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July 7, 2020 at 12:30 PM

2005 Draft Retrospective: The picks

We welcome you to the 2005 edition of the SoxProspects.com Draft Retrospective series. Over the next several weeks, we will revisit each Red Sox draft going back to the start of the SoxProspects.com era. Each retrospective will come in two parts: The first will be a pick-by-pick recap of each selection with very brief comments, including their peak rank on the SoxProspects.com Top 60, as well as some of the notable players the team passed on to make those picks. Players who signed are in bold, those who did not are in italics. Bonus numbers are included where available.

In 2004, the Red Sox were slumping after the devastating end to the previous season and did not have a chance to pick until the 65th selection in the draft. A year later, they were the reigning world champions, were leading the American League East into June, and possessed six of the first 57 selections in what was thought to be a very strong draft class. Free agent maneuvering allowed Boston to add three additional draft picks by letting three of its own players go (Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, and Orlando Cabrera) and signing replacements on the market (David Wells, Matt Clement, and Edgar Renteria). The 2005 draft would also be the first for Jason McLeod as amateur scouting director. The longtime Theo Epstein confidante took over the role following the departure of David Chadd to the Tigers organization. 

For a quick list and links to player pages, check out our Draft History page

1 (23). Jacoby Ellsbury, CF, Oregon State
Bonus: $1,400,000
The Red Sox received this pick as compensation for losing Cabrera in free agency, and for the third straight year the team used its top pick on a polished up-the-middle player. Ellsbury came exactly as advertised and he rose quickly, reaching the major leagues one day before the second anniversary of his signing. He is the best first-round draft pick (by bWAR) by the Red Sox since Nomar Garciaparra in 1994.  Ellsbury is currently a free agent after an acrimonious departure from the Yankees. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 1
Baseball America Top 100: 33 in 2007; 13 in 2008
Notable players passed on: Matt Garza (25)

1 (26). Craig Hansen, RHP, St. John's
Bonus: 4 years/$4,000,000 MLB contract
The Red Sox flexed their financial muscle to grab the St. John’s closer with a killer fastball/slider combo but ultimately lacked the patience to nurture their investment. Hansen was rushed to the majors during the 2005 pennant race as the bullpen looked for a savior. Less defensible was his use during the 2006 campaign, during which he spent most of an overmatched season in the majors at the expense of his confidence and value. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 2
Baseball America Top 100: 54 in 2006
Notable players passed on: Colby Rasmus (28), Travis Buck (36)

1 (28). (Pick surrendered as compensation for signing Edgar Renteria)  
The first of three picks the Red Sox surrendered in their winter game of free agent musical chairs, netting one extra pick by swapping Cabrera with Renteria. The Cardinals made good use of the pick, selecting Colby Rasmus.

1s (42). Clay Buchholz, RHP, Angelina (Junior) College (TX)
The Red Sox received three picks in the supplemental phase of the first round, landing two unqualified successes and a third player who became a top prospect and had a long pro career. An incident where Buchholz stole 29 laptops from a middle school got him kicked off the McNeese State baseball team in 2004 and understandably affected his draft stock, but Buchholz kept his nose clean with the Sox. A dominant minor league run and a no-hitter in his second career start made him a consensus top-five prospect in the game headed into 2008. Despite consistency and durability frustrations, Buchholz was a key contributor for several years. He is a free agent after struggling in 2019 for Toronto. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 1
Baseball America Top 100: 51 in 2007; 4 in 2008
Notable players passed on: N/A

1s (45). Jed Lowrie, 2B, Stanford
Like his future teammate selected three picks prior, Lowrie has had a solid major league career albeit one that has been cut into by injuries. The Stanford product has a career .261/.335/.413 line but has appeared in over 100 games only four times in his pro career. He finally gave a glimpse of what he could do at full capacity only recently, averaging 155 games for Oakland in 2017 and 2018 and compiling 86 doubles and 37 homers over those two years, averaging 3.9 bWAR. He was traded in one of Ben Cherington’s first moves as GM, going to Houston with Kyle Weiland for reliever Mark Melancon in December 2011. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 2
Baseball America Top 100: 73 in 2008
Notable players passed on: N/A

1s (47). Michael Bowden, RHP, Waubonsie Valley HS (Ill.)
Bowden possessed a deceptive, short-arm delivery and a sinking fastball that generated copious groundouts in the minor leagues, but never found sustained success at the major league level. He appeared in 103 games from 2008 to 2013 with the Red Sox and Cubs, posting a 4.51 ERA. Bowden had a 3.03 ERA in over 500 Triple-A innings and 4.07 mark in 47 starts in the KBO for the Doosan Bears in 2016 and 2017. He made five starts in the Dodgers organization in 2019 and is currently unsigned for 2020. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 2
Baseball America Top 100: 83 in 2007; 94 in 2008; 83 in 2009
Notable players passed on: N/A

2 (57). Jonathan Egan, C, Cross Creek HS (GA)
An example of the weird nature of free agent compensation in this era, the team received first-rounders for losing Cabrera, who was on the team for three months, and Lowe, who had been merely average in 2003 and struggled in 2004 (the 2004 postseason excepted, of course). Meanwhile, they received a second-round pick for Pedro Martinez, the most dominant pitcher ever who was coming off a good season. Egan was an exciting prep prospect who never quite put things together. He was also hampered by significant off-field issues, including an arrest within months of being drafted for drug possession, among other charges. After his 2008 retirement following continued on- and off-field struggles, having reached Greenville for half a season, we understand that he was used by the player development staff as an example of what not to do for young players entering the system.
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 14
Notable players passed on: Travis Wood (60), Chase Headley (66)

2 (76). (Pick surrendered as compensation for signing David Wells)
It’s still weird that David Wells was on the Red Sox. He pitched very well for the 2005 team that tied for first place in the AL East. The Padres used the pick to select catcher Nick Hundley. 

3. (Pick surrendered as compensation for signing Matt Clement)
For three months, Clement was outstanding, making this along with related draft machinations look like a steal. Through his first 16 starts, he was 9-1 with a 3.33 ERA, allowing only six homers in 102 2/3.  A sinking stretch to start July, a Carl Crawford line drive off the head, and an arm injury in short succession effectively ended his career at 31. The Cubs used the compensation pick to draft pitcher Mike Billek. 

4. Scott Blue, RHP, Morro Bay HS (Calif.)
The jewel of Morro Bay, California, Blue battled injuries and off-field issues during his short time in the system. The six-foot-two, 215-pound prep righty appeared in just nine games between 2005 and 2007, missing the whole 2006 season. 

5. Reid Engel, CF, Lewis-Palmer HS (Colo.)
Bonus: $154,000
After largely ignoring high school players in 2003 and 2004, the Red Sox made Engel their fourth prep selection in a row after using their top four picks on college players. Engel was a plus athlete who went on to play five years in the system. He had his best year with Greenville in 2007, hitting .292/.361/.436 on his way to South Atlantic League All-Star honors. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 13

6. Jeff Corsaletti, CF, Florida
A senior sign out of UF, Corsaletti’s excellent strike zone judgment and high walk rates earned him comparisons to Kevin Youkilis. He got off to an excellent debut, drawing an immediate assignment to Greenville after signing and slashing .357/.429/.490, winning SoxProspects.com Rookie of the Year honors. He was twice an All-Star in the Eastern League for Portland and reached Triple-A with both the Red Sox and Marlins organizations, but he fell short of the majors before retiring after the 2010 season. His walk rate in the Sox system was nearly 15 percent, with 301 free passes in 2067 plate appearances. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 16

7. Yahmed Yema, RF, Florida International
The Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year in 2005, Yema followed Corsaletti as an outfielder with an advanced approach. He had a solid rookie campaign, hitting .301/.350/.411 for Lowell, but was one of the few who struggled on the memorable 2007 Lancaster team. He missed all of 2008 with injury and was out of baseball the next year. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 34

8. J.T. Zink, RHP, Everett CC (Wash.)
Not to be confused with knuckleballer Charlie Zink who briefly reached the majors, JT Zink was a more traditional righty. He spent the bulk of his time in the organization with Lowell, making 29 starts for the Spinners in 2005 and 2006. He currently works for the Marlins as an amateur scout. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 29

9. Mark Wagner, C, UC-Irvine
Bonus: $90,000
Wagner was an excellent defensive catcher who became an organizational mainstay, playing for seven years in the system. He earned SoxProspects.com All-Star honors in 2006 with Greenville and 2007 with Lancaster. He was added to the 40-man roster after a 2008 season in which he hit 10 homers for Portland, but he struggled in his trips to Pawtucket. He was designated for assignment in spring training 2011 and became a minor league free agent that offseason. After a year in Indy ball and a year with the Giants, he retired having not reached the majors. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 11

10. Kevin Guyette, RHP, Arizona
Bonus: $50,000
After years of leaning hard on Arizona State for draft picks, the Red Sox finally turned to their in-state rivals. Working primarily off a plus curveball, Guyette was used both as a starter and reliever during his time in the system. He pitched well for Greenville in 2005 and 2006 and was one of the more solid arms in the terrifying environs of Lancaster the following year, but his career was derailed by injury. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 28

11. Ismael Casillas, RHP, Benedictine College
A righty with good size and low-90s fastball, Casillas worked as a reliever save for five starts with Greenville in 2006. He was another pitcher with solid numbers in the low minors but struggled in 2007 with Lancaster. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 36

12. Kyle Fernandes, LHP, Massasoit CC (Mass.)
Bonus: $25,000
Fernandes, a Westport, Massachusetts native, spent seven seasons in the system, appearing in 249 games. He was a durable fixture, appearing in at least 35 games every year from 2006 through 2011 and not missing a beat when he started throwing submarine in 2008. After he finished his professional career Fernandes spent three years as manager of the New Bedford Bay Sox of the NECBL. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 52

13. Jay Johnson, CF, Xavier
Bonus: $25,000
A versatile outfielder, Johnson put up solid on-base numbers throughout his four-year run in the system. He earned SoxProspects.com All-Star honors in 2006 with his excellent .283/.358/.480 season in Greenville, but did not match his 11 homers again as he climbed the ladder. Johnson topped out at Double-A, playing two years for Portland.
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 37

14. Pedro Alvarez, SS, Horace Mann (N.Y.)
Alvarez opted not to sign, honoring his commitment to attend Vanderbilt despite the Red Sox' aggressive attempts to sign him. The team believed they had a handle on his asking price and that he would agree to an $850,000 deal. Later in the summer as the signing deadline approached the team was willing to expand their offer to $1 million, but Alvarez stuck to his plan and enrolled in the fall. Adding to Red Sox fans' frustration was that Alvarez came as advertised, having an outstanding career with the Commodores, getting drafted second overall in 2008, and becoming a consensus Top 10 prospect in baseball, earning the title of "he who shall not be named" on the SoxProspects Forum. Strikeout troubles and uneven defense cut into his value at the major league level, and he was not signed after being released by the Orioles in Spring Training of 2019. It’s okay to say his name now, and in fact, his not signing proved something of a boon, as the Red Sox front office used the example of his not signing to convince John Henry of the value of opening up the checkbook to sign draftees in future seasons. 

15. PJ Thomas, RHP, Jeffersonville HS (Ind.)
This was the first of two times the Red Sox would draft Thomas, as they picked him again in the 49th round of the 2006 draft out of Wabash Valley College. He did not sign either time, and played college ball at Southern Indiana. 

16. Matt Mercurio, 3B, Florida Southern
Mercurio played two years in the system, appearing for Lowell in 2005 and Greenville in 2006. He remains affiliated with pro ball as an amateur scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 38

17. Dominic Ramos, SS, Texas State
A top hitter with excellent plate discipline at Texas State, Ramos played two years in the Red Sox organization. He went on to have a lengthy career in independent ball, netting 800 games between the Can-Am League and Atlantic League, appearing with the Worcester Tornados, Brockton Rox, and Sugar Land Skeeters. He is back with Texas State as an assistant coach. 

18. Nick Criaris, C, St. Peter's Prep (N.J.)
Criaris did not sign, opting instead to attend Broward College, followed by Florida Atlantic. Despite a good college career he was not redrafted and did not play professionally. 

19. James Baxter, LHP, Villanova
The Red Sox turned again to an original Big East school, grabbing Baxter from the Wildcats. The lefty appeared in 10 games with Lowell before moving on to the Mets organization for two seasons after being released. 

20. Charlie Blackmon, LHP, Young Harris (Ga.)
Charlie Blackmon was drafted as a left-handed pitcher. It says here he’s twice led the National League in runs, and that’s terrible for a pitcher, so it’s a good thing they didn’t sign him. Taken as a draft-and-follow, unlike with Alvarez, the Red Sox signing Blackmon away from his commitment to Georgia Tech was not seen as likely. 

21. Drew (Robert) Johnson, RHP, Navarro College (Tex.)
The Red Sox did not sign Johnson and he did not play professionally. 

22. Orvil Aviles, LHP, F. Callejo HS (P.R.)
A 6-foot-4 lefty, Aviles did not sign. He played college ball at Chipola College, New Mexico Junior College, and Bethany College. He also did not play professionally. No known relation to Mike Aviles. 

23. Carl Lipsey, 2B, Jackson State
An undersized infielder, Lipsey appeared in just four games as a professional, going 1 for 5 with three walks for Lowell. 

24. Jason Twomley, CF, UMass Amherst
The first player drafted by the Sox out of UMass since 1993, Twomley’s .700 OBP as a senior for the Minutemen put him on the radar. Contact issues limited him as a pro, as he struck out 99 times in 332 plate appearances. 

25. Ricky Sanchez, C, Barry University (FL)
Sanchez was one of many college seniors who was taken by Boston in 2005 who had gaudy college stats but got only short looks as professionals. Sanchez played in just 22 games between the GCL and Lowell, getting released in 2006.

26. Kirby Yates, RHP, Kauai High School (Hawaii)
Yates did not sign as a draft-and-follow at Yavapai College, the school the Red Sox had drafted Curt Schilling from 19 years earlier, after missing the 2006 season after Tommy John surgery and took a circuitous route to becoming an effective major league reliever. The undersized righty was not notably effective upon his return in 2008 and 2009 at Yavapai and went undrafted. He signed as a free agent with the Rays and climbed gradually through their system, reaching the bigs in 2014. Yates posted a 1.19 ERA in 2019 for the Padres as one of the top relievers in baseball. 

27. Matt Hancock, LHP, Oral Roberts
A reliever at Oral Roberts, Hancock appeared in 43 games over two years in the Boston organization. He struggled with his control and was released in late 2006. He is the pitching coach at Troy (Ala.) University after spending 10 years in the same role at the University of North Alabama. 

28. Ryan Hinson, LHP, Northwestern HS (S.C.)
Hinson opted to fulfill his commitment to Clemson, where he shuffled between the bullpen and rotation. He was picked in the 10th round of the 2009 draft by the Padres and played two years in their system and one for the Braves.  

29. Chris Jones, RHP, Indiana State
The Red Sox picked Jones despite an injury-plagued career at ISU. Jones showed a fastball that could touch 94 and a good curve, and employed them to some success in the low minors. In two seasons in Greenville, he struck out 198 against only 67 walks while working primarily as a starter. After struggling in the Lancaster launching pad in 2008, he was released in camp in 2009.
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 38

30. Ryan Colvin, RHP, Carroll HS (Tex.)
An old-fashioned draft-and-follow, Colvin signed in June 2006 after playing one year at Grayson Community College. Colvin had solid control and a three-pitch mix that included a low-90s fastball. A rotator cuff injury in 2008 ended his pro career. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 47

31. Luis Exposito, C, Champagnat Cath. (Fla.)
Bonus: $150,000
Another draft-and-follow, Exposito made the most of his JuCo experience, parlaying a big year at St. Petersburg Junior College into a six-figure bonus. His pro career got off to a rocky start with a disciplinary suspension in 2007 coming alongside on-field struggles. Exposito broke out in 2008 with a .293/.330/.508 line between Greenville and Lancaster, followed by a .287/.339/.439 slash in 2009 in the more difficult environs of Salem and Portland. Added to the 40-man before the Rule 5 deadline in 2010, Exposito was called up in September 2011 but did not appear in a game. He was designated for assignment in April 2012 to make room for Nate Spears and Jason Repko and was claimed by Baltimore. On May 4, the 25-year-old Exposito made his major league debut for the Orioles, for whom he appeared in nine major league games. He bounced around to the Tigers and Athletics systems but did not play again in the majors. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 9

32. Jeff Natale, 2B, Trinity College
A “5-foot-9” second baseman with a good plate approach, Natale received the obvious Dustin Pedroia comparisons throughout his minor league career. While those were unfair expectations for the Hamden, Connecticut product, Natale’s .304/.446/.469  line and 103 walks for Greenville and Salem opened eyes. Despite a .282/.401/.413 line at Pawtucket in 2008 and 2009, Natale’s defensive struggles left him something of a tweener, without the glove for a middle infield spot or the pop to play first base. He played with Scranton in the Yankees organization in 2010 before retiring. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 27

33. John Hester, C, Stanford
Hester opted to return for his senior campaign at Stanford and was drafted by Arizona in the 13th round in 2006. He reached the bigs with the Diamondbacks in 2009, blasting a two-run homer in his first MLB plate appearance. The backstop appeared in 93 games over parts of four seasons for Arizona and the Angels. 

34. Allan Dykstra, 1B, Rancho Bernardo (Calif.)
Dykstra, fortunately no relation to the former Mets and Phillies star, attended Wake Forest instead of signing. He starred for the Demon Deacons, getting honored as the ACC Freshman of the Year in 2006 and being named a Golden Spikes finalist two years later. The Padres made him the 23rd pick in the 2008 draft, and he finally reached the majors with Tampa Bay in 2015. As an interesting note, Dykstra shared the Mets Organizational Player of the Year with current Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki.

35. Jason Determann, LHP, Louisiana State
Instead of a professional baseball career, Determann followed his other passion by enrolling in medical school. He is now an orthopedic surgeon in Alabama, a path inspired by the Tommy John surgery he underwent during his freshman year of college. 

36. Mark McClure, RHP, Hillsborough HS (Fla.)
The towering six-foot-eight righty enrolled in the University of Florida, but did not see game action after redshirting his freshman year. 

37. Jason Schnitzer, RHP, Los Alamitos HS (Calif.)
Schnitzer played for one year at Cypress College before enrolling at UC-Santa Barbara. He did not go on to play professionally. 

38. Levi Tapia, C, Ralston Valley HS (Colo.)
Another draft-and-follow, Tapia enrolled in Lamar Community College and signed in June 2006. He appeared in 16 games with the GCL Red Sox.

39. Bubba Bell, CF, Nicholls State
Between his all-out style of play and absurd 2007 at the launching pad in Lancaster, Bell became something of a SoxProspects legend. After two nondescript years in the system, in 76 games with the JetHawks in '07, Bell hit .370/.455/.665 with 22 homers, 83 RBI, and 95 runs scored, enough to still be named the league's MVP despite having been in the circuit for half a season. A second-half promotion to Portland primed him for another good year in 2008, hitting .285/.363/.478 for the Sea Dogs. Despite a solid year with Pawtucket in 2010, Bell could not crack the crowded Red Sox outfield and he was dealt in early 2011 to Cleveland, seen at the time as a favor to him given how crowded the Red Sox outfield situation was in the majors and Triple-A. Bell finished with a .292/.370/.447 line in 561 games in the Red Sox organization.
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 17

40. Blake Maxwell, RHP, Methodist College
A big, six-foot-five sidearmer, Maxwell was a versatile mainstay who was used in a variety of roles. His best season came in 2010, when he and his 80-grade 'stache posted a 2.90 ERA in 38 appearances across three levels, striking out 65 and walking 22 in 99 1/3 innings. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 42

41. Eddie Degerman, RHP, Rice
Part of the vaunted Rice rotations of the mid-aughts, Degerman returned for a senior year and was selected in the fourth round by the Cardinals in 2006. He spent four years in the Cardinals system and then several more on his post-baseball career path in medicine. He graduated from the Einstein School of Medicine in the Bronx in 2017. 

42. Miguel Alicea, RHP, Manuela Toro HS (P.R.)
Alicea did not sign and did not play baseball professionally. 

43. Jason Castro, C, Castro Valley HS (Calif.)
Castro was not seen as a likely sign because of a firm commitment to Stanford. After an excellent amateur career that included an All-Star stint in the Cape Cod League, Castro was taken 10th overall by the Houston Astros in 2008. He made his major league debut two years later and remains a valuable contributor. He signed a one-year deal with the Angels in December. 

44. Christopher Garcia, 1B, Xaverian HS (N.Y.)
Garcia a draft-and-follow at St. Petersburg College, Garcia didn't sign and was drafted two years later by the Angels. He displayed excellent plate discipline during his minor league career but did not hit with the requisite power for a first baseman. 

45. Dustin Bamberg, C, Tallahassee CC
Opting not to sign as a draft-and-follow, Bamburg transferred to the University of Florida. Though he did not play professional ball, he does share a name with one of the more impressive castles on England’s northeast coast. 

46. T.J. Large, RHP, Alabama-Tuscaloosa
An aptly-named six-foot-four righty, Large employed a sinking fastball that sat in the 86-89 range to generate groundouts. His best season came in the Portland bullpen in 2009 as he posted a not-large 1.08 ERA in 41 2/3 innings, gaining Eastern League All-Star honors. 
SoxProspects.com peak rank: 48

47. Alex Wolfe, C, Timpanogos HS (Utah)
Wolfe turned down a possible six-figure bonus, instead going on church mission work before playing for BYU. 

48. Matt Sheely, CF, Palm Beach Gard. HS
Another draft-and-follow (the fourth they signed out of the 2005 class), Sheely signed in June 2006 after a year at Seminole CC. He spent six years in the Sox system as a versatile and popular outfielder, often used in a backup role. Sheely reached Pawtucket for 50 games but did not break through to the majors. He is currently an assistant coach with the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps program in California. 

49. Erik Turgeon, RHP, Dunedin HS (Fla.)
The Red Sox could not sign Turgeon out of a commitment to UConn. The Mets drafted the righty in 2008, and he went on to appear in 182 games as a pro. His uncle, Dave Turgeon, is a minor league manager in the Pirates organization. 

50. Colin Arnold, LHP, Kings Academy
Arnold went on to play for Daytona Beach CC and the University of Central Florida. He was drafted by the Yankees in 2007 but did not sign. Arnold did not play professionally. 


Raw totals: 
Players drafted: 53
Players signed: 32
Baseball America Top 100 prospects: 5
Signed players who reached majors: 6

Photo Credit: Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, and Bubba Bell by Kelly O'Connor

James Dunne is Managing Editor of SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @JamesDunneSP.