Saturday, April 19, 2014
The Boston Red Sox went after college players in the first and supplemental rounds of the major league draft Monday night, coming away with a shortstop and two pitchers.
The shortstop, Deven Marrero, is from Arizona State, which will prompt Dustin Pedroia comparisons. And, like Pedroia, Marrero is considered an outstanding defensive player.
So, if Jose Iglesias doesn’t work out …
Draft experts did not expect Marrero to be around when Boston drafted 24th.
Marrero’s offense at ASU declined from a .397 average his freshman year, to .315, to .284 last season. A left ankle sprain is blamed for a struggling start to his junior year. He did hit .296 in April and May.
The Red Sox drafted a player last year who did not put up good numbers his junior year because of an injury and, so far, outfielder Jackie Bradley is working out (see note below).
In pitchers Brian Johnson (Florida) and Pat Light (Monmouth of New Jersey), the Red Sox got two tall pitchers who could eventually become bullpen strength.
Johnson, a 6-3 lefty, is also a slugging first baseman. He pitched OK for Florida (3.56 ERA) but showed the potential of a major leaguer, especially if he committed to pitching fulltime.
Light, 6-6, had a 2.40 ERA and showcased a mid-90’s fastball. As with a lot of potential major leaguers, his secondary stuff will determine his fate in the pros.
It should be noted that college players are usually easier to sign that early-round high school players (because high school players usually have the leverage of a college scholarship).
With the new MLB draft rules this year that caps signing bonuses, Boston should not have trouble signing these three picks, and might save a little to give to a player who dropped down in the draft.
Meanwhile, in Salem, Va. Monday night, fruits of last years draft keep looking good. First-round pick Matt Barnes (1.59 ERA) pitched six shutout innings (4 H, 1 BB, 3K) … Supplemental first-rounder Bradley (.387) went 4-for-5. His continued dominance will likely force a move to Portland, maybe before the end of this month … first baseman Travis Shaw (9th round last year), is batting .341 and he hit his sixth home run on Monday (his fifth in his last seven games).
The Sea Dogs play at 7 p.m. tonight with the Double-A debut of Drake Britton.
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.
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases
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