The 2014 installment of the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft is nigh and the Red Sox are looking to add to their collection of top level prospects.
With 41 picks in 40 rounds, it could take some time to sort everything out, including who can and will sign and where they may end up playing.
Of course for the Boston brass, it’s quite an undertaking, but one they seem to bask in when it’s all said and done.
“The day after the draft is like Christmas morning, you have all these new presents,” said Red Sox director of amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye. “Three, four years down the road you take a look at the draft and it allows you to be more critical.”
Well then, let us do exactly that by checking in with the Red Sox draft classes of three and four years ago, both of them filled with gifts that keep on giving.
This draft class is on the verge of great things. Pitchers Matt Barnes (19th overall) and Henry Owens (36th) are rated by most as the top two arms in the system while catcher Blake Swihart (26th) is the best overall backstop on the farm.
The Sox had a couple of early round steals, grabbing second baseman Mookie Betts in the fifth round and first baseman Travis Shaw in the ninth. Both players have made their Triple-A debuts with Pawtucket over the last two weeks and both have momentum enough to be in the big league mix soon enough,
Then of course there is Jackie Bradley, Jr., the first of the draft class to reach the big leagues where he is currently a fixture in center field for Boston.
Some of the other selections that are still contributing throughout the system include pitcher Mike McCarty (14th round), first baseman David Chester (33rd round), and third baseman Matt Gedman (45th round).
Top pick Kolbrin Vitek (20th overall) has already retired after struggling through four seasons, most wrought with injuries. Despite that, this draft class has been fairly impressive.
Supplemental first rounder picks Bryce Brentz (36th) and Anthony Ranaudo (39th) are one step from the show while second rounder Brandon Workman has already contributed to a World Series run.
The Sox stole third baseman Garin Cecchini who in the draft following an ACL injury. Boston was glad to grab him in the fourth round and the 23-year-old made his big league debut this past Sunday. It was a quick trip up as Cecchini promptly returned to Pawtucket the next day, but he is widely considered to be the third baseman of the very near future for the club.
Pitcher Keith Couch (13th round) and second baseman Sean Coyle (3rd round) could also follow the path to Boston if they continue to play as well as they have in Portland this season.
Portland Sea Dogs – The team put forth a franchise best May record, going 23-10. The successful month allowed the Sea Dogs to open up a six game lead in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division.
Squeezing the system
Pawtucket (AAA) – Since receiving Stephen Drew on May 28, the PawSox have had five players, including Drew, called up to Boston. They also received Mookie Betts from Portland on Tuesday.
Portland (AA) – Outfielder Henry Ramos hit safely in 19 of 26 May games, raising his average 50 points. Now hitting .326, he is seventh in the Eastern League.
Salem (A+) – The Salem Sox had three players named to the Carolina League All-Star team, all first timers. Pitcher Justin Haley, 2B Reed Gragnani, and utility infielder Jonathan Roof are slated to represent the club in Wilmington, Delaware on June 17. Roof was recently bumped up to Portland.
Greenville (A) – Four Drive players were named to the South Atlantic League All-Star Game, to be played on June 17 in Hickory, N.C. Catcher Jake Romanski, infielder/outfielder Carlos Asuaje, and 1B/3B Jantzen Witte all received their first career All-Star nods, while reliever Joe Gunkel earns his second having represented the Lowell Spinners in the NYPL mid-summer classic last season.
Dominican Summer League (Rookie) – Third baseman Rafael Devers has collected six hits, seven RBIs, and four runs in the DSL Sox' first three games of the season. The 17-year-old was a high profile international free agent last summer, earning a $1.5 million bonus from Boston.