Top pick Marrero signs, assigned to Lowell

BOSTON -- The Red Sox announced Wednesday that they have signed their top pick in this year's first-year player draft, shortstop Deven Marrero.

Marrero, who was chosen with the 24th pick, agreed to a $2.05 million contract, which is above the $1.75 million slotted for that pick. He was at Fenway Park with his family and agent, Scott Boras, to sign his contract and meet and interact with his future teammates.

Marrero will be assigned to Short-A Lowell and said "hopefully I'm in the lineup tomorrow and get to start my career."

According to Baseball America, the 21-year-old was the top draft-eligible shortstop and 14th-best player in the MLB draft, while ESPN.com rated Marrero the 13th-best overall player.

“This guy could probably play shortstop in the big leagues right now,” Boras said. “He’s one of the few players that has Latin actions and has the instincts that college baseball brings you about winning. The trouble with Latin athletes now when they’re coming over at 16 and 17 is they’re showcase players and they’ve never played to win. It’s rather unique to get an American-born player who has Latin actions and has both the instincts and the actions at 21.”

Marrero played at Arizona State University, where he earned all-conference honors in all three seasons. Over his three-year career, Marrero hit .325 with 37 doubles, 11 triples, 12 home runs, 95 RBIs, 102 runs, 45 walks and 32 stolen bases in 150 career games. This past season he was named to the all-Pac-12 first team. As a sophomore, Marrero was named Pac-10 defensive player of the year.

Another ASU alum, Dustin Pedroia, was drafted by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2004 draft.

When asked what it was like taking the field with Pedroia and the rest of the Red Sox, Marrero said, "It was great out there, being out there with all those guys and having fun. They were kids like me one day, and they still play like that, they have fun out there. It was great to get out there and get some ground balls, hit a little bit and have some fun."

Asked if he is trying to follow in Pedroia's footsteps, Marrero jokingly said, "Yeah, I'm trying to, but I'm trying to one up him a little bit. He's a great player, and that's one guy I can definitely follow around and listen to."

Marrero said that Pedroia, a three-time All-Star, 2007 AL Rookie of the Year and 2008 American League MVP, told him to "just to go out there, have fun, and play the game I have always played. Play the Sun Devil way that he (Pedroia) plays. Go out there and play hard."

Before this past season at ASU, Marrero was regarded as a top-five draft prospect. Following the season, he was regarded a top-15 prospect, and he ended up slipping to No. 24. But Marrero has no complaints. "I'm happy I'm with the Boston Red Sox, I'm glad I dropped," he said. "This is the best organization in baseball. This is the perfect spot for me and I'm excited."

Marrero went to the same high school as Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, saying Hosmer is "like my big brother." Marrero said Hosmer told him, "You're the luckiest guy in the world, you get to play with the Boston Red Sox. They are a great organization and they are first class all the way."

Marrero already has had some experience playing baseball in New England, spending the last two summers in the Cape Cod League, playing with the Cotuit Kettleers.

"The Cape League was a great experience. This is what Boston is all about," Marrero said. "In the Cape you had 3,000 fans at every game and that's unbelievable. To see the passion they have for the game, and those players there are the future of the game. I'm sure a lot of guys here played there when they were in college. That's what the Cape is, the best of the best, and to compete against the best, that's how you get better."

Asked if he had a timeframe in mind to get to the big leagues, Marrero said, "That's out of my control. That's the guys up the ladder that make that call. I'm just going to do my thing and play the game. When they think I'm ready, I'll be ready. I will come up here and do my thing."