GM Ben and the Red Sox went against the trend toward HS picks with their three choices in Round One of the MLB draft and obtained Arizona SS, Deven Marrero, Florida’s LHP Brian Johnson and RHP Pat Light from Monmouth College.
The good news about Marrero is that he may be ready for Fenway late next season and has a defensive skill set comparable to Jose Iglesias; the bad news is that he has an offensive skill set comparable to Jose Iglesias. At best, he could be the next Red Sox SS and hit for no power, but might match Mike Aviles in BA at around .265.
The good news about Johnson is that he is a LHP from a solid collage program and can throw four pitches for strikes and projects as a middle of the rotation starter. The bad news is he will need time in the minors to improve his curve and changeup. At best, he could be in the #3 slot in the rotation as early as 2014.
The good news about Pat Light is that he has a projectable frame at 6’ 6” and 215 lbs; the bad news is that his fastball is not closer quality and scouts see him as a bullpen guy; his notoriety was achieved at an obscure college in a weak conference [Northeast, Division 1]
In our draft preview post, we suggested that Ben follow this list:
1. Andrew Heaney (LHP)
2. Brian Johnson (LHP)
3. Alex Wood (LHP)
4. Travis Jankowski (OF)
With Heaney off the board, the Sox were surprised to see Deven Marrero still on the board when they were ready to choose at #24. They took the highest rated college SS in Marrero; they may see him sliding in ahead of Iglesias, just behind Mike Aviles on their SS depth chart, since they are still concerned that there’s no way Jose can be a major league hitter. The next SS in food chain is young (19) Xander Bogaerts (ETA 2014), who will most likely outgrow SS and move on to the OF with Middlebrooks and Pedroia fixtures at 3rd and 2nd.
Since, as anticipated, Andrew Heaney went off the board early to Miami at #9, Ben made a great moveand snagged Brian Johnson, Florida, FL LHP.
The unproven Pat Light is a project for the coaching staff and will likely find a seat in the bullpen, if he makes it to Fenway. In addition to Alex Wood [taken by the Braves at #85]. there were college LHPs were still available:
#63 Twins Melotakis, Mason Northwestern State, LA
#66 KC Vanderbilt, TN
#82 Rodriguez, Steven Florida, FL
Six teams passed on presumed #1 pick Mark Appel [Stanford, RHP] because his agent, Scott Boras, was demanding $6 million. The Bus may not be able to sign Appel, since their total allotment for bonuses is $6.6 million. To sign Appel, the Pirates would only have $.6 million to spend on their other draftees.
Here is what the scouts say about the three Red Sox picks:
Deven Marrero, Arizona State, AZ SS R/R JR 6’01″ 194lbs DOB: 08/25/90
Coming from high school powerhouse American Heritage High School in Florida (alma mater of Eric Hosmer, among others) and the younger brother of Nationals’ first-rounder Chris, Marrero has been on radars for quite some time. Three years at ASU certainly has done nothing to hurt his prospect status as he might be the top position player selected in June. Marrero’s defensive abilities are what jump out first as there is no question he will be a shortstop at the next level. He’ll be plus on that side of the ball — arm, hands and range — and it plays up even more because of his baseball instincts. He’s not glove only, though, and he’s improved since coming out of high school when his bat was somewhat in question. Marrero is a line-drive gap hitter, with the potential to develop some power in the future. While he’s only an average runner, those instincts help him be an excellent baserunner. While his swing has been long in the past and his pitch selection isn’t always top notch, it’s not too much of a cause for concern. He has the chance to be a very good every-day shortstop. If the bat develops even more, he could be an impact player in the big leagues. [http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/draft/y2012/draftcaster.jsp]
Marrero is in the midst of an all-around down year, as he’s struggled at the plate all season and grown increasingly frustrated. Arguably the most advanced shortstop in the 2012 draft class, Marrero has developed an outstanding reputation for his soft hands and 60-grade range. His defensive prowess makes him a lock to continue his career there at the next level.
At shortstop, he has soft hands, as well as average range and a plus arm. Scouts remain divided about whether his hit tool profiles as a big-league shortstop, but regardless, he’ll need to improve his contact rate. Marrero will never hit for much power, but should be able to collect 15-25 doubles annually. [http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1199247-2012-mlb-draft-10-best-shortstops-in-the-2012-draft-class/page/9]
Brian Johnson, Florida, FL LHP L/L JR 6’03″ 230lbs DOB: 12/07/90
Johnson has gotten looks as both a hitter and a pitcher with Florida and while he can hit a little, most feel he’ll pitch at the next level. The left-hander has four pitches he can throw for strikes. His fastball sits mostly in the average range, though he can run it up to 92 mph, with pretty good sink to the arm side. His slider is his out pitch and should be an above-average offering in the big leagues. His changeup, which he doesn’t always use, has the chance to be at least above-average. Johnson gets high marks for his mound presence and willingness to go right after hitters. [http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/draft/y2012/draftcaster.jsp]
Monmouth University, NJ RHP R/R JR 6’06″ 215lbs DOB: 03/29/91
And, here are the reports on the two that “got away:”
Atlanta #85 Wood, Alex Georgia, GA LHP L/L JR 6’04″ 215lbs DOB: 01/12/91
Combine left-handedness, velocity and pitching in a tough college conference and the result is going to be a Draft prospect worth watching. Wood is Georgia’s Friday starter in the uber-competitive SEC, and he’s had some success. Big and athletic, he has a plus fastball as a southpaw that regularly reaches the mid-90s. While his curve is a bit inconsistent, he breaks off enough that have tight, downward rotation to project it as a good pitch down the road. The same goes for the changeup, which is below average right now, but he has a feel for it, and the pitch has the chance to be a Major League average offering. Wood’s overall command needs to improve for success as he moves on, but most of it is caused by some mechanical issues with his delivery. If corrected, he has the stuff to be a very intriguing left-handed starter.[ http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/draft/y2012/draftcaster.jsp]
Andrew Heaney http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=20000723&topic_id=29113154&c_id=mlb