Major League Baseball annual amateur draft starts tonight. Here are some details for you:
Today: Round One begins at 7 p.m.
Tuesday: Rounds 2-30 start at noon
Wednesday: Rounds 31-50 start at noon
Red Sox picks: No. 20 (from Braves for Billy Wagner), No. 36 (compensation for Jason Bay), No. 39 (compensation for Wagner), No. 57 (from Mets for Bay), No. 110. (their own third-round pick), No. 143 (their own fourth-round pick).
Picks the Sox lost: No. 29 (to Angels for John Lackey), No. 80 (to Blue Jays for Marco Scutaro).
The skinny on the Sox: It’s an interesting draft for the Sox, who have six of the first 143 picks and can afford to take a chance on a player who could slip because of financial demands or injury. It’s also the first draft for scouting director Amiel Sawdaye, who replaced Jason McLeod after spending five years as his assistant.
Theo Epstein was busy this spring, getting his eyes on players the Red Sox will consider for their first three picks. The Sox have tried to adopt a philosophy of making a list of players they like and not being swayed when a notable player they aren’t necessarily crazy about falls to them.
Early in Epstein’s tenure, the Sox focused on college players to replenish a farm system that was barren of talent. In recent years they have been willing to take high school players with high ceilings such as Casey Kelly.
The draft is an area of player procurement where large-market teams like the Red Sox and Yankees can use their financial muscle to select players lesser teams might shy away from because of their financial demands. MLB has an informal system of slotting bonus payments that certain teams regularly ignore.
Possible early picks for the Sox: RHP Anthony Ranaudo (LSU); C Yasmani Grandal (Miami); RHP Matt Harvey (North Carolina), OF Mel Rojas Jr. (Wabash, Ill., JC); RHP Tyrell Jenkins (Henderson, Texas, HS); IF/OF Kolbrin Vitek (Ball State); 3B/RHP Kaleb Cowart (Cook County, Georgia, HS).
New England players who could go in early rounds: LHP Pat Dean (BC); LHP Kevin Ziomek (Amherst, Mass., Regional); 1B Mickey Wiswall (BC); 3B Mike Olt (UConn).
Prediction: You keep hearing the Sox connected to Ranaudo, who missed three weeks with a non-structural elbow injury but has since bounced back. But I’ll take a guess and say they take Cowart, who throws 97 but wants to play third base. He has tentative plans to attend Florida State, but could be signed.
(Thanks to Keith Law of ESPN.com and the staff of Baseball America, where most of this information came from.)