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June 1, 2012 at 7:46 AM

Red Sox Draft Preview, Part 4 of 4: Possible Sox targets

In the fourth installment of our 2012 Red Sox Draft Preview, we bring you a list of players linked to the Red Sox – either through inside reports on workouts, 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 four seasons.  In 2011, Matt Barnes was the first player we listed, and Blake Swihart also made our list as well, and they ended up as Boston’s two first round picks.  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  preview 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.

With that being said, here is a short list of players that we’ve linked to the Red Sox as possible picks.

First Round (24th overall)

Matt Smoral, LHP, Solon HS (OH) – Smoral is a big, tall lefty with a live and loose arm. He mixes in a mid-90s fastball, a curveball with plus potential, and a work-in-progress changeup. He’s committed to North Carolina. 

Victor Roache, OF, Georgia Southern – Roache is one of the best power-hitting prospects in this year's draft. He has outstanding bat speed and controls the head of the bat well.  Not a defensive-minded player, Roache likely profiles as a left fielder or first baseman.  Projected by some as a top 10 pick, he broke his wrist diving for a ball in February, and may slide down the board a bit as a result.

Chris Stratton, RHP, Mississippi State – Moved from the bullpen to the rotation in 2012, Stratton has impressed against solid competition. His arsenal includes a low-to-mid 90s fastball, an above-average slider, and a developing changeup, all of which he throws with excellent command. He may be gone by the mid-first round.

D.J. Davis, OF, Stone HS (MS) – Davis is an elite athlete with plus plus speed and intelligence on the base paths – a prototypical leadoff hitter.  He has a decent approach at the plate, and projects to be an average contact hitter with above-average on-base skills and below-average power.  He shows excellent range, a very reliable glove, and a mediocre arm in center field.  

Joey Gallo, 1B/3B, Bishop Gorman HS (TX) – Gallo may be the best power hitter in the draft (better than Roache), but he has a very aggressive approach. He’s played mostly third base in high school, but projects better as a first baseman in the pros, where he should prove to be adequate defensively.  He’s committed to LSU, and could be a tough sign if he slides too far.

First Round/Supplemental Round (31st, 37th overall)

Zach Eflin, RHP, Hagerty HS (FL) – Eflin increased his fastball velocity up to 97 mph in 2012, significantly improving his draft status, but also missed part of the season  due to elbow tendonitis.  He also has a stellar changeup and a curveball in need of some development.  He could also be a target for Boston at #24.  

Hunter Virant, LHP, Camarillo HS (CA) – Virant is yet another tall, thin left-hander with a projectable frame. He throws his fastball in the 92-96 mph range, and also throws an excellent curveball and a low-80s changeup. Committed to UCLA, he’s advanced enough to start 2013 in Low-A if he opts to go pro.

Nolan Fontana, SS, Florida – A stellar defensive player at shortstop, Fontana also has a knack for getting on base despite relatively mediocre contact rates and below-average power. He profiles as a #2 or #9 hitter depending on how his offense develops.  

Barrett Barnes, OF, Texas Tech – Barnes is a right-handed power hitter that projects to play center/left field as a pro.  He has an above-average plate approach and a quick bat, but he has some holes in his swing.  Barnes has above-average speed and a below-average arm.  

Brian Johnson, LHP, Florida – An excellent athlete who also plays first base, Johnson projects best at a back-end starter.  His array of pitches includes a low-90s fastball, a solid curveball, a slider and a changeup.  Johnson doesn’t have the highest ceiling, but he's a safe pick that may sign for below slot.

Second Round (87th overall)

Branden Kline, RHP, Virginia – Former Red Sox sixth round pick out of high school in 2009.  Projectable righty with a low 90s fastball and inconsistent secondary stuff.  

Pat Light, RHP, Monmouth – Tall righty with a low-to-mid-90s fastball throws strikes. Secondary pitches have raw potential. Projects better as a reliever. 

Rio Ruiz, 3B, Bishop Amat HS (CA) – Advanced defensive player with a strong arm, raw power potential, below-average speed, and average ability to make contact. 

Peter O'Brien, C, Miami – Has shown flashes of brilliance on offense, but not consistently.  Good arm at catcher but questionable agility.  Fractured his wrist on April 15.

Luke Bard, RHP, Georgia Tech – Another former Red Sox draftee and Daniel’s younger brother.  Mid-90s fastball with an inconsistent breaking ball.  Currently out with a torn lat muscle.  

Third Round (118th overall)

Nick Williams, OF, Ball HS (TX) – Lefty bat with impressive, unrefined tools. Has first round talent, but baseball acumen is questionable. May be best served to honor his commitment to the University of Texas, but the right development staff could have a diamond in the rough.

Matt Olson, 1B, Parkview HS (GA) – Two-way player is an excellent hitter for contact and power.  Below average defense and speed.  Committed to Vanderbilt.  

Steven “Paco” Rodriguez, LHP, Florida – Low-90s fastball with a decent slider. Goes after hitters.  Projects as a lefty bullpen arm at the major league level.  

Cody Poteet, RHP, Christian HS (CA) – 92-94 mph fastball with a plus curveball and a reliable slider.  Somewhat unrefined.  Committed to UCLA.

Chase DeJong, RHP, Wilson HS (CA) – Low-90s fastball with a plus curveball, average changeup, and an unconventional delivery.  Committed to USC.  

Later Rounds 

Rhett Wiseman, OF, Buckingham Browne & Nichols HS (MA) – Local product committed to Vanderbilt.  Raw tools would good makeup, but needs lots of development time.  Tough sign.  

Jayce Boyd, 1B, Florida State – Excellent contact hitter and defender, but lack of power leaves something to be desired at his position.  A move to third base isn’t out of the question.  

Jamie Callahan, RHP, Dillon HS (SC) – Righty with upside. 93-94 mph fastball with 3 workable secondary pitches. Committed to South Carolina. 

Daniel Starwalt, RHP, Granite Hills HS (CA) – Potential sleeper with a mid-90s fastball and above-average curveball.  Didn’t put up great stats in 2012, but tools are there. Strong commitment to Stanford. 

Jamie Jarmon, OF, Indian River HS (DE) – Center fielder with raw power and slightly above-average speed.  Will need a lot of development.  Committed to South Carolina.  

Kyle Carter, OF, Columbus (GA) HS – Former Little League World Series champ.  Very good current skills, limited ceiling.  Powerful bat with below-average speed. Committed to Georgia.  

Cole Irvin, LHP, Servite HS (CA) – Projectable arm with mediocre present stuff. Fastball is currently in the high 80s, but curveball has plus potential.  Committed to Oregon.  

Raph Rhymes, OF, LSU – SEC Player of the Year.  Outstanding contact hitter, not a ton of power potential.  Position is up in the air, could play corner outfield or second base.  

Patrick Delano, RHP, Braintree HS (MA) – Plus curveball with a 92-94 mph fastball.  Had Tommy John surgery in July 2010. Committed to Vanderbilt. 

Nelson Rodriguez, C, George Washington HS (NY) – Large frame with a powerful swing.  Good arm, agile for his size.