|Potential Red Sox draft picks: Zach Eflin||06.03.12 at 7:33 pm ET|
Zach Eflin, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound right-handed pitcher, has shot up draft boards over the past year and has put himself in the conversation as a first-round pick in the 2012 MLB draft.
Eflin, who has climbed all the way to No. 12 in the ESPN 100 rankings, has a commitment to pitch at the University of Central Florida next season. The Oviedo, Fla., native is coming off a 5-2 season in which he had a 0.55 ERA and struck out 57 hitters through 38 innings.
With Eflin’s tools on the mound comes an intriguing background story, as Eflin grew up using baseball as an escape from his home life with his alcoholic mother. He made it his goal to get a scholarship to play baseball in college. He’s secured that scholarship, but pro baseball may beckon given the likelihood that he is taken in the first day of the draft on Monday.
Eflin displayed a disappointing 89 mph fastball along with a 73 mph curveball and a changeup with similar velocity as the curveball in April of 2011. However, after making a change to his mechanics, Eflin has shown great improvement with all of his pitches.
His fastball now hits up to 95 on the radar gun and has good movement, tending to run in on right-handed hitters. The curveball is now at 77 mph, and has a hard downward bite from his high 3/4 release point. Add in an effective changeup, and he has three high quality pitches in his arsenal.
Baseball America projected Eflin to be drafted at No. 29 to the Yankees in its latest mock draft. That projection leaves him in between Boston’s two first-round picks at No. 24 and No. 31, suggesting a player whose talent could put him in the mix for either of the Red Sox’ top two picks.
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