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August 16, 2011 at 12:10 AM

Report: Red Sox sign first-round selection Blake Swihart

The Red Sox have reportedly signed first round pick Blake Swihart, a catcher out of V. Sue Cleveland High School in New Mexico. The bonus is reported to be $2.5 million.

Considered by some evaluators to be the top catcher and among the best high school hitters in the 2011 draft class, Swihart slipped to the bottom of the first round due to his high bonus demands and strong commitment to the University of Texas. He also would have been eligible to enter the draft again after his sophomore year in college, giving him even more leverage in negotiations.

A switch-hitter with a great swing from both sides of the plate, he has a very high ceiling both in terms of hitting for average and power. He has excellent batspeed right now, and projects to add power as he matures and his body fills out. Some experts have projected him to profile as a future .300 hitter with 20+ homers.

Swihart impressed with the 18U National Team last summer, leading a team that featured fellow first-rounders Bubba Starling and Francisco Lindor in batting average (.448), home runs (5), slugging percentage (.845), on-base percentage (.492), and total bases (49) in 17 games. He earned Gatorade Player of the Year honors and was named a Rawlings First-Team All American in 2011 after hitting .545 with 5 home runs and 41 RBI in 99 at-bats for Rio Rancho, and played in the 2010 AFLAC All-American Game.

It is unclear whether he will be able to stick behind the plate as he moves up the professional ranks, though most evaluators seem to believe he will stay at the position in the long-run. He is considered slightly undersized for the position and played all over the diamond in high school, which slowed his development as a catcher. However, he has a strong arm and is very athletic, meaning he has the tools to stick at catcher and if not he could project well defensively at a corner infield or outfield position.