|Sox near deals with seven draft picks||06.13.11 at 12:13 pm ET|
The Red Sox are close to signing their first members of the draft class of 2011.
The team expects to finalize agreements today with three players whom it selected in the 2011 draft, two seniors and a fourth-year junior: 11th-rounder Kevin Brahney, 14th-rounder Mike McCarthy and 24th-rounder Drew Turocy.
UPDATE: The Sox also have agreements in place with sixth-rounder Miguel Pena, ninth-rounder Travis Shaw, 13th-rounder Matty Ott out of LSU and 15th-rounder Braden Kapteyn. All will need to undergo standard physicals and drug tests in order to finalize their agreements; assuming they do so, all seven players are expected to open the year with the Lowell Spinners of the New York-Penn League.
A brief look at each:
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.
However, Pena decided that he wanted to move forward in his career, and made clear to the Sox that he was willing to sign quickly for $85,000 — accepting less than he’d been offered the previous two times that he was drafted — in order to begin his professional career. He was particularly enthusiastic about the prospect of doing so in the Sox system, in part based on the glowing recommendations of Sox minor leaguer Garin Cecchini, with whom Pena played during his high school career.
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. Shaw agreed to sign for $110,000, and assuming he passes his physical and drug test, he’ll start his career with Lowell this week.
11th round (No. 352): Kevin Brahney, LHP, Chico State
Brahney, a left-hander, was better than his 2-5 record for Chico State indicated, as he had a 3.58 ERA, 74 strikeouts (against 26 walks) and a .236 opponents’ batting average in 65 1/3 innings for Chico State. The senior is listed at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, and features a left-handers requisite quirks. He was born on 8/8/88, can’t stand spiders and refuses to step on the foul line or to be given the ball on the way to the mound, according to a Chico State bio. He reportedly features a low-90s fastball that can top out at 94 mph, along with a curveball that has good late break.
13th round (No. 412): Matty Ott, RHP, Louisiana State University
The 6-foot-2 right-hander looked like a coming star as a freshman in 2009, when he struck out 69 and walked six as a teammate of Sox prospect Anthony Ranaudo on LSU’s national champion squad. Ott was the closer, setting an LSU record with 16 saves, mostly on the strength of a wipeout slider. But his performance moved backwards from that point, as he had a 6.38 ERA, 40 strikeouts and 21 walks in 42 1/3 innings as a sophomore. He threw just 27 2/3 innings this year, with improved strikeout-to-walk numbers (27:7), a 2.60 ERA and six saves, but nothing akin to what he did as a freshman.
Still, he was a Cape League All-Star last summer while forging a 0.44 ERA, striking out 19 and walking four in 20 1/3 innings last summer, and he looked sharp at times this year, with a swing-and-miss secondary offering to complement his high-80s to low-90s fastball.
14th round (No. 442): Mike McCarthy, RHP, Cal State-Bakersfield
In 17 games (16 starts), McCarthy had a 1.62 ERA, 116 strikeouts and 28 walks in 127 2/3 innings. Most notably, he had a complete-game victory over No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole and UCLA that helped to put him onto the map.
As a 23-year-old redshirt senior, it would be difficult to imagine a pitcher with less negotiating leverage. McCarthy, listed at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, will hold off on a graduate education as a nurse practitioner in order to pursue a baseball career.
15th round (No. 472): Braden Kapteyn, 1B/RHP, University of Kentucky
Kapetyn has spent the last three years as a two-way player at Kentucky. As a junior, he hit .300/.388/.438/.826 with six homers while starting all 55 games as either a first baseman or designated hitter. He also pitched in 14 games, with terrific strikeout numbers (27 in 17 innings) albeit while allowing a run an inning. He was a Cape League All-Star while pitching for Harwich last summer, giving up just nine hits in 28 1/3 innings while going 3-1 with a 0.64 ERA and striking out 29 batters. He also had three hits in 17 at-bats (.176 average) in the summer league.
A couple years ago, the Sox drafted outfielder Alex Hassan out of Duke with the intention of having him develop as a pitcher only to decide while watching him that summer in the Cape that he had more potential as an outfielder, and he’s borne out that assessment thus far; he’s hitting .340 with a .949 OPS this year in Double-A Portland, and has hit .300 or better at every level of pro ball. Certainly, Kapetyn would be more than happy to enjoy similar success.
24th round (No. 742): Drew Turocy, CF, Akron
Turocy led Akron in almost every offensive category this past season including home runs (7), batting average (.347), slugging percentage (.563) and runs (35). In high school he won a Division 2 Ohio state championship in 2007, and had a 9-1 record on the mound with an ERA of 0.66; he underwent Tommy John surgery in college, and while he had been a two-way player early in his college career, he spent this past year (in which he was a fourth-year junior) working exclusively as an outfielder.
Turocy was told that he would play the outfield with the Sox. He told the Youngstown Vindicator (yes, there is a paper by that name) that he had stopped following the draft after Round 20; he was in his bedroom when he learned that he was drafted when he heard his brother screaming downstairs.
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