6-8-2010: Sox nab Vitek, Brentz and Ranaudo on Day 1

The Red Sox selected three players last night in the first and supplemental rounds of the draft, and were really pleased with the results. Unlike other recent drafts, the Sox went with college players early, and are earning lots of praise for their selections. Just another example of them zigging when others are zagging. True to their efficient form, Boston already has a verbal agreement in place with their first pick, and are expected to sign the second one easily. Here’s a quick overview of who we got:

Kolbrin Vitek, 2B/OF (Ball State University)

The Red Sox passed on 3B Zack Cox to snag 21-year old Vitek at number 20 overall (of course, Cox fell to the Cardinals all the way at number 25, so there may be something else going on there). Like many previous Red Sox first rounders, Vitek was a two-way player at Ball State, playing 2B and pitching in the rotation (full college stats available as a PDF here). Unlike most early picks, he is right-handed. He is listed at 6-3, 195 and is one of those guys who has always hit at every level. As a junior at Ball State, he led his team with a .361/.445/.691 performance with 17 HR and 40 XBH in 233 AB. He showed good patience, with 33 walks to 36 strikeouts this year and 75 walks to 90 strikeouts over his college career.

Scouts like Vitek’s athleticism and very good bat speed and mechanics; he’s also got excellent baseball instincts, and always seems to play better than he should be capable of. It’s been reported that the Padres were considering him with the 9th pick, so he could be a bargain at 20. He’s a strong runner on the basepaths, though still a little raw in that aspect of the game. He’s not considered a great fit at 2B, so many scouts have him moving to third base or the outfield in the future. The knock on him is he may not have the pop of a corner outfielder or the speed and fielding ability of a centerfielder, making him sort of a tweener player. His competition in the MAC league was not the best either, so it’s difficult to project exactly how good he will be, but the Sox are hopeful that he’ll fill out and reach 20+ HR power potential eventually.

Bryce Brentz, OF (Middle Tennessee University)

Currently at 6-0, 185, Brentz is a projectable player with “light tower” power, according to our scouting director Amiel Sawdaye; apparently he peppered Landsdowne Street in his tryout with the Sox. He is another two-way player who has hit 93 mph with his fastball. As a junior, Brentz hit .348/.440/.636 with 15 HR in 46 games. His tantalizing potential had many listing him to go in the first round, but he did suffer a high ankle sprain that hampered this season, and like Vitek, he didn’t play in the most challenging league. But that doesn’t mean the guy isn’t talented.

Brentz has a very compact swing and generates a lot of pop to all fields. He’s also pretty good in the field (he tried out in CF in college), which makes him more of a complete player and potentially much more valuable than an all-bat guy. The Sox see him as a right fielder in their system, and he will provide some sorely needed right-handed power in our farm system. The primary criticisms of Brentz are that he needs work on his plate discipline and on hitting breaking pitches, but if he can work those out, he profiles as a Nick Markakis comparable.

Anthony Ranaudo, RHP (Louisiana State University)

Ranaudo is quite a presence on the mound at 6-7, 227 and was considered a top 5 selection by many coming into this year before an elbow/forearm injury derailed his season; however, he looked strong in the SEC tournament to end the year, touching the mid-90s. Other teams didn’t forget about him, but they were wary of the medical risk, which the Red Sox are happy to assume in order to get a high-ceiling, impact player. They are quick to point out that the injury was not structural in nature, but stress-induced. He maintained a high strikeout ratio, but his command seems to have suffered somewhat since the injury. Ranaudo features a plus fastball and average-to-plus spike curve, and he’s working on a changeup.

With a couple of “safe” picks made before him, Boston felt like they could gamble a bit with this third pick. And with the ceiling of a number one starter, if Ranaudo pans out, he could be the biggest steal and the best player out of this draft for the Red Sox. I like them apples. Signability could be an issue, since Ranaudo is represented by Scott Boras, but we’re used to dealing with him, aren’t we?

Can’t wait for day 2.

One Response to 6-8-2010: Sox nab Vitek, Brentz and Ranaudo on Day 1

  1. redsoxtalk says:

    The story with Zach Cox was that he was looking for a huge signing bonus. The Red Sox evaluated and didn’t think he was worth that much money.

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