2008 Draft: Rounds 1-6

The Boston Red Sox completed their first day of picks by bolstering their farm system with – more pitching. But not just pitching. As Theo promised, they went after higher-ceiling guys this time around, with more high school players in the bunch. They’re all athletic guys with mutiple skillsets, very toolsy players who fit the Clay Buchholz-type profile. Here’s a quick rundown.

Round 1, 30th overall: Casey Kelly, 6-3, 195, SS/RHP, Sarasota HS (FL)
Looks like the Sox have a thing for athletic pitchers. Kelly is a two-sport star and a two-way player, just a great athlete overall. He has been clocked running a 4.6 s 40-yard dash, and he is ranked at number 31 by ESPN.com as a quarterback recruit. He was seen as a top 15 talent, but has actually already given his commitment to play two sports at Tennessee, so we’ll see if the Sox can put up enough cash to reel him in.
Kelly prefers to play the field and has a lot of potential, but even after hitting .473 his senior year, his hitting is a bit of a question mark to some scouts. Good instincts on the bases, smooth in the field with a great arm, and athleticism out the wazoo. But the Sox prefer him as a pitcher. On the mound, he is less experienced but already throws in the low 90s and has a good bender. He’s thrown strikes and seems to have a mature feel for pitching. He was 8-1 with a 1.16 ERA and two saves this year, striking out 77 and walking 12 in 66 IP. Last year, he made All-State after going 11-0 with a 0.24 ERA in 45 IP. His father, Pat Kelly, briefly was a catcher in the big leagues.

Round 1s, 45th overall: Bryan Price, 6-4, 200, RHP, Rice Univ
Price is a sinker/slider pitcher who can throw 93-95 mph, and one of the most improved pitchers this season. He set a Texas Collegiate League record in a game last July by striking out 18 batters in 7 2/3 innings. His problem area is erratic control. Sounds a lot like Bryce Cox, who the Sox also drafted out of Rice a couple of years ago.
Price was 3-4 this year with a 3.65 ERA, striking out 50 batters in 44 1/3 IP. He also had two saves. Price keeps the ball down well and could be either a starter or a reliever, but the Sox have indicated that they will give him a chance to start.

Round 2, 77th overall: Derrik Gibson, 6-1, 170, SS/RHP, Seaford HS (DE)
Another great athlete (and student), Gibson has run a 6.4 s 60-yard dash. One of those guys with fundamentals who can play any position well. Has a great arm, and can really bring it from the mound. Is able to throw in the high 80s already, and also mixes a 12-6 curve and a changeup.
First-team All-State this year at SS. His junior year in high school, he went 7-1 with a 1.38 ERA, fanned 108 men in 56 1/3 IP, and held opponents to a .151 batting average. As a result he was selected as the Gatorade/RISE Delaware Player of the Year. He has committed to play baseball at UNC.

Round 3, 85th overall: Stephen Fife, RHP, 6-3, 210, Utah
Originally used as a reliever, Fife moved to the rotation and was 7-5 in his junior season with a 3.72 ERA this year, fanning 78 and walking 28 in 92 IP and earning first-team All-Conference honors. He throws a low 90s sinker, a slider and a curve, and has good throwing mechanics. He really rocketed up the charts late this year, and was ranked 57th on Baseball America’s annual top 100 prospect list. Like Fife, Sox infield prospect Ryan Khoury is also a former Ute.

Round 3, 108th overall: Kyle Weiland, RHP, 6-3, 180, Notre Dame
A junior, Weiland brings low- to mid-90s heat and a good slider. He also throws a changeup which is not considered as good a pitch as the other two offerings. Weiland is a good overall athlete and loves to be on the mound with the game on the line. He was inconsistent in 2008, posting a 5.04 ERA with 7 saves. Slowed by a major broken collarbone last year, he struggled a little to regain his form. The closer for Notre Dame, most scouts profile him as a future elite closer.

Round 4, 142nd overall: Pete Hissey, OF/LHP, 6-1, 180, Unionville HS (PA)
Hissey is a speedy (6.5 s in the 60-yard dash) outfielder who can hit and get on base, giving pitchers fits (sorry for the pun). Good makeup and has started for three years on varsity and performed extremely well at every level of competition. In his junior year, he hit .559 with 1 HR, 24 RBI and 20 stolen bases. Hissey is one of the top high school shooting guards in the Philadelphia area (he’s good enough to play Div I, though probably at a smaller school), and is also among the top students at his prep school. He’s from a baseball family, however, and will stick with it. He is committed to play baseball at UVA.

Round 5, 172nd overall: Ryan Westmoreland, OF/RHP, 6-2, 185, Portsmouth HS (RI)
One of the top prospects in New England, Westmoreland hit .486/.562/.806 this year with 13 XBH in 24 games. Heady player (National Honor Society) with advanced plate discipline for a young player. Athletic, slim frame which projects to fill out and add strength, and probably above-average power. Rangy outfielder with a good arm and instincts. Gets to first base in a hurry (4.0 s), and almost never gets caught stealing. As a pitcher, Westmoreland threw a perfect game this past April, striking out 19 of 21 batters faced, so he has some potential there as well.

Round 6, 202nd overall: Ryan Lavarnway, C/OF, 6-4, 225, Yale
Out of El Camino Real HS in California, Lavarnway is a good right-handed hitter who’s also shown very good power. He’s played catcher only for two years, and at his size, it’s doubtful that he can remain there for very long; still, he has shown a good glove and has a strong arm. Maybe he could stick there short-term, like Matt Wieters of Baltimore. He was a pretty good defensive outfielder before switching to catcher, so that’s probably the most likely place to send him.
Lavarnway hit .398/.541/.824 as a junior, and .467/.531/.873 as a sophomore, leading the NCAA in average. He struck out 19 times in 108 AB this year, compared to 29 walks. He has played well against non-Ivy competition, so no worries there. A well-liked team leader and a guy who helps keep the team loose, Lavarnway chose to “earn” his way to the Majors, rather than take an athletic scholarship. He is a philosophy major.


3 Responses to 2008 Draft: Rounds 1-6

  1. Pat says:

    Very, very good post. Kudos.

  2. redsoxtalk says:

    Thanks, Pat. The research took some time, hence the delay. I’m also on vacation this week, so posts will be scarce.

  3. Jeff says:

    The Soxs got a steal with Lavarnway. One of the hardest working kids you will ever find, and humble as well. I am still waiting for Ryan to punch me in the face.

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