The last time the Red Sox drafted a shortstop from Arizona State it worked out pretty well for them. That was Dustin Pedroia in 2004. Perhaps Deven Marrero will follow that same path.
The Sox made Marrero their first selection in the draft on Monday night, taking him with the 24th overall pick. He was considered one of the best defensive players available in the draft.
A Florida native, Marrero was projected as a top-10 pick before his junior season. A .397 hitter as a freshman, he hit .315 as a sophomore and .284 this season, in part because of a sprained ankle. Marrero had a .340 OBP and a .436 slugging percentage this season.
“I couldn’t really turn on inside pitches,” Marrero told the Arizona Republic. “I had to shorten my stance and use more of my hands. I wanted to play. I had to deal with it, and I did. I’m sure I’m going to play hurt many times throughout my career. This was a great learning lesson for me.”
Marrero was a two-time all-conference player and the 2011 Pac-10 defensive player of the year. The Red Sox, who place a lot of value on summer play, were certainly impressed that Marrero led Team USA in hits and RBIs last year and was an all-star in the Cape Cod League for Cotuit. He hit .326/.360/.413 on the Cape.
Marrero, 21, has a strong arm, good speed and projects to remain at shortstop as a professional.
The Red Sox tend to draft who they consider the best player available, so this pick should not be viewed as reflecting any dissatisfaction with Jose Iglesias. But the simple truth is that Iglesias has not developed as quickly as hoped when he was signed out of Cuba.