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June 3, 2011 at 7:36 AM

Red Sox Draft Preview Part 4 of 7: Players Linked to the Sox

In the fourth installment of our 2011 Red Sox Draft Preview, we bring you a list of players loosely linked to the Red Sox – either through inside reports on workouts, through media projections, as former unsigned draft picks, or by dint of playing in New England. 

This installment of the preview has been somewhat prophetic over the past three seasons. In 2010, the first three players we listed were Kolbrin Vitek, Bryce Brentz, and Anthony Ranaudo -- ultimately Boston's first three picks of the 2010 draft. We also projected Sean Coyle (3rd round) as a potential third rounder, and discussed Kendrick Perkins (6th round) as a possible mid-round pick in our draft podcast. In 2009, we projected Reymond Fuentes (1st round), David Renfroe (3rd round), and Seth Schwindenhammer (5th round) as potential high picks, and noted Mike Yastrzemski (36th round) as a local product who could get drafted by the Sox in the later rounds. In 2008, we admittedly listed a slew of names in our preview, but we nailed nine in Casey Kelly (1st), Pete Hissey (4th), Ryan Westmoreland (5th), Ryan Lavarnway (6th), Tim Federowicz (7th), Alex Meyer (20th), Anthony DeSclafani (22nd), Seth Garrison (23rd), and Matt Marquis (29th), all of whom were selected by Boston in the respective rounds listed.


Here is a short list of players that we’ve heard have privately worked out for Boston or who have been heavily scouted by the Red Sox front office.

Day One

Matt Barnes, RHP, UConn – Tall frame, mixes a 93-97 mph fastball with a cutter and a potential plus curveball. May not last to #19.  For more info, check out John Meoli's May 26 interview with Barnes and George Springer.

Josh Bell, OF, Jesuit (TX) – Switch-hitter with elite power potential, projects as a right fielder. Very strong commitment to Texas, may not be signable.

Mikie Mahtook, OF, LSU – Good athlete with solid power. Plays all outfield positions, but may end up in left field. Could be a value pick that gets scooped up early on by a small market team.

Brandon Nimmo, OF, East HS (WY) - Center fielder with a great combination of power and speed. Solid defender.  Lots of helium entering draft week.

Tyler Beede, RHP, Lawrence Academy (MA) – Great frame, fastball sits 93-95 mph. Also has a changeup, a curveball, and slider in development, so he projects as a starter long-term at this point. Strong commitment to Vanderbilt and high bonus demands could push him to the supplemental round. For more info, check out John Gray's May 27 interview with Beede.

Joe Ross, RPH, Bishop O’Dowd (CA) – Ross’s arsenal includes a mid-90s fastball, a solid curveball, and a nice changeup. Committed to UCLA.

Day Two

Kyle Crick, RHP, Sherman (TX) – 94-97 mph fastball with a curveball that has plus potential. Max effort pitcher with some command concerns. 

Tyler Marlette, C, Hagerty (FL) – Athletic catcher with high power potential, very good arm strength, and solid intangibles. 

Charlie Tilson, OF, New Trier (IL) – Speedy center fielder who makes excellent contact and shows decent plate discipline. Potential lead-off hitter. 

Johnny Eierman, SS, Warsaw (MO) – Impressive power and speed combination. Raw approach, likely better suited for a move to center field.

Amir Garrett, LHP, Findlay Prep (NV) – Elite basketball player committed to St. John’s, but has shown 96 mph velocity in recent weeks, as well as some developing secondary offerings. A large offer could pry him away from basketball.

Shon Carson, OF, Lake City (SC) – Two-sport athlete also excels in football. Switch hitter with outstanding speed, a strong arm, and good power potential. Major sleeper.


Here is a list of twelve players whom other media outlets have projected that the Red Sox may take in the early rounds.

George Springer, OF, UConn – Five-tool center fielder. High ceiling, but swing mechanics likely need some adjustment. May not make it to #19.

Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech – Bradley’s arsenal includes a 90-95 mph fastball, a nice low-80s slider, and a developing changeup. Good command. Polished.

Daniel Norris, LHP, Science Hill (TN) – Lefty with a fastball that gets up to 96 mph. High ceiling, especially if he can improve upon his secondary stuff. 

Blake Swihart, C, Cleveland HS (NM) – Athletic catcher with a strong arm. Projects to be an average hitter with average power at the major league level. Switch-hitter. Draft-eligible sophomore. Post-publication edit: Swihart has been connected to the Red Sox by several outlets in the last 24 hours, so he's also a candidate to be listed as a "linked player" above.

Jose Fernandez, RHP, Alonso (FL) – Cuban defector dominated high school competition in 2011. 95 mph fastball with a slurve and an undeveloped changeup. 

Austin Hedges, C, JSerra (CA) – Elite defensive potential across the board. Offensively, Hedges grades out as average to slightly below-average, but coupled with his plus defensive skills, that could make for a very valuable prospect.

Andrew Susac, C, Oregon State – Average defender with a very strong arm. Average hitter with above-average power potential.

Matt Purke, LHP, TCU – Once considered a potential top pick in this draft, Purke’s stock has slid due to arm issues and significantly-decreased velocity. Could slide into the supplemental round and try to re-prove himself in summer ball later in the year.

Andrew Chafin, LHP, Kent State – Missed the 2010 season after Tommy John surgery. He throws a plus slider, a 90-95 mph fastball, and an average changeup. 

Anthony Meo, RHP, Coastal Carolina – Native of Cranston, RI. Arsenal includes a 93-96 mph fastball and a very good curveball.

Derek Fisher, OF, Cedar Crest (PA) – Power hitter with a strong frame but an over-aggressive approach. Likely slotted for left field over the long haul.

Jason Esposito, 3B, Vanderbilt – Native of Bethany, CT. Solid contact hitter with excellent defensive skills. Average power and speed.


Several former unsigned Red Sox draft picks are re-eligible for the 2011 draft. A full list of Boston’s unsigned picks from 2003-2010 is available on our Unsigned Draft Picks page. Before browsing this list, keep two things in mind: (1) under Major League Rule 4, the Red Sox may not select these players again unless the player consents to the re-selection; and (2) Boston has only re-drafted a player twice since 2003 – Garrison in 2007 and 2008 and PJ Thomas in 2005 and 2006. The Sox have, however, signed three former draftees as undrafted free agents – John Killen in 2010, Zak Farkes in 2005, and Mitch Stachowsky in 2004. With that said, here's a list of Boston’s most highly-regarded former draftees who are re-eligible for the 2011 draft.

Alex Meyer, RHP, Kentucky (20th round, 2008) – Tall right-hander with a high-90s fastball that can hit 100 mph. Also throws a plus slider and a decent changeup. Questionable command. Extremely high ceiling. Projects to go early in the first round, but could potentially slip to #19.

Navery Moore, RHP, Vanderbilt (26th round, 2008) - Throws a low-to-mid 90s fastball, but doesn't have much in terms of secondary offerings. Projects as a reliever.  Possible third or fourth rounder this year.

Ricky Oropesa, 1B/3B, USC (24th round, 2008) - Big strong frame with high present power and a higher power ceiling. Makes below average contact however, striking out far too much. Great arm at third base, but below average lateral quickness may limit him to first base. Likely to be picked in the supplemental or second round.

Sam Stafford, LHP, Texas (40th round, 2008) – Mixes in a 91-94 mph fastball, a high-70s curveball, a low-80s slider, and an underdeveloped changeup. Mid-round pick.

Anthony DeSclafani, RHP, Florida (22nd round, 2008) – Reliever with a 96 mph fastball and limited secondary stuff.  Mid-to-late round pick.

Brian Flynn, LHP, Wichita State (18th round, 2008) – Huge frame with a low-to-mid 90s fastball. Below average secondary stuff. Mid-to-late round pick.

Rock Shoulders, 1B, Manatee JC (20th round, 2010) – Big, strong frame with big time power potential. Decent defense at first base. Late round pick.

Mason Justice, RHP, Eastern Oklahoma (21st round, 2010) – JuCo transfer with a 93 mph fastball. Late round pick.

Chris Constantino, RHP, Walters State (49th round, 2009) – Lincoln, RI native with a 93 mph fastball. Late round pick.

Garret Autrey, RHP/SS, Navarro JC (48th round 2010) – Solid all-around athlete, potential late round redraft.


It’s easy to predict that the Sox will take a player “from their own backyard,” but in actuality it doesn’t happen all that often. The Sox have only made fifteen picks out of New England since 2005, just three of which came before the 20th round (Westmoreland and Lavarnway in 2008, and Kyle Fernandes in 2005). This year could be different, however, as there are a handful of local products that project to go in the areas where the Red Sox are selecting. 

Potential Day One picks from New England include Springer, Barnes, and Beede, all discussed above. Two other players that could go early on Day Two are Nick Ahmed, an energetic and fundamentally-sound shortstop out of UConn, and Pat Connaughton, a right-hander out of St. John’s Prep (MA) with a 94 mph fastball and a strong commitment to Notre Dame to play both baseball and basketball.

Here is a list of the other top draft-eligible players from New England, in no particular order. Each of these players project as possible late Day Two picks. 

Jordan Cote, Winnisquam Regional (NH)
Jeff Diehl, C, Cranston West (RI)
Mike Dowd, C, Franklin Pierce
Kyle Hendricks, RHP, Dartmouth
Jack Leathersich, LHP, U-Mass Lowell (check out John Gray's May 25 interview with Leathersich)
Taylor Lewis, OF, U-Maine
John Magliozzi, RHP, Dexter (MA)
John Pedrotty, LHP, Holy Cross
Adam Ravenelle, SS, Lincoln-Sudbury (MA)
Sal Romano, RHP, Southington (CT)
Ryan Thompson, RHP, Franklin Pierce
Kevin Vance, RHP, UConn