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June 5, 2018 at 2:19 PM

Red Sox select Kole Cottam with their fourth-round pick

With their fourth-round pick (130th overall) in the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft, the Red Sox have selected Kole Cottam, a catcher from the University of Kentucky. Cottam is ranked 361st by Baseball America and 322nd by Perfect Game. He was not ranked by either MLB.com or Keith Law of ESPN.

The 21-year-old had a monster 2018 season for the Wildcats, blasting 19 home runs on his way to a .352/.438/.667 slash line, splitting time between catcher and first base. As a power-hitting catcher, Cottam exhibits quiet mechanics and an ability to loft the ball in the air with authority. He does have some swing-and-miss in his game, with 51 strikeouts this year in 260 plate appearances.

According to Baseball America "his bat has exceeded expectations, but his defense has regressed" after arriving in Lexington as a glove-first catcher. At six-foot-three, 225 pounds, Cottam is a physical specimen with a muscular build, with Perfect Game crediting him as "solid behind the plate," combining good agility for his size with decent receiving skills and an average arm.

Cottam has also overcome severe health issues off the field. He has had 13 surgeries to remove a congenital melanocytic nevus near his right eye, the first coming when he was only three months old, with doctors fearing that he could lose the eye. In eighth grade, he had his lower eyelid removed, grafted, and sewn shut in order to heal. He has not had surgery since, and his vision has remained unaffected. He wore the number 13 with Kentucky as a reminder of those 13 surgeries.

Scouting info was compiled from industry publications including Baseball America, Perfect Game USA, ESPN, and MLB.com.

Photo Credit: Kole Cottam from UKAthletics.