|
The Red Sox have invested aggressively in recent years to draft and sign two-sport star athletes away from football scholarships at prominent national programs, having done so with players such as Will Middlebrooks (2007 5th round, $925,000), Casey Kelly (2008 1st round, $3 million), Brandon Jacobs (2009 10th round, $750,000) and Kendrick Perkins (2010 6th round, $600,000). But one of the team’s most intriguing draftees of the 2011 draft is showing an initial inclination to go to school.
The Sox selected Senquez Golson out of Pascaguola High School in Mississippi with their eighth-round pick this year. Golson hit .325 with three homers and 25 RBI as a prep senior. He was also a highly regarded cornerback in high school, resulting in a two-sport scholarship offer to Ole Miss.
He has tremendous speed (he was timed running from home to first in 4.0 seconds) and bat speed that creates significant upside, even if his skills are at an early stage of their development since he hasn’t been playing baseball year-round due to his football commitments. The Sox scouted him heavily this spring, and drafted him with the idea that his tools create a significant ceiling.
“This is the athlete that baseball needs. This is the athlete, the football player, that has played baseball, that has skills. He has unbelievable bat speed. He’s an 80 [on the scale of 20-80 used by scouts] runner,” said one talent evaluator. “He plays center field like a strong safety. He doesn’t have the advancement yet in the outfield or a lot of parts of his game, but that ball goes up and he’s running straight to the ball. He doesn’t get a good jump on it. He doesn’t get good routes. But he has makeup speed. It’s almost like he runs to the ball to tackle it. He’ll get better at it, but he’s just such an exciting athlete out there.
“He’s got bat speed. He’s got strength. He doesn’t really have an approach right now. he’s up there looking to hit. He’s got pretty good hand-eye, and when he barrels the ball up, it can go a long way. But he’s got a little ways to go.”
Golson told the Clarion Ledger (Miss.) last week that he had been telling teams that it would take “a little bit over a million” for him to turn pro. He then told NEMS360.com (in a report that went online today) that negotiations with the Sox were “pretty much over” and that there was little the Sox could do to alter his decision.
However, the claim might be somewhat premature for a few reasons. First, per the directives of the MLB Commissioner’s Office, the Sox are only in a position to offer a signing bonus for slot recommendations right now. In Golson’s case, as an eighth-round pick, that would mean no more than $150,000, an amount that wouldn’t come close to getting a deal done. If the Sox are to sign him, an agreement would have to wait until later in the summer, when the Commissioner’s Office would sign off on it.
Secondly, Golson and the club — according to a source — have yet to engage in any substantive talks. Often, the club will wait until after inviting its draftees to Fenway Park for a workout and an opportunity to familiarize them with the organization before engaging them in negotiations. (Golson has not yet offered word on whether he will attend the Sox’ annual workout.)
That being the case, while Golson suggested that he intends to report to Ole Miss, until he actually commences practice there, it would be premature to write off completely the possibility that he’ll sign with the Sox. All the same, the initial report that he believes talks with the Sox have little chance of yielding success raises the possibility that the Sox will be unable to reel in one of their most intriguing draftees of 2011.
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