Sox Draft Pix "Clip and Save" List for Ben Cherington


With the 2012 MLB draft this Wednesday wafting into our baseball brain cavity, it is time to tell GM Ben Cherington who the Sox should draft in their #24, #31 and #37 slots.

Ben: 2 pitchers, maybe one lead-off hitter OF with some speed.

For those of you playing along at home: Sorry unlike in the NFL, NBA and NHL, Major League Baseball doesn’t allow its teams to trade their draft choices.

However, language in MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement will let some teams trade some picks. Explanation here:[]

OK, let’s get past the Red Sox Nation Wishful Thinking radio talk show stuff and stipulate that the following pitchers will be taken during the first 23 picks:

The three best college pitchers: Stanford’s Mark Appel, Louisiana State’s Kevin Gausman and San Francisco’s Kyle Zimmer)

Then: Stroman, Dahl, Fried, Heaney, Wacha, Stratton, Hawkins, McCullers, Seager, Travieso and Roache.

Before you get that 1:55 AM at the bar blues, take heart, there are still pitchers who are more prospect than suspect.

“Boston has been as aggressive as any team in recent drafts. While the new rules will force the Red Sox to tone down their approach, that doesn’t mean they can’t pick their spots to be bold. This could be one of those, as Smoral would have gone in the upper half of the first round had he not had surgery to repair a broken a bone in his right foot in April.”

Ben, your minor league pitching cupboard is bare; you need to find  pitchers who can advance through the ranks quickly. The Sox need as much help at the major league level as they can get, and soon.

Your former boss, Theo Epstein, the guy holding the Chicago Fire Sale, emphasized drafting college players and Ben, so should you, especially pitchers!

Bleacher Report says you will have to take a H.S. pitcher:

It would be counterproductive for the Boston Red Sox to engage in internal discussions about college arms. Most reputable ones will be off the board before their pick at No. 31.

But Nick Travieso (Archbishop McCarthy High School; Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and his outstanding velocity would be a nice consolation.

The Sox may target similarly young players in the following rounds without worrying much about bolstering their powerful MLB lineup.” []

Those Bleaker Report experts are wrong; there will be college pitchers on the board at #24 and #31.

The vast gap between successful High School pitchers and college pitchers is

“the difference between syllable and sound.” [Emily Dickinson]

Division I College baseball is generally considered comparable to professional A-ball, even AA. High School level performance is not in the same conversation with College and Minor league ball.

All to say, Ben, make prospect savant Callis wrong and don’t draft High School pitchers! Do not spend our three picks on: Matt Smoral, Ty Hensley, Zack “F—-ing” Effin, Hunter Virant, or Lucas Sims. Also, assume that hyped High School pitching prospects Lucas Giolito and Max Fried will attend UCLA to get four years of great instruction in baseball skills.

Ben, Baseball America savant Jim Callis says:

“There’s no prep arm close to Bundy or Bradley.”

OK, Ben, we have eliminated the pitchers who will be gone by the time you pick at #24 and the preppy hurlers, so, putting a premium on LHPs, here is who you should take:

Andrew Heaney (LHP)
“Andrew Heaney is a Junior at Oklahoma State University. He throws left handed. He was born on June 5thof 1991. He is from Oklahoma City, OK and went to Putnam City High School. He is listed at 6’2″ and 174 lbs. This season he started in 13 games and he is 8-1 with 1.59 ERA, 19 BB and 120 Ks in 102 IP. He also has 5 complete games. Has been a 3 -year starter but he relieved in a few games in his freshman and sophomore season. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 24th round of the 2009 season but did not sign.

Mini Scouting Report:

Andrew Heaney’s fastball is a plus pitch averaging 90-91 mph and touching 93 mph. It has a good cut and sink to right hand hitters. He is one of the few pitchers to throw a screwball (high 70s up to 80) and is his best secondary offering. He has a slurve and a changeup, both which are average and there is room for improvement, esp. on his changeup. He has an easy delivery and a 3/4 arm slot. He is a fast worker on the mound. Has been compared to a young Jamie Moyer.

It is unlikely that Heaney will be on the board by the time the Sox select in the #24 slot; he finished his season on a hot stretch.

According to Jonathan Mayo of, Healey pitched into the ninth inning in each of his final seven starts.

Over 60 innings, he had a 0.90 ERA and he struck out 64.

Brian Johnson (LHP)

Brian Johnson is a Junior at University of Florida. He was born December 7, 1990 in Lakeland, Florida and went to Cocoa Beach High School. He is Left hand pitcher and first baseman. He is listed at 6’4″ and 225 lbs. This season he started 14 games, pitched 72 innings allowed 15 bases on balls and 59 strikeouts. He has a 3.88 ERA and his opponents’ batting average is .256. He has been hitting .313/.351/.469. He is Mike Zunino’s teammate. He was drafted in the 27th round of the 2009 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Mini Scouting Report:

Brian Johnson’s pitching repertoire features a low 90’s fastball, changeup, and curveball. His fastball averages 90-92 but occasionally jumps to 94. His four seamer has good movement. Overall it is an above average pitch. His curveball is a sharp breaking curveball and has the potential to be a plus pitch once he commands it better. His changeup is a work in progress. His delivery and mechanics are very consistent.

Alex Wood (LHP)
“Georgia sophomore southpaw pitcher Alex Wood posted outstanding numbers this year—a 7-3 record with a 2.73 ERA and just 21 walks against 100 strikeouts in 102.1 innings pitched.. In the always-tough SEC conference, that’s special indeed. Wood features a mid-90s fastball, sharp, downward breaking curveball and a changeup that could use some work.”

Write this down, Ben: If one or more of these three LHPs are already taken, move to this list of RHPs:
Pat Light

Nolan Sanburn

Jake Barrett

Damien Magnifico

Ryan Burr

Chris Beck

RJ Alvarez

If you have read this far, Ben, here’s another tip:

If you can get all three of the LHPs above, go for it.
If you get only 2 out of the 3, consider drafting an OF; one with some speed, great defensive abilities, and one who could finally settle the lead-off slot lottery.

Take the guy who Keith Law has ranked the No. 57 prospect in this year’s draft class:

Travis Jankowski

A junior at Division I Stony Brook University, 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, OF, who:
“Moves with a subtle grace as he advances around the bases and patrols center field. He floats off of first and rolls into a stolen base. Sometimes catchers throw, and sometimes they can’t help but watch, too.”

A National League scout:
“”He looks like he wants to make plays out there,” the scout said.”He’s aggressive and you want that ball-hog kind of guy out there.”
See a video from his March 4, 2012 game that features some pre-game batting practice and each of his five at-bats.

Travis has caught the attention of several MLB teams:
First weekend in March 35 scouts watched him go 4-for-12 with two doubles.

Jankowski is currently ranked the #24 best prospect in the draft, but, if teams ahead of the Sox take pitchers, Travis may fall into their lap at #37.

So Ben, here you go:
============== CLIP AND SAVE =================

1. Andrew Heaney (LHP)
2. Brian Johnson (LHP)
3. Alex Wood (LHP)
4. Travis Jankowski (OF)


Tags: 2012 Bleacher Report Chris Beck Dahl Damien Magnifico Draft Emily Dickinson Fried Hawkins Heaney Hunter Virant Jake Barrett Kevin Gausman Kyle Zimmer Louisiana State Lucas Giolito Lucas Sims Mark Appel Matt Smoral Max Fried McCullers MLB Nolan Sanburn Pat Light RJ Alvarez Roache Ryan Burr Seager Stanford Stratton Stroman Theo Epstein Travieso Travis Jankowski Ty Hensley USF Wacha Zack Effin

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