|Red Sox first-round pick Deven Marrero: ‘This is real now — I get to start my dream’||06.20.12 at 6:37 pm ET|
It’s official — Deven Marrero is a member of the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox’ top pick in the 2012 draft passed his physical on Tuesday, the last hurdle before signing with the Sox for a $2.05 million bonus. And so, the former Arizona State shortstop, whom the Sox jumped at with the No. 24 pick in the draft, donned a uniform (No. 17) in the home clubhouse at Fenway Park, popped into the office of Sox manager Bobby Valentine for a brief introduction and then was able to take the field for groundballs (including a few opportunities to turn double plays with fellow ASU alum Dustin Pedroia and then batting practice, popping a couple balls over the Green Monster.
“It hit me when I signed that dotted line. It hit me then that it was official,” said Marrero. “In the locker room, seeing all the guys, and then walking out here and doing all the stuff, this is real now. I get to start my dream, and I can’t wait.”
The natural logical leap, of course, is to connect Marrero to fellow former Sun Devil Pedroia, who was also a shortstop at ASU. And even Marrero — who knows Pedroia from the Red Sox second baseman’s time around his former campus in the offseason — is willing to embrace the idea that he’d love to follow in the footsteps of the three-time All-Star.
“He’s a legend there. And when he gets there, he lets you know, too,” said Marrero. “That’s a guy who’s the best at what he does. he does it the right way. For him to be at Arizona State, for me to be at Arizona State, that’s something I would like to do. That’s a dream come true right there, to play beside that guy up the middle, to turn two with that guy, just have fun with him. He’s a great ballplayer, that’s someone I want to be like, definitely. … I tried to tell him I’m the best shortstop that ever played at Arizona State, but he had a great career there and one that I wanted to follow up. Hopefully I can follow up his career here.”
The two have the similarity of tremendous hands that made them both standout defenders in college, though Marrero has more range and arm coming out of college, thus leading to an expectation that he projects as a future big league shortstop. Offensively, Marrero is a bit more selective than was Pedroia coming out of ASU, and he also has more of a line drive stroke than does the much shorter second baseman, who always startled people in the early stage of his career with an aggressive swing meant to drive the ball with extra-base pop.
“My hitting approach is like a two-hole batter. Just go out there, hit the ball in the gaps, get on base, let the guys behind me drive me in. That’s been my game, and I’m going to stick with that. Maybe I’ll crank some over that wall, but don’t expect too much. My job is to get on base, steal some bags and have fun with it,” explained the 21-year-old. “I’m focused on line drives right now. I’m sure as I get older, try to get my man muscles a little bit and get a little bit stronger, that will help out with the power. Hopefully those gap shots later in my career turn into balls off the wall.”
It was a day filled with excitement and promise for the shortstop, who said that he will join the Short-Season Single-A Lowell Spinners on the road in Connecticut on Thursday to start his first professional assignment. The idea that he slipped in the draft, from a potential top-10 pick entering the year to the No. 24 slot, was something he could embrace as he started to realize the destination of the road on which he will now start his minor league journey.
“[Royals first baseman] Eric Hosmer, who is like my big brother, was like, ‘You’re the luckiest guy in the world. You get to play with the Boston Red Sox, which is a great organization and treats everybody the right way,’” said Marrero. “I’m glad I dropped. This is the best organization in baseball and the perfect spot for me. I’m excited.
“This is the best place in the world to be for baseball,” he added. “This is awesome. I can’t wait.”
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