|Red Sox sign fifth-rounder Corey Littrell, 19th-rounder Gabe Speier||06.21.13 at 11:15 am ET|
The Red Sox officially have added a pair of left-handers to their system, with fifth-rounder Corey Littrell (out of the University of Kentucky) and 19th-rounder Gabe Speier (Dos Pueblos High School in California) both joining the system.
The 6-foot-3 Littrell went 6-5 with a 3.72 ERA in his junior year at Kentucky, but his stuff was particularly eye-opening in the Cape League following his sophomore year (12.0 strikeouts per nine innings despite a 5.11 ERA). Given his four-pitch mix (a fastball that was 89-93 mph on the Cape, but more typically around 88 mph as a junior this year; curveball; slider; changeup), the Sox plan on developing him as a starter.
“He’s a guy that can throw strikes,” Sox farm director Amiel Sawdaye said recently on “Down on the Farm.” “He presents an out pitch, he’s a left-hander with a four-pitch mix, he’s athletic, a guy we liked coming into the year and we were really excited to get him because we do feel that he has the potential to start.”
(Littrell tweeted a picture of his entry into pro ball after inking his contract yesterday.)
Speier, the nephew of Reds bench coach Chris Speier, was signed away from a commitment to UC Santa Barbara. Baseball America reported that he will receive a $200,000 signing bonus. According to this report, he punched out 87 in 57 2/3 innings as a senior, with a fastball that was clocked in the low- to mid-90s.
|Red Sox sign a handful of lower-round draft picks||06.17.13 at 2:31 pm ET|
According to an industry source, the Red Sox have
signed a handful of lower-round picks. A brief look:
Bryan Hudson — 15th round, OF, Mill Creek HS (Ga.)
Georgia area scouts Brian Moehler and Rob English identified Hudson early in the spring as an athletic outfielder with a projectable body, exceptional speed — a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale — and some life in his bat. The Sox are hopeful that he represents a potential below-the-radar find.
Joe Gunkel — 18th round, RHP, West Chester University (junior)
Gunkel, a 6-foot-5 right-hander, went 7-4 with a 2.44 ERA with 76 punchouts and 11 walks in 77 1/3 innings. In 11 starts, he had nine complete games. His most noteworthy work came the previous summer, when he was named the tournament MVP while leading West Chester to the Division II national championship on the strength of 18 scoreless innings, punctuating a year in which he went 10-1 with a 2.07 ERA, 45 strikeouts and 16 walks in 87 innings. He’s expected to head to the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League.
Reed Gragnani — 21st round, IF/OF, University of Virginia (senior) Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox expect top picks Trey Ball, Teddy Stankiewicz to sign for below slot||06.09.13 at 3:22 pm ET|
According to multiple industry sources, the Red Sox expect that they will be able to sign both first-rounder Trey Ball, a left-handed pitcher from New Castle High School in Indiana, and second-rounder Teddy Stankiewicz, a 19-year-old right-hander out of Seminole State College in Oklahoma, to bonuses that are less than the slot recommendations set forth by Major League Baseball for the 2013 draft. That, in turn, could have a significant impact on the team’s ability to lock up a third-round selection who was not expected to be on the board at that stage of the draft.
Third-rounder Jon Denney, out of Yukon High School in Oklahoma, is a catcher with middle-of-the-order power potential. He was viewed as a likely first-rounder — likely enough, in fact, that he was invited to the broadcast of day one of the draft on MLB Network, where he had the uncomfortable misfortune of being the only player invited not to be taken in the first two rounds. Denney has a commitment to the University of Arkansas, and sources acknowledge that the Sox will have to go well beyond the slot recommendation of $671,200 in order to land a slugger (with a 65-70 power grade on the scouting 20-80 scale) at a premium position.He inspired awe with a 440-plus foot homer with a wood bat last summer against other elite high school talent at the Area Code games.
But the fact that the team expects to sign both Ball and Stankiewicz for less than their slot-recommended bonus figures (with a slot recommendation of $3.25 million for Ball’s first-round pick and $1.23 million available from the second-round selection that ended up being Stankiewicz) suggests that the Sox will have some financial flexibility to make an aggressive play for Denney.
“We don’t shy away from taking the best player on the board,” said Sawdaye on Sunday’s “Down on the Farm.” “Jon was clearly that for us. We’re going to make a concerted effort to sign him and hopefully we get it done so we can add his power package to the organization.”
While Ball is expected to sign for less than slot value, multiple sources suggest that he was the best player on the Sox board when they made their first-round (No. 7 overall) selection, and tabbed him solely based on his position on the draft board and not based on the possibility of saving money for other picks in the draft.
|Red Sox close out day two by drafting RHP Taylor Grover in 10th round||06.07.13 at 10:59 pm ET|
In the 10th round of the 2013 draft, the Red Sox took right-handed reliever Taylor Grover out of the University South Carolina Aiken. According to this Augusta Chronicle profile, the junior throws in the mid-90s with a swing-and-miss slider. He logged just 64 1/3 innings in college, suggesting both little abuse and the possibility for growth once he turns pro and gets more regular work than he has encountered in his career to date. The 6-foot-3, 22-year-old took a considerable step forward as a closer in his junior year, with a 0.92 ERA, 37 strikeouts and 14 walks in 29 1/3 innings with 11 saves. Opponents hit just .154 against him.
|Red Sox tab Texas A&M reliever Kyle Martin in ninth round||at 10:41 pm ET|
With their ninth-round selection, the Red Sox continued to accumulate college seniors with interesting upside who are willing to accept below-slot bonuses. In this instance, they tabbed right-hander Kyle Martin out of Texas A&M (purveyor of a mustache as best as one can discern from his bio page).
Martin — a 6-foot-7, 220-pound right-hander who spent most of his Aggies career pitching in relief — was 3-4 with a 4.91 ERA, 41 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings. He changed his arm slot in his senior year. He underwent an odd series of career delivery transitions, dropping down to become a sidearm reliever as a sophomore but then moving back to an over-the-top delivery as a senior. That bumped his velocity back up, typically to the low-90s, and created different movement on his pitches, with the senior working to harness his pitches while adapting his delivery.
The movement on his pitches — combined with a huge pitcher’s frame — was intriguing enough to give Martin some upside potential even as a senior sign. Martin suggested (via twitter) that his agreement with the Sox is all but official.
With their eighth-round selection, the Red Sox took an athletic senior outfielder out of the University of Central Arkansas, senior Forrestt Allday. Allday hit .365 with a .503 OBP (fifth best in the country), .472 slugging mark, three homers and 15 steals in 2013. In a press release, Central Arkansas coach Allen Gum raved about his player.
“I’m just so happy for Forrestt. It just shows that good things come to those that work hard,” said Gum. ‘His name fits him, no question… Allday, everyday. He got better in every phase of the game. He increased his power, increased his speed, increased his arm. It’s great to see him recognized because he’s a tremendous baseball player. We were blessed and fortunate to have him as a part of our program.”
As a college senior, Forrestt represents a player who is likely ready to accept a below-slot bonus. Perhaps he can use some of it to recoup the costs associated with the shopping trip that became necessary after the draft.
Mike Adams fits a somewhat atypical prospect profile, as the 6-foot-3, 215-pound left-hander featured a fastball that typically tops out in the high-80s. However, new area scout (and longtime Angels scout) Tom Kotchman raved about the 22-year-old’s ability to generate swings and misses with his fastball thanks to tremendous deception in his delivery. He also features a swing-and-miss breaking ball and attacks the strike zone relentlessly.
Adams went 8-0 with a 2.10 ERA, 77 strikeouts and just eight walks in 64 2/3 innings. All but two of his 26 appearances came out of the bullpen, with most of those coming in the most high-leverage situations for a University of Tampa team that won the Division II national championship. One other area of intrigue for the Sox: Adams pitched just 16 combined innings as a freshman and sophomore, so he doesn’t have a lot of wear and tear on his arm.
As a college reliever, there’s a likelihood that Adams was selected as a player who will sign for below slot, thus giving the Sox money to reallocate to other picks while remaining within the team’s MLB-recommended draft bonus allotment.
With their sixth-round pick, the Red Sox selected high school outfielder Jordan Austin out of Forest High School in Florida. Austin recently excelled in the Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Baseball Classic, winning tournament MVP honors both for delivering impact offense (showing home run power with a wood bat) and for showcasing a strong outfield throwing arm.
Austin represents the sort of player with two-sport athleticism that the Sox love to draft as potential high-ceiling but typically raw prospects (due to the demands of competing in both baseball and typically football, such players often find themselves lagging a bit behind the development curve). According to this story, Austin ran a 4.4 40-yard-dash and can bench well over 300 pounds, suggesting a speed/power combination that allows for daydreams of a considerable ceiling.
The 18-year-old has a commitment to Seminole State.
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The Red Sox took their first college performer in the fifth round, taking left-hander Corey Littrell, a weekend starter at the University of Kentucky. His life/pitching philosophy as described on his twitter page:
The world and technology changes every day. One thing that has and always will be constant is 2 seam at the knees with action and a second pitch
While there is some historiographical dispute about said perspective in Medieval Europe, Littrell is a slight (6-foot-3 and less than 200 pounds) left-hander with an ensemble of pitches that move. In three years at Kentucky, Littrell went 21-13 with a 4.20 ERA, with strong performances in both 2012 (9-2, 2.74) and 2013 (6-5, 3.72). He went 1-3 with a 5.11 ERA last summer in the Cape League, though he had any eyebrow raising 52 strikeouts in 39 innings (12.0 per nine innings).
According to Baseball America, Littrell works with a high-80s to low-90s fastball, cutter, changeup and curve, representing a left-hander with a wide array of pitches that move. He has experienced considerable success in one of the top college conferences in the country (the SEC).
Through five rounds, the Sox have taken four pitchers (high school lefty Trey Ball, college lefty Littrell, junior college right-hander Teddy Stankiewicz and college right-hander Myles Smith) along with high school catcher Jon Denney.
With their fourth-round selection, the Red Sox tabbed 6-foot-1 right-hander Myles Smith out of Lee University, an NAIA school in Tennessee. Smith went 11-4 with a 2.67 ERA, 94 strikeouts and 38 walks in 84 1/3 innings.
Smith has been on something of a college odyssey. He started at the University of Missouri, transferred to Miami Dade junior college as a sophomore (where he went 8-2 with a 2.78 ERA, 67 strikeouts and 21 walks in 77 2/3 innings) and then went to Lee. He lacks the size that the Sox typically prize in their pitching prospects, but Smith’s stuff reportedly played up with Lee. After working mostly in the low-90s at Dade, he bumped up into the mid-90s as a junior at Lee.
Here’s the Baseball America description:
“A Detroit native, Smith began his career at Missouri, occasionally hitting the low 90s as a freshman reliever in 2011. He transferred to Miami Dade JC last season and ran his fastball up to 94 mph to go with a good changeup, and the Mets drafted him in the 16th round. Smith didn’t sign and expected to transfer to Miami, but he wound up at Lee (Tenn.), an NAIA power. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder had a dominant season (11-3, 1.51) and has improved since junior college. Smith’s breaking ball remains his third pitch, but when he throws it harder it morphs into a useful cutter, scraping the upper 80s. His velocity is more consistently in the 91-95 mph range this spring, touching 97, and the changeup is a plus pitch with late fade. Smith has a chance to go out in the first three rounds.”
Via twitter, John Manuel of Baseball America suggested that Smith made a “big jump up late in the spring with the quality of his cutter; heard it up to 87-90 mph. [G]ave him a breaking ball.”
Through four rounds, the Sox have taken a high school left-hander, one junior college right-hander, one NAIA right-hander and a high school catcher — leaving the more easily projected major conference college talents to a later spot in the draft.
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