Monday April 30, 2012 | 09:36 AM

With their first and fourth pick in the 2011 draft, the Red Sox went after polished college players - pitcher Matt Barnes of Connecticut and outfielder Jackie Bradley of South Carolina.

So far, it's kudos to the scouting department.

Barnes, 21, did not pitch professionally last year after signing late. This season, he has blazed through lower Class A. He pitched 5 2/3 innings Sunday, allowing 3 hits, 1 run and 0 walks, striking out 8 for the Greenville Drive.

Sunday's run was the first one allowed by Barnes this year (he left in the sixth inning with a runner on first and two outs, and the runner eventually scored). His ERA is 0.34. Opponents are batting .130 against him and, in 26 2/3 innings, he has 42 strikeouts and 4 walks.

According to the Greenville Drive website, Barnes was promoted today to advanced Class A Salem. Seeing him later this season in Portland might be a stretch, but who knows?

Bradley, 22, began the year in Salem (he played all of 4 games last season for Greenville). In 20 games, Bradley is batting .370, with a .479 on-base percentage, and 8 stolen bases in 9 attempts.

Could Bradley be in Portland by the summer?

I remember another high pick out of college who only had 42 games of Class A experience before coming to Portland. And Dustin Pedroia has worked out pretty well for the Red Sox.

In the 2010 draft, the top college pitcher chosen by the Red Sox was Anthony Ranaudo (who the Sea Dogs hope will be joining them in May). In the seventh round, a left-hander from the University of Miami was picked.

And Chris Hernandez looks like a keeper. He threw 5/23 innings Sunday (6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K). His ERA is now 1.69, with 16 strikeouts/6 walks in 26 2/3 innings. See today's Press Herald story.

Reliever Caleb Clay (3.60) took the tough-luck loss for the Sea Dogs. Clay, who had five scoreless outings before Sunday, gave up two walks. He jammed the next hitter, who flared an opposite-field double to right.

The Sea Dogs take on the Trenton Thunder tonight at 6 p.m. Check back here, and on Twitter: ClearTheBases


About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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