December 6, 2012 at 11:41 AM
The Red Sox selected three players in Thursday morning's Rule 5 Draft. In the major league phase of the draft, the Red Sox selected second baseman Jeff Kobernus of the Washington Nationals organization, then traded him to the Detroit Tigers for minor league utility player Justin Henry. In the Triple-A phase of Rule 5, the Red Sox selected left-handed pitcher Jack McGeary, also from the Nationals and a graduate of Roxbury Latin, and right-handed pitcher Jonathan Bachanov from the Chicago White Sox.
Henry, a 27-year old who spent all of 2012 with Triple-A Toledo, split most of his time between second base, third base, and center field last season, making brief appearances in left and right field as well. In parts of three seasons at the Triple-A level, he sports a .296/.369/.356 line in just under 750 plate appearances. He will bring important versatility to a Pawtucket roster that recently lost utility player Nate Spears to Cleveland as a minor league free agent.
Local product McGeary was selected in the sixth round of the 2007 draft out of Roxbury Latin, falling that far because of a strong commitment to attend Stanford University. The Nationals were able to convince McGeary to go pro with a $1.8 million signing bonus, and a unique agreement that allowed him to attend Stanford to earn his degree and pitch over the summer. McGeary graduated from Stanford in the winter of 2011. McGeary is working his way back from Tommy John surgery in 2010, and pitched just 9 1/3 innings in 2012 between the Nats' Gulf Coast League club and the New York-Penn League Auburn Doubledays. Due to injury and his unique school situation, he has only reached as high as Low A in six minor league seasons. Control has been a major issue for McGeary since he began pitching full-time in 2009, as evinced by his 13 walks in 9 1/3 innings last season.
Bachanov was a supplemental first-round pick of the Los Angeles Angels in the 2007 draft, but did not make his pro debut until 2009 due to Tommy John surgery. The Angels released him in the spring of 2011 and he signed with the White Sox. This past season, the 23-year-old split the season between High A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham. Bachanov's fastball can hit 93-96 mph when it is going well, but his control has been an issue; he walked 58 batters in 74 2/3 innings in 2012, including 15 in 8 2/3 Double-A innings. Bachanov likely impressed the Sox by pitching against them: as Salem Red Sox broadcaster Evan Lepler reported, he held Salem hitters to a .185 average in 16 1/3 innings.
Although McGeary and Bachanov were selected in the Triple-A phase of the draft, they do not need to be, and most certainly will not be, on the Pawtucket roster. They need only be on the Triple-A reserve list, which is something like the major league 40-man roster, but at the Triple-A level. For example, pitcher Gerardo Olivares was Boston's selection in last year's Triple-A phase, and he split 2012 between the Gulf Coast League and Short-Season A Lowell Spinners after converting from catcher to pitching.