6-8-2011: Red Sox 2011 draftees, part 1

With 4 of the top 40 picks, the Red Sox had quite draft the past two days. Here’s a look at the talent they selected. Now all they have to do is sign them!

Round 1, pick 19: Matt Barnes, 21 yo RHP, University of Connecticut (6-4, 203)

Barnes is as solid as pitching prospects come, with a high baseball IQ and throwing a low- to mid-90s fastball, a plus-curveball and a changeup. Throwing out of a 3/4 arm slot with minimal effort, his size and track record suggest he can be a very durable pitcher. He was seen by many as a top five pick at the beginning of the year. Can’t go wrong with choosing a New England name, even if he is a Yankee fan. Barnes also played for Team USA and in the Cape League. Here are his numbers from UConn:

Year W L ERA IP K/9 BB/9
2011 11 4 1.62 116.7 8.56 2.39
2010 8 3 3.92 82.7 8.17 2.72
2009 5 3 5.43 53.0 9.34 3.91

Multiple scouts mention that he’s got some refining to do with his delivery, so he’s probably going to need about two years of seasoning in the minors. Scouting director Amiel Sawdaye said that the Sox view him as a “middle of the rotation guy” with “three plus-pitches”. Given his age and the lack of openings on the Sox staff, we probably won’t see him before late 2013.

Round 1, pick 26: Blake Swihart, 19 yo C (S/R), Cleveland HS (6-1, 175)

With their second pick, the Red Sox selected Swihart, a legitimate switch-hitting catcher. He’s got very good bat speed from both sides, and very good pop from the right. He’s only been catching for two years, but he’s a great athlete with a cannon for an arm and he’s learned quickly. His excellent performance with Team USA last year (team-best .448 average, with 6 doubles, 5 HR and 17 RBI in 17 games) really convinced the Sox that he will be able to play at the highest level. He’s a 4.0 student, and there’s very little he can’t do, including throwing mid-90s heat off of a mound. As of now, he’s committed to the University of Texas. He’s said a lot about it being his “dream school” and such, but he’s also stopped short of saying that he won’t sign, which to me means he probably will sign, if the Sox pay him to. Signing him may be the difference between this being a good draft and a very good one.

Round 1s, pick 36: Henry Owens, 18 yo LHP, Edison HS (6-7, 200)

Hailing from Huntington Beach, CA, Owens is one of the top prep players in the nation, even though he throws “just” 90 mph. Starting off as a raw, gangly youth, he has really refined his control and command during the past two years, and dominated the opposition as a result – and he has the stats to prove it. Owens has a very distinctive windup, and it adds some deception to his 3/4-arm delivery. He throws a hard, mid-70s curve and a straight change, and both of those pitches for strikes. That, along with his physique, really separates him from other prep players. With his size, Owens could very well become the left-handed Anthony Ranaudo.

Round 1s, pick 40: Jackie Bradley Jr., 21 yo OF (L/R), University of South Carolina (5-10, 175)

Bradley is one of those players who just blows you away when you see him play: a speedy outfielder with a quick bat and a cannon arm. He’s a spray hitter, but some scouts see him as capable of 20 HRs in a year. In other words, he’s capable of being that five-tool player every GM dreams of. He’s really developed the hitting over the past few years, and shows excellent plate discipline, so he could stick in either CF or RF eventually. Check out the arm in this video:

Some scouts liken him to Chone Figgins with some decent power. Bradley is a good character guy, and looks to be an exciting prospect going forward.


One Response to 6-8-2011: Red Sox 2011 draftees, part 1

  1. Pingback: 8-16-2011: Sox have another successful draftee signing deadline « Red Sox Talk

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