With about a month to go before the signing deadline (July 18) for this year's draftees, let's take a look a some of the players taken by the Red Sox.
The first ten picks for Boston were:
Round One Michael Chavis, INF Sprayberry HS Marietta, GA
Round One-A Michael Kopech, Mt. Pleasant HS, Texas
Round Two Sam Travis, 1B Indiana Univ.
Round Three Jake Cosart, RHP Seminole State JC (FL)
Round Four Kevin McAvoy, RHP Bryant University
Round Five Josh Ockimey, 1B Neumann-Goretti HS Philadelphia
Round Six Danny Mars, OF Chipola JC (FL)
Round Seven Reed Reilly, RHP Cal Poly
Round Eight Ben Moore, C Univ. of Alabama
Round Nine Kevin Steen, RHP Oak Ridge HS (TN)
Here are some notes on these draftees, plus some info on other interesting picks made later in the draft.
Chavis- The Georgia HS product was considered by most to be the second best high school hitter in the draft (after Alex Jackson, who went sixth overall to Seattle). He was not expected to still be on the board at 26 for Boston. Due to his sub six foot height and the intense way he plays the game, he is often compared to Dustin Pedroia. Chavis has signed for the slot value at #26: $1,870,500.
Kopech- One of the hardest throwing HS pitchers to ever come out of Texas, Kopech lights up the guns at around 97 mph. His stock was rising rapidly in the days before the draft, and there was some speculation the Red Sox might need to take him at 26 if they really wanted him. But he was still on the board at #33, where the Sox snagged him. Kopech has signed for slightly under his slot value: $1.5M. He has been assigned to the Gulf Coast League Red Sox.
Travis- At #67 overall, Sam Travis maybe one of the best picks of this draft. He was acknowledged to have one of the best power bats in the entire draft, but was considered to be a notch below guys like Casey Gillaspie, AJ Reed, and Derek Fisher. He very likely will be a first baseman only, this also lowered his draft value. But at least one scout's opinion (not a Boston scout) that I recently read compares Travis in size, approach, and power to Jeff Bagwell! Travis signed for his slot value of $848, 800 and has been assigned to Lowell.
Cosart- Jake has not yet officially signed, but several tweets on Cosart's own account imply that a deal is near. He is the brother of Astros pitcher Jared Cosart. Cosart throws his fastball at 98, and is an interesting prospect due to low mileage on his pitching arm. He began his college career at Duke as an outfielder, then transferred to a JUCO school and switched to pitching.
McAvoy- The New England college product has, somewhat surprisingly, not signed yet. Despite strong numbers at Bryant, it was widely expected McAvoy was over drafted here to be a below slot signee, saving money for players down the draft. McAvoy is still expected to sign before the deadline.
Ockimey- Another interesting pick that is an attempt to bring more power hitters into the system. Josh was not highly rated by the draft publications, some having him out of the their top 500. But the Red Sox had him in for a private workout in the weeks before the draft, and were very impressed and took him at #164 overall, not wanting to wait and have another club grab him. His Philadelphia roots may have something to do with this comparison, but some scouts have likened Ockimey to a young Ryan Howard. The Sox signed him away from a commitment to Indiana Univ. by signing him for $450,000, $161,000 over slot value.
Mars- A blazing fast outfielder, who has signed for the slot value of $211,800, should bring some speed to the system, and has the potential to be a leadoff hitter. Mars has been assigned to Lowell.
Reilly- He has been a relief pitcher in college, and some scouts feel Reilly could move to the majors quickly in that role. He is unsigned currently.
Moore- An outfielder in the SEC, the Sox drafted him as and plan to play him at catcher. He has signed for the slot value of $152,700.
Steen- The HS righty may be the least likely to sign of these first ten picks. Probably would take an over slot deal, and Boston has all ready handed out at least two of those.
Now a few other names taken down the draft that are still possible strong prospects for the Red Sox.
Round Eleven, #344 Karsten Whitson, RHP Univ. of Florida. Whitson has the most interesting back story and could be the best pick to come out of this draft class for Boston. The son of former big league pitcher Ed Whitson was picked out of high school by the Padres in the 2010 draft in the first round, number nine overall. The Padres offered Karsten $2.1 million and his people held out for $2.7M. In the end Whitson turned down the multi million dollar offer and went to the Univ. of Florida to pitch college ball. Whitson had an outstanding freshman season at Florida and was in the midst of another strong campaign as a soph went shoulder issues cropped up. He missed the entire 2013 season after surgery, and only came back this year as a senior at Florida. It was late this season before Whitson's velocity got back to 96. His coach at Florida right before the draft commented on how Whitson was finally rounding back into his old self, and he felt whoever picked Whitson would get " the steal of the draft". Whitson's signing was announced on June 21. He signed for $100,000...two million less than he turned down four years ago.
Round Fifteen, #464 Trenton Kemp, OF Buchanan HS Clovis, CA. Kemp fell this far in the draft due to a strong commitment to play baseball and football at Fresno State. His football position is wide receiver, in which his plus-plus speed is put to use. This speed along with right handed power had Kemp rated at #111 on the MLB.com rankings. He was expected to be a very difficult sign, but only days after the draft, Kemp agreed to a $250,000 contract with Boston, $150,000 over the slot (all picks after round ten have a $100,000 slot value and only the amount over $100,000 counts towards a team's draft budget.)Kemp was called maybe the best athlete in the whole draft by MLB.com, making Kemp the quintessential high risk high reward prospect. It also makes Trenton Kemp a name to watch.
Round Eighteen, #554 Jordan Betts, 3B Duke. If nothing else the Red Sox should being drafting any player available named Betts. This Betts has signed and is playing for the Lowell Spinners, where he has hit a pair of home runs in the early going of the New York Penn League.
Rounds Nineteen and Twenty, #584 and #614 Tyler Hill, OF Delaware Military Acad. Wilmington, DE and Devon Fisher, C Western Branch HS Chesapeake, VA. A pair of high schoolers who like Kemp fell due to expectations of being tough signs ( especially Fisher who college signing was with home state and college baseball power, Univ. of Virginia). They have both signed with the Red Sox. Fisher was ranked #197 by MLB.com. Hill is another raw, athletic, speedy outfielder.
Round 29, # 884 Josh Pennington, RHP Lower Cape May HS Cape May, NJ Pennington had a commitment to St. John's but decided to go pro. The reason was Pennington needs Tommy John surgery. He has signed this past week with the Sox and had the TJ procedure the next day. It may be 2016 before this northeast high school pitcher begins his pro career.
Round 36, #1154 Brandon Show RHP Univ. of San Diego Show at this point is the lowest draftee in this class to sign and has been assigned to Lowell. In round 39 the Sox took a high school SS from Washington state who has announced he is going to college and in the next to last pick of the entire draft, in round 40 the Sox selected college catcher, Joe Winterburn from UC Santa Barbara, who has not signed at this point.
As of June 22, the Red Sox have signed 24 of their 41 picks. Several more should come aboard before the deadline of July 18.
Expect to see a name or three from these draftees on the July edition of the RSM Red Sox Top Twenty Prospects.