Boston still likely to sign top draft picks

Updated: July 14, 2011, 2:36 PM ET
By Jason A. Churchill

The Boston Red Sox had one of the better drafts in the league but have signed just two of their top 12 selections and none of their first four. Right-hander Matt Barnes (No. 19 overall) and catcher Blake Swihart (No. 26) are likely mid-August signings and it appears prep lefty Henry Owens is headed for a late signing as well.

The club's second sandwich round pick, centerfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr., might have a return to South Carolina on his mind, suggested adviser Scott Boras this week. It could easily be a negotiation tactic by the best tactician in the business, but it's probably an empty threat.

Bradley, the No. 40 overall selection in last month's draft, isn't likely to improve his stock so dramatically that he'd be guaranteed to improve the best bonus Boras could convince the Red Sox to offer him this summer. Sure, next year's class isn't likely to be as deep, but the league could insert hard slotting and Bradley risks further injury or another lackluster performance at the plate and could end up a senior sign in the later rounds.