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June 9, 2009 at 7:34 AM

Red Sox Draft Preview: Potential Day One Picks

In the seventh and final installment of our Red Sox Draft Preview, we bring you a list of potential day one draft picks for the Red Sox. Boston has three picks on day one, which gets underway tonight at 6:00 pm ET. The Sox will pick at #28 (first round), #77 (second round), and #107 (third round). If you’ve enjoyed our draft preview, follow along with our live draft up-to-the-minute coverage starting tonight, which will include a podcast immediately following the third round, as well as a preview of day two later tonight. For now, here are some ideas on players that may spark Theo Epstein’s and Jason McLeod’s interests on day one.

1st # refers to overall
PG Crosschecker draft ranking, June 5, 2009
2nd # refers to overall
Baseball America draft ranking, May 27, 2009

First Round (#28)

Matt Hobgood (#25/#40)
RHP, Norco HS (CA). Committed to CS-Fullerton.
Mid-90s fastball with solid breaking ball and changeup. In addition to projection, he’s put up spectacular numbers in 2009 (9-0, 0.38 ERA, 84 strikeouts in 55 innings).

James Paxton (#26/#37)
LHP, Kentucky (Junior).
Fastball tops out at 97 mph. Excellent control and movement. Decent curveball with a passable changeup. Solid mechanics. Inconsistent.

Everett Williams (#27/#19)
OF, McCallum HS (TX). Committed to Texas.
Athletic centerfielder with excellent bat speed. High power potential, minimal present power. Good baseball instincts. Top line speed.

AJ Pollock (#28/#23)
OF, Notre Dame (Junior).
Another athletic centerfielder, Pollock makes outstanding contact and has gap power. Excellent speed. Advanced approach at the plate. Average arm.

Tony Sanchez (#29/#32)
Catcher, Boston College (Junior).
Excellent defensive skills all around - solid glove, arm, and game calling ability. Tough demeanor. Offensively, he makes good contact and has average to above average power and plate patience.

Max Stassi (#31/#30)
Catcher, Yuba City HS (CA). Committed to UCLA.
All around offensive and defensive skills coupled with top flight athleticism, intelligence, instincts, and leadership ability. However, his arm is average and he can struggle with advanced off-speed stuff.

David Renfroe (#33/#67)
SS/RHP, South Panola HS (MS). Committed to Mississippi.
Two-way player prefers being a position player. As a pitcher, he has a 94 mph fastball, and a very good but inconsistent slider. Offensively, he makes excellent contact, projects as a .300 hitter at the major league level with some decent power potential. Superior athlete also is an outstanding football player.

Chad James (#35/#24)
LHP, Yukon HS (OK). Committed to Oklahoma State.
Great pitcher’s frame at 6-4, 200. Smooth delivery, excellent command. Fastball sits between 91-93 mph, gets up to 95 mph. He also utilizes a really nice curveball and a plus changeup. Mixes in all three pitches well.

Garrett Gould (#37/#25)
RHP, Maize HS (KS). Committed to Wichita State.
Fastball goes 90-94 mph. Low 80s curveball with plus potential. Decent changeup. Probably needs some tweaks to his mechanics.

Signability Players
On Friday we brought you a report on
seven first round talents that may slip due to signability concerns. Of those seven, word is that Boston would be interested in Tyler Matzek (#9/#8) and Jacob Turner (#13/#5), but not the others. But don’t believe everything you hear. There are also some recent rumors that independent league RHP Aaron Crow (#8/#7) could slip to the end of the first round, or that the Sox could go after injured catcher Luke Bailey (#190/#96) in later rounds.

Second Round (#77)

Slade Heathcoat (#48/#72)
OF, Texas HS (TX). Committed to LSU.
Toolsy rightfielder with plus arm, speed, and power. Average to above average contact and defensive skills. History of injury problems. He was suspended for two weeks for academic reasons in 2009. He’s got a ton of helium right now, and likely won’t slip to 77, but it’s not out of the question if injury or character concerns persist.

Reymond Fuentes (#52/#54)
OF, Fernando Callejo HS (PR)
Speedy centerfielder draws comparisons to Johnny Damon. Fuentes is often projected as a first round pick, and has been tabbed by some to go to in the teens or twenties, possibly even to Boston at 28. A few pro scouting services slate him as a supplemental pick or a second rounder. Almost certainly won’t last until #77, but if by chance he does, Boston would gladly scoop him up.

Chris Dominguez (#64/#85)
3B, Louisville (Junior).
Big East Player of the Year hit .343 with 23 home runs and 19 stolen bases in 2009. He has all the tools, but struggles with consistency.

Ben Tootle (#78/#79)
RHP, Jacksonville State (Junior).
97-98 mph fastball with little movement. Decent slider and sub-par changeup. Missed time in early 2009 due to illness. He has come back slow, decreasing his draft stock.

Mike Belfiore (#94/#89)
RHP, Boston College (Junior)
Reliever with a 90-94 mph fastball, a slider with plus potential, and an average low 80s changeup. The Red Sox like advanced college arms without a lot of mileage, and Belfiore has one right in Boston’s backyard.

Third Round (#107)

Kent Matthes (#83/#63)
OF, Alabama (Senior)
Essentially came out of nowhere to hit .358/.461/.858 with 28 home runs and 13 stolen bases in 2009. Mostly considered a performance pick, Matthes was not drafted after high school or after his junior year at Alabama. However, he does show some plus tools, including his arm strength and raw power, as well as above average all-around defensive skills. The Sox likely won’t target him in the second, but might take a look at Matthes if he’s still around at 107.

Justin Marks (#87/#83)
LHP, Louisville (Junior)
Former Sox pick in 2006. Louisville’s career leader in strikeouts and wins. Advanced four-pitch lefty.

Robert Stock (#91/#118)
RHP/C, USC (Junior)
Only 19 as a junior. Once considered a big time prospect as a catcher, many scouts have shifted their attention to Stock’s pitching. Low 90s fastball coupled with a potentially plus changeup.

D.J. LeMahieu (#95/#73)
SS, LSU (Sophomore)
Tall, polished shortstop may project as a 3B down the line. Gap power, needs to add strength if he does move to third. The fact that he’s a draft eligible sophomore means extra leverage in negotiations, so he could slip.

Kendal Volz (#113/#92)
RHP, Baylor (Junior).
Mid 90s fastball, solid low 80s slider, good changeup. Former closer for Team USA drawing attention as a starter in 2009.