With their highest pick in 20 years, the Red Sox took lefthanded pitcher/outfielder Trey Ball out of New Castle (Ind.) High School with the seventh selection in Thursday night's first-year player draft. Ball was touted as one of the best two-way players in this draft.
With a long 6-foot-6-inch frame and a fastball that tops out at 94 miles per hour, Ball went 6-0 with a 0.76 ERA and 93 strikeouts as a senior, being named the Indiana Player of the Year and earning a scholarship to Texas.
Though he also finished with a .300-plus batting average, the Sox selected him as a pitcher, adding to a farm system loaded with arms.
They brought in another in the second round when they took right-hander Teddy Stankiewicz with the 45th pick. Stankiewicz was drafted by the Mets out of Ft. Worth (Texas) Christian High School in the second round last year, but didn't sign and instead went to Seminole State College, where he struck out 70 in 60 2/3; innings over nine starts this past season.
Taking Ball with the seventh pick was somewhat surprising as the Sox passed on outfielder Austin Meadows, a center fielder out of Grayson (Ga.) High School who was thought to be on their radar. He instead was taken two picks later by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
"We had a lot of contact with them in the spring," Ball said. "They sent in multiple guys to come visit and have meetings with me. They sent in the site guys, so I've had a lot of contact with them. I think coming in I'd heard mostly between eight and 14 and being picked seventh by Boston it's great. I'm kind of speechless. It's kind of surprising. I had no idea where it was coming from. I guess it was a last-minute decision, I'm not for sure. But it's a moment of greatness and I'm very excited, very happy."
The Sox had not picked this high in the draft since 1993, when they took Trot Nixon, who wound up playing in Boston for nine seasons and was a key part of the 2004 World Series-winning team.
Ball committed to the Longhorns, and his Twitter account still says he's headed to Texas). He said he's still has a decision to make.
"Right now, it's still open," he said. "We haven't shut the door on anything, but it's the best fit for me and my family. Anything can happen, but I feel that Boston is right for me."
Being taken by the Sox caught him off guard, but it was a pleasant surprise.
"I honestly had no clue at all," Ball said. "So I think the moment they did pick me was such a relief and exciting because I didn't know it was coming. We hadn't really heard much from any of the top six above Boston. We had mainly heard between eight and 14, eight and 15. So it was very shocking. I'm speechless still about it."
Ball was the first of two selections the Red Sox were scheduled to make on the night. They also have the 45th overall pick.