Will Ben trade prospects he will lose before the deadline? A review of Red Sox First Round Picks

Faced with too much of a good thing [prospects] and not enough room to hide them on the 40-man roster, Ben Cherington might be forced deal several before the trade deadline, or, under the Rule V draft, face losing those prospects without a return.

He is also preparing for the 2102 draft, where he will be compounding his over abundance problem by adding more prospects with his four Round One picks at #24, #31, #37 (for Papelbon) and a FA Compensation pick for Dan Wheeler (level B).

This week NESN ranked the MLB farm systems and placed the Red Sox in the middle of the pack at #13, commenting:

“The Red Sox’ farm system lacks any blue-chip prospects, but is incredibly deep. Middlebrooks and Jose Iglesias will likely form the team’s left side of the infield in short order, with Xander Bogaerts, Garin Cecchini and Sean Coyle contributing down the line. Anthony Ranaudo now looks like a mid-rotation starter, but UConn product Matt Barnes has ace upside.

Ryan Lavarnway and Alex Wilson should contribute to the majors this year, while Bryce Brentz and Brandon Jacobs are two power-hitting outfielders for the future. The Sox’ 2011 draft haul of Barnes, Blake Swihart, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Henry Owens should go a long way toward replenishing a system depleted by trades.”

Now New Boston GM Ben Cherington is preparing to make his own thumb print on the Red Sox Draft Pick History ledger. Remember the nursery rhyme about “Little Jack Horner,” who “stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plumb and said ‘What a good boy am I!”?   Evaluating talent, especially High School pitchers (who never develop a third pitch) and shortstops (who outgrow that mobile agility position), is an even less exact science than dart boards, coin flips, scratch-off lotto, and dipping a prehensile digit in a pie.

Since the draft pie was first divided in 1965, when the Red Sox used their Round One #1 pick to select the talented, yet star-crossed OF Tony Conigliaro, a local hero, [born on January 7, 1945]in Revere, MA.], six GMs have “stuck in their thumb” and pulled out the rare PLUMS, mostly CRUMBS, and a few BUMS.

Some Red Sox fans may be dumbstruck at the other teams’ luck, who picked up a rook the Sox tossed in the muck. Did you know that the Sox drafted, but never signed, Mark Teixiera? Yup! Round 9, 1989; drafted, but never signed, Edgar Renteria? Yup! Round 1, #28, 2005.

Can you name the GM who drafted Jeff Bagwell (Round 4) in 1989 and then traded the future Hall of Famer to Houston a few months later for a pitcher?  [ANSWER BELOW]

And, thanks to some GMs who were dumb and either sucked, or even sat on their thumbs, we can play “WHO HIM?” with this roster for First Round draft picks: Mike Garman (1967), Noel Jenke (1969), Jimmy Hacker (1970), Joel Bishop (1972), Ted Cox (1973), Eddie Ford (1974), Otis Foster (1975), and Andrew Madden (1977). [SEE COMPLETE LIST FOLLOWING THIS POST]

Q:  Who was that “Little Jack Horner”, who pulled out these crumbs and bums?

A:   Richard H. O’Connell, GM, circa 1966-77.

Little Richie Horner also sat on his thumb, until Round 22, when he selected, a space man: Bill Lee (1968); Dwight Evans (Round 5, 1970); Fred Lynn (Round 5, 1973); Wade Boggs (Round 7, 1976.

On the other thumb, GM O’Connell pulled out these plums: Carlton Fisk (Round 1, 1967), Jim Rice (Round 1, 1971) and also MLB regulars: 1966, Ken Brett; 1970 Rick Burleson; 1973, Butch Hobson; 1974, Bob Stanley; 1976, Bruce Hurst.

After the 2005 draft, with GM Theo N. Epstein at the helm, the Red Sox selected college players like Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie (which followed selecting Dustin Pedroia in 2004 and Jonathan Papelbon in 2003), the Red Sox shifted their focus to high-upside high school players, who would take longer to arrive at Fenway.

So, in the 2006 and 2007 drafts, the Red Sox drafted and signed high-ceiling high school players like Ryan Kalish, Josh Reddick, Lars Anderson, Will Middlebrooks and Drake Britton; teenagers, Stolmy Pimentel and Oscar Tejeda were signed in 2006 via the MLB International draft.

In 2008, the Red Sox continued to focus on high-school talent like Super Prospect Ryan Westmoreland (now recuperating from brain surgery) and SS, converted to starting pitcher, Casey Kelly, who was traded [12/6/10] along with Anthony Rizzo, Reymond Fuentes, and Eric Patterson to the San Diego Padres for three-time All-Star first baseman Gonzalez. Kelly was then considered the top prospect in the Red Sox organization. Epstein also drafted college talent in 2008 like Stephen Fife, Kyle Weiland, Tim Federowicz and current member of the team Ryan Lavarnway.

The Epstein Era concluded with these draft/signinigs:
2009: Reymond Fuentes

2010: Kolbrin Vitek, Bryce Brentz, Anthony Ranaudo

2011: Matt Barnes, Blake Swihart, Henry Owens, Jackie Bradley

Fuentes is expected to make it to the majors in 2013 and provide Gold Glove years at SS, although some scouts question his ability to get on base and doubt his power, even his base stealing skills.

Ranaudo dropped in their lap during the draft, as a sore arm scared other teams away; if he fully recovers, scouts see him as a #4/5 slot pitcher in the Sox rotation in 2013-14.

In Round One in 2003 Epstein drafted David Murphy, who is has batted .275 in the majors and is a regular for the Texas Rangers (2007-11). But Theo’s picks were not all plums in Round One, 2003: Matt Murton, who played for many teams for six years, but never blossomed into a power hitter, batting just .250. And, future closer, Craig Hansen (2005, #26) managed two saves in 30.2 inning for the Sox in 2008 and added one more SV in just 21 games in 2008-09 with Pittsburgh.

Other disappointments were: 2006: Jason Place, Kris Johnson, Caleb Clay; 2007: Nick Hagadone, Ryan Dent, Anthony Rizzo (Round 6). Although Epstein recently reaffirmed his faith in Rizzo’s potential by acquiring the .181 hitter for the Cubs.

On the other thumb, Theo made a big haul in 2005, when he picked Super Star Jacoby Ellsbury (Round 1), as well as projected starter for 2012, Clay Buchholz; former Boston SS Jed Lowrie and the struggling Michael Bowden. Although he was unable to sign him, Theo also drafted the SS Edgar Renteria, a 2012 FA, who played for the Cardinals, Marlins, Braves, Giants, and Red Sox, since 1996. Renteria was an All-Star in 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004 and 2006 with a career BA of .286.

In 2006 Epstein picked another projected starter for 2012, Daniel Bard (Round 1) and future RF or trade chip, Ryan Kalish (Round 9).

QUIZ ANSWER:
The name of the GM who drafted Jeff Bagwell (Round 4) in 1989 and then traded the future Hall of Famer to Houston a few months later for a pitcher?

A: Lou Gorman (1984-93)
Larry Andersen
• Although, for a HOFer, the Red Sox got a journeyman pitcher, he recorded a 1.23 ERA for the Red Sox that season, helping the team to a division title. He was known as one of the greatest baseball wits of all time; he was known for raising George Carlin-like questions like, “Why do you drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?” and “How does a fly, flying right side up, land on the ceiling upside down?” and Why do you sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game when you’re already there?
Andersen holds one MLB record: most innings pitched in a season without getting a decision, at 79 2/3, [Seattle Mariners, 1982]

Although the 2012 draft crop has much less elite talent than the 2010 pool (Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Jameson Taillon), and lacks the depth of the 2011 class, Sox fans may wonder:

Who would still be worth drafting in their three slots [#24, #31, #37] in Round One of the 2012 MLB draft this June?

Sox fans cannot expect another gift, like when an elbow injury caused other teams to pass on Anthony Renaudo, allowing the shocked Sox to grab him with their second supplemental round pick, 39th overall.

Also,  it is unlikely that Top Ten Tier talent: RHP Mark Appel, SS Deven Marrero, OF Byron Buxton, OF Victor Roache, RHP Lucas Giolito, RHP Walker Weickel, SS Gavin Cecchini, OF David Dahl, C Mike Zunino, or RHP Chris Beck will fall down to slot #24.

But Sox fans may want to jot down these Second/Third Tier prospects on their draft scorecard:

Marcus Stroman, RHP, Duke

Travis Jankowski, OF, Stony Brook

Hunter Virant, LHP, Camarillo HS (CA)

Carlos Correa, SS/3B, Puerto Rican Baseball Academy

Kenny Diekroeger, SS, Stanford

Q:  Will Cherington continue Epstein’s focus on high-upside high school players, who would take longer to arrive at Fenway, or seek out advanced college pitchers in June? 

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RED SOX FIRST-ROUND PICKS: 1965-2011

Michael F. Higgins 1963-65
Billy Conigliaro (Round 1, #1)
Richard H. O’Connell 1965-77

1966: Ken Brett
1967: Mike Garman
Carlton Fisk (Round 1)
1968: John Curtis
Tom Maggar
Bill Lee (Round 22)
1969: Noel Jenke Dwight Evans (Round 5)
1970: Jimmy Hacker, Rick Burleson
1971: Jim Rice (Round 1)
1972: Joel Bishop
1973: Ted Cox Fred Lynn (Round 5)
Butch Hobson (Round 8)
1974: Eddie Ford, Bob Stanley
1975: Otis Foster
1976: Bruce Hurst
Wade Boggs (Round 7)
1977: Andrew Madden

Haywood C. Sullivan 1978-83
1978 No first round pick
1979: Marty Barrett
1980: Ray Krawczyk
1981: Steve Ellsworth
1982: Sam Horn
1983: Roger Clemens (Round 1)

James “Lou” Gorman 1984-93
1984: John Marzano
1985: Eric Hetzel, Dan Gabriele
1986: Greg McMurtry, Alan Mills Curt Schilling (Round 2)
1987: Reggie Harris, Bob Zupcic
1988: Tom Fischer
1989: Greg Blosser, Kevin Morton Mo Vaughn
Jeff Bagwell (Round 4)
1990: No first round pick
1991: Aaron Sele, J.J. Johnson, Scott Hatteberg
1992: No first round pick
1993: Trot Nixon

Daniel F. Duqette 1994-02
1994: Nomar Garciaparra
1995: Andy Yount, Corey Jenkins
1996: Josh Garrett, Chris Reitsma
1997: John Curtice, Mark Fischer
1998: Adam Everett Dennis Eckersley (Round 2)
Mark Teixeira (Round 9)
1999: (Jose Offerman)
Rick Asadoorian
Brad Baker
Casey Fossum

2000: Phil Dumatrait
2001: No first round pick Kevin Youkilis (Round 8)
2002: No first round pick Jon Lester (Round 2)

Theo N. Epstein 2002-05
2003: David Murphy, Matt Murton Jonathan Papelbon (Round 4 )

2004: Dustin Pedroia (Round 2)

2005: Craig Hansen Jacoby Ellsbury (Round 1)
Michael Bowden
Clay Buchholz
Jed Lowrie
Edgar Renteria

Theo N. Epstein 2006 – 2011
[Ben Cheringon/Jed Hoyer (interim) 2005-06]

2006: Jason Place, Kris Johnson, Caleb Clay Daniel Bard (Round 1)
Ryan Kalish (Round 9)

2007: Nick Hagadone, Ryan Dent
Will Middlebrooks (Round 2)
Anthony Rizzo (Round 6)

2008: Casey Kelly, Bryan Price
Ryan Westmoreland (Round 5)
Ryan Lavarnway (Round 6)

2009: Reymond Fuentes

2010: Kolbrin Vitek, Bryce Brentz, Anthony Ranaudo

2011: Matt Barnes, Blake Swihart, Henry Owens, Jackie Bradley

Ben Cheringon 2012 – present
???

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Topics: 1963-65, 1978-83, Anthony Ranaudo, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Cheringon, Bill Lee, Billy Conigliaro, Blake Swihart, Bryce Brentz, Butch Hobson, Carlton Fisk, Casey Kelly, Clay Buchholz, Curt Schilling, Daniel Bard, Daniel F. Duqette, Dennis Eckersley, Dustin Pedroia, Dwight Evans, Edgar Renteria, First Round Pick, Fred Lynn, Haywood C. Sullivan, Henry Owens, Jackie Bradley, Jacoby Ellsbury, James "Lou" Gorman 1984-93, Jed Hoyer, Jed Lowrie, Jeff Bagwell, Jim Rice, Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon, Ken Brett, Kevin Youkilis, Kolbrin Vitek, Mark Teixeira, Marty Barrett, Matt Barnes, Michael F. Higgins, Mo Vaughn, Nomar Garciaparra, Reymond Fuentes, Richard H. O'Connell 1965-77, Rick Burleson, Roger Clemens, Ryan Lavarnway, Ryan Westmoreland, Theo N. Epstein 2002-05, Wade Boggs, Will Middlebrooks

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  • JLFCASH

    Dyslexic? Teixeira was drafted by us in 1998, not 1989. Too bad Duquette failed to seal the deal with him.

    Don’t get how we drafted but didn’t sign Edgar Renteria in 2005 when he was indeed signed and playing an errant SS that season. In fact I don’t think he was ever drafted. He was an international FA out of Colombia.

  • JLFCASH

    Dyslexic? Teixeira was drafted by us in 1998, not 1989. Too bad Duquette failed to seal the deal with him.

    Don’t get how we drafted but didn’t sign Edgar Renteria in 2005 when he was indeed signed and playing an errant SS that season. In fact I don’t think he was ever drafted. He was an international FA out of Colombia.

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