Boston Red Sox: draft

Cherington talks Sox's draft strategy

May, 31, 2012
BOSTON -- Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington will never forget his first assignment as a regional scout for the Red Sox more than a decade ago: Josh Hamilton.

"I thought to myself, 'Wow, this is easy, that guy was good,'" Cherington recalled with a laugh this afternoon in the Red Sox's annual pre-draft news conference at Fenway Park. "And then the next few games, it was a little harder to pick him out."

After serving first as a Sox scout and then as an assistant to former GM Theo Epstein, Cherington will kick off his first draft as GM on Monday night. But there's a lot of organizational continuity despite his job change.

"I'm in a room with a bunch of people I've been with for several years," he said. "We're using a lot of the same philosophy, same standards, talking about the same things that we care about, ultimately with the same goal. Notwithstanding the changes with the CBA, the decision-making process will be very similar to years past."

Ah yes, about that new collective bargaining agreement. The latest CBA enacted last December has new rules for the draft, most significantly a tax penalty on teams that exceed the designated slot salary recommendation for the sum of their first 10 picks. Traditionally, the Sox haven't been afraid to throw first-round bonus money at a 10th round pick; how the new rules affect that inclination going forward remains to be seen.

Philosophically, Cherington reiterated, not much changes. He also refuted the notion of the new rules as a handicap for the Red Sox.

"I don't see it that way, I don't see it as hampering us," Cherington said. "The challenge is different, but the fundamentals are the same. If we do a good enough job scouting players, we're going to do well and we're going to beat our competition. That's what we need to do."

Red Sox amateur scouting director Amiel Sawdaye added that the foundation for how this front office approaches drafts is based on the disposition of its area scouts.

"When you have strong area scouts that believe in certain players, it doesn't matter if that player is in the second round or the ninth round, or the 16th-17th [round] Josh Reddick-type player," Sawdaye said. "Our area scout really believed in Josh Reddick. To me, it's about how strong your area guys are. We have a group that's been together for a while, and we feel really confident that these guys -- the players we're going to be talking about, whether they're late or early -- they're convicted in big leaguers that are on the board. That's a process we're going through right now."

But will they spend less than in previous years to do it?

"Maybe," Sawdaye said. "But we're still going to get good players."

The Sox once again have great positioning in this draft, holding three of the top 40 picks (two of them received as compensation for Jonathan Papelbon's departure to the Phillies). Once again, the philosophy will be drafting based on the best talent available, not necessarily organizational needs.

"There's so much that can happen," Sawdaye said. "So much happens between the time you draft a guy. ... Even with a guy you think is close to the big leagues, or a highly advanced college player, there's still a transition, there's still a development path that needs to be taken, and so much can change not just with a player, but with our needs.

"Our needs look different six weeks from now, never mind three years from now, so it's a dangerous game I think to get into. We're just going to focus on finding the best possible impact, do as well as we can with each pick."

Cherington estimated he's seen "12 or 15" players live, off the top of his head, and simply smiled when asked who those players were.

"It's not as fun as when Theo was out," Sawdaye said with a chuckle. "You guys would always hear, like, on Twitter, that he was at a game. We're a little bit [more] low-profile."

Last day to sign draftees

August, 16, 2010
Today is the last day for MLB teams to sign their draft picks, and so far the Red Sox have yet to finalize deals with several of their top selections, including promising right-hander Anthony Renaudo (1st round supplemental, No. 39 overall), who shined for Brewster this summer in the Cape Cod League. Renaudo is being advised by agent Scott Boras.

Other names to watch for: right-hander Brandon Workman (2nd round, 57 overall); infielder Sean Coyle (3rd round, 110 overall); and infielder Garin Cecchini (4th round, 143 overall).

Stay tuned for updates.

Red Sox sign top draft picks

June, 16, 2010
BOSTON -- The Red Sox have announced the signings of their top two draft selections.

Infielder Kolbrin Vitek and outfielder Bryce Brentz were chosen by Boston as its 20th and 36th picks respectively in last week’s first-year player draft. Both have been assigned to Class A Lowell.

Vitek was named the 2010 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year out of Ball State. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound second baseman led the league with 73 runs, tied for second with 17 homers and ranked third with 68 RBIs and 161 total bases. He was a finalist for the 2010 Golden Spikes Award and was rated by Baseball America as the top second baseman in this year’s draft and the third-best pure hitter among college players.

Brentz hit .348 with 51 runs, 8 doubles, 15 homers and 49 RBIs this season as a junior for Middle Tennessee State University. The 6-foot, 200-pound outfielder was rated by Baseball America as the third-best power hitter among college players in this year’s draft.

Also agreeing to terms with the club were right-handed pitcher Garrett Rau from California Baptist University (12th round); right-handed pitcher Keith Couch from Adelphi University (13th); right-handed pitcher Michael Gleason from California State University-Chico (34th); shortstop Nick Robinson from North Central College (39th); outfielder Luke Yoder from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo (40th); catcher Jayson Hernandez from Rutgers University (41st); shortstop James Kang from Pomona-Pitzer College (45th); and first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth from Yale University (49th).

Rau, Couch, Robinson and Hernandez have been assigned to Lowell while Gleason, Yoder, Kang and Larsson-Danforth have been assigned to the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Red Sox.

The Red Sox now have 10 selections from this year’s draft under contract.