|Red Sox complete deals with first-rounder Brian Johnson, third-rounder Austin Maddox||06.26.12 at 8:04 pm ET|
According to industry sources, the Red Sox officially have signed first-rounder Brian Johnson, a two-way player at the University of Florida whom the team will develop as a starting left-handed pitcher, for the slot-recommended bonus of $1.575 million. The team will also sign third-round selection Austin Maddox for an under-slot bonus of $350,000 (the slot recommended bonus for his pick having been $400,000).
The Red Sox have now reached agreements with all of their 12 draftees from the first 10 rounds of the draft, having spent beyond the recommended draft bonus pool, meaning that the team will incur some financial penalties for its draft spending.
The new draft system defines a bonus pool for the first 10 rounds based on the slot recommended bonuses for each pick. The Sox’ allotment totaled $6.884 million. The team can spend up to that amount without incurring any penalties; they will be penalized at a 75 percent tax rate for an overage of up to 5 percent (meaning, for any spending of up to $344,200 beyond the bonus pool); if the team exceeds its draft bonus pool by more than 5 percent, then it would lose a draft pick.
The Sox are believed to be willing to pay taxes but not to give up any picks, so for practical purposes, the team’s draft bonus pool is up to $7,228,200.
As of now, the team has spent $7.042 million, with $158,000 representing taxable bonus spending.
From previous writeups on Johnson and Maddox:
Johnson, a two-way player (first base and pitcher) at Florida, is considered a left-hander with an advanced feel and the ability to command both his fastball and his off-speed arsenal. The Sox believe that when he focuses full-time on pitching in the pro ranks, he has upside over what he showed during an impressive college career at one of the top programs in the country, one where Johnson was tested regularly by top competition.
“The fastball is at 90-94. He can pitch with a plus fastball, can spin a breaking ball, throws two different breaking balls, obviously has a feel for his changeup, very repeatable delivery and it’s a guy that throws strikes,” said Sox scouting director Amiel Sawdaye on the day Johnson was drafted. “He has performed in many different levels and is still performing in the College World Series. He’s a guy that we think is super competitive and somebody who’s pitched on the big stage.”
Like college teammate Johnson, Maddox is another big-framed pitcher, running 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds (he entered college as a catcher). As a junior, he had 12 saves, a 2.24 ERA, 55 strikeouts and 10 walks in 52 1/3 innings. He can touch the mid-90s with a swing-and-miss fastball, while also featuring the makings of a slider and/or changeup.
He’s still new to life as a pitcher, as he did not pitch as a freshman, yet earned SEC Freshman of the Year honors while hitting .333 and blasting 17 homers while bouncing all over the field (catcher, first, third, DH). But while he continued to bounce around the field in 2011, he also emerged as a closer during his sophomore season. He was dominant in that capacity, with a 0.67 ERA, five saves, 21 strikeouts and just three walks in 27 innings. He also has showed the ability to thrive in the spotlight, tossing 2 2/3 scoreless innings in last year’s College World Series.
While it is possible that his future in the big leagues is as a reliever, the Red Sox are likely to develop Maddox as a starter to allow him to refine his pitch mix.
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