No last-minute signings for Sox

July, 16, 2012
Unlike recent years, the draft signing deadline came and went early Friday evening without a lot of fireworks for the Red Sox.

While Boston signed four late-round draftees in the final few days before the deadline, there was no last-minute signings like Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo or Will Middlebrooks this year. Of course, this was not all that surprising, given that Boston essentially spent all the way up to its CBA-imposed draft bonus cap weeks ago, essentially leaving the club with barely little to spend above the $100,000 limit allocated to each pick after the 10th round.

Ultimately, the club signed 25 of its 42 draft picks, and all 12 selections from the first 10 rounds -- figures in keeping with recent years, before any bonus cap was in place.

Here’s a look at Boston’s haul this year, along with a summary of the draftees the Sox weren’t able to sign.

Among Boston’s draftees, five stick out as impact prospects. Shortstop Deven Marrero (1st round out of Arizona State) is an elite defensive player with the potential to be a .300 hitter at the major league level. Left-hander Brian Johnson (1st, Florida) recently took home the 2012 John Olerud Award as the best two-way player in the NCAA. On the mound, he’s a polished lefty with a low-90s fastball. Right-hander Pat Light (supplemental 1st, Monmouth) dominated mid-level college competition in 2012 with his mid-90s fastball and improving slider. Righty Ty Buttrey (4th, Providence (NC) High School), a highly projectable power pitcher, received a $1.3 million bonus from the Sox. Righty Jamie Callahan (2nd, Dillon (SC) High School) is still just 17, and can already get his fastball up to the mid-90s in short bursts. Marrero, Johnson, and Light have been assigned to short-season Class-A Lowell, while Buttrey and Callahan have been assigned to the Rookie-Level Gulf Coast League.

The next tier of prospects include well-regarded college closer Austin Maddox (3rd, Florida), large-framed righty Justin Haley (6th, Fresno State), projectable right-hander Willie Ethington (17th, Mountain View (AZ) High School), and athletic shortstop Mike Meyers (12th, Silverado (NV) High School). Haley is pitching with Lowell and Meyers is playing in the GCL, while Maddox and Ethington have not yet been assigned to an affiliate.

One interesting development this year was the number of college seniors drafted by the club. Boston signed eight college seniors, part of the team’s strategy to cut down spending in order to reallocate cap funds to the more projectable draftees. Among the group are pitchers Mike Augliera (5th, Binghamton), Kyle Kraus (7th, Portland), Greg Larson (20th, Florida), first basemen Nathan Minnich (8th, Sheperd) and Jake Davies (21st, Georgia Tech), shortstop Mike Miller (9th, Cal Poly), and catchers JT Watkins (10th, Army) and Miguel Rodriguez (36th, UNC-Charlotte). All have been assigned to Lowell except for Davies and Rodriguez, who have been assigned to the GCL. Watkins, a West Point graduate and the son of Sox scout Danny Watkins, is expected to play with the Spinners for the remainder of the 2012 season before reporting to the army in the fall to fulfill his armed services commitment.

Other college draftees signed by the Red Sox are pitchers JB Wendelken (13th, Middle Georgia), Dylan Chavez (14th, Mississippi) and Stephen Williams (16th, Seminole State), and infielders Iseha Conklin (19th, Iowa Western) and Keaton Briscoe (24th, British Columbia). Wendelken, Conklin and Briscoe are all playing with the GCL squad. Williams, who just signed at the deadline, has yet to be assigned to an affiliate. Chavez was recently promoted to Low-A Greenville after pitching six innings with Lowell.

Another interesting trend this year was the team drafting two-sport athletes and allowing them to pursue their football careers in addition to or prior to starting their baseball careers. The Red Sox selected and signed three such players in Shaq Green-Thompson (18th, Grant (Calif.) High School), Brandon Magee (23rd, Arizona State) and Khiry Cooper (25th, Nebraska). Green-Thompson is a highly-regarded safety who will play for the University of Washington this fall. Presently playing with the GCL, he’s 0-for-26 with 25 strikeouts to start his pro career. Magee missed the 2012 season with a torn ACL, and he’ll play football with ASU this fall before deciding whether to embark on his baseball career in the Boston organization. Similarly, Cooper will play football with Tulsa this fall before deciding whether to join the Red Sox in the spring.

Among the 17 draft picks that Boston was unable to sign, the two most projectable players are righty Carson Fulmer (15th, All Saints (FL) Academy) and infielder Alex Bregman (29th, Albuquerque (NM) Academy). Both were considered among the top 125 players in the entire draft, and both were considered difficult signs due to their respective college commitments. Fulmer, an 18-year-old with a mid-90s fastball, is headed to Vanderbilt this fall. Bregman, 19, has solid power potential and is capable of playing shortstop, second base and catcher. He’ll play for perennial powerhouse Louisiana State.

Other unsigned prep picks headed to play college ball are outfielder Jamal Martin (11th, Dwyer (Fla.) High School) to Florida State; right-hander Jacob Nelson (26th, Lake Stevens (Wash.) High School) to Central Washington; righty Quinn Carpenter (27th, Goshen (N.Y.) Central) to East Carolina; outfielder Wes Rogers (28th, Mann (S.C.) High School) to Spartanburg; righty Justin Taylor (30th, Farmville (N.C.) Central) to East Carolina; righty Hunter Wood (32nd, Rogers Heritage (Ark.) High School) to Arkansas; third baseman Xavier Turner (34th, Sandusky (Ohio) High School) to Vanderbilt; and righty Pat Delano (35th, Braintree (Mass.) High School) to Vanderbilt.

Unsigned college draft picks headed back to school include righty Joe Greenfield (22nd, South Suburban College) transferring to Eastern Illinois; outfielder Chris Carlson (33rd round, Orange Coast College) transferring to New Mexico State; lefty Jonathan Dziedzic (37th, Lamar College) headed back to Lamar for his redshirt junior season; and Kurt Schluter (39th, Stetson) headed back to Stetson for his senior season.

Three unsigned draftees, all recent college graduates, are still eligible to sign with the Red Sox until next June. Right-hander Austin Davis (31st, Southern Mississippi) will compete for a backup quarterback job with the St. Louis Rams later this summer. If he doesn’t catch on in the NFL, he’s still an option for Boston. The other two players are catcher Donald Smith (38th, Claflin) and outfielder Kevin Heller (40th, Amherst).



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