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   1. Darren Posted: June 06, 2010 at 03:02 PM (#3551569)
How successful has that switch been? Nobody has really panned out from the later group yet, have they? Meanwhile, everybody and their brother is striking out 4 times a game.
   2. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 06, 2010 at 03:39 PM (#3551580)
The 2003 and 2004 drafts were really, I think, the only ones where the Sox went hard after college / skill types. I'd put Buchholz and Bowden in the upside-y arm category (even though Buchholz was a JuCo), and so Buchholz would count as the strategy paying off.

I think the overall point is interesting, though. The successes of the Epstein administration have almost all been college guys.

Murphy - NCAA (2003)
Papelbon - NCAA (2003)
Pedroia - NCAA (2004)
Meredith - NCAA (2004)
Ellsbury - NCAA (2005)
Buchholz - JuCo (2005)
Bard - NCAA (2006)
Masterson - NCAA (2006)

Now, Bowden was a 2005 selection, and Reddick was a 2006 selection, and they've been on good solid, development paths, but neither would be expected to be a fully productive major leaguer this year. So part of the issue is timing - we can't expect 18-year-olds drafted in 2007 to be major leaguers in 2010.

But I do wonder - the Sox have been pretty amazingly good at turning reasonably polished college guys into major league assets, even All-Stars. Should they really be focusing on high-upside types when they haven't shown much ability at turning tools into skills in their development programs?
   3. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: June 06, 2010 at 03:58 PM (#3551594)
I guess Lester pre-dates the Epstein days by about six months.

Dan Duquette's last gift.
   4. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 06, 2010 at 05:07 PM (#3551635)
Lester actually was drafted after Duquette was fired. Mike Port was the nominal GM at the time. Who exactly was running the draft at the time (I've seen Port and Epstein both credited with it) is unclear, at least to me.

Looking at recent draft history most of the early Epstein years (03-06) featured the high picks being college kids as listed above. Since then they've drafted a lot more HS types in the early rounds and most of their top prospects right now are HS kids; Kalish (albeit a 9th rounder), Kelly, Rizzo, Middlebrooks, Westmoreland, Gibson (who I love)and Fuentes. In fairness, they have not really panned out but a high schooler taken in 2006 would only be 22-23 right now so it is unlikely any tangible results would be seen from HS kids in this group.

I think suggesting that the strategy has been "successful" and saying that "they haven't shown much ability" at developing these kids are both inaccurate. I think the HS kids taken in recent years seem to be developing well but we can't say they are panning out yet.
   5. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 06, 2010 at 05:23 PM (#3551657)
Who exactly was running the draft at the time (I've seen Port and Epstein both credited with it) is unclear, at least to me.
My understanding is that Duquette's head of scouting and player development, David Chadd, ran the 2002 draft with minimal oversight from the front office. It was certainly not a "saber-friendly" draft - using the meaning of the term common at the time - with eight of the top nine picks being high schoolers, five of them pitchers. Chadd leaned heavily on the Red Sox Georgia area scout (whatshisname), taking four Georgia high schoolers in his first seven picks.
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 06, 2010 at 05:26 PM (#3551662)
I think suggesting that the strategy has been "successful" and saying that "they haven't shown much ability" at developing these kids are both inaccurate. I think the HS kids taken in recent years seem to be developing well but we can't say they are panning out yet.
Those kids are the test - I like them, but there's a lot of possible / likely misses.

But before that cohort, the Red Sox had not developed one single player from tools to skills, from raw talent to a major league contributor. They have shown no ability to do that. It seems like a reasonable claim to me.
   7. Dave Cyprian Posted: June 06, 2010 at 05:37 PM (#3551674)
I kinda love the baseball draft these days specifically because its the only one of the major sports league that properly ignores it. ESPN's interminable hours of pontificating on NFL and NBA prospects is nauseating and absurdly speculative considering the success/fail rate of the picks. Baseball does it right, i.e., send me a flyer when you start hammering AA ball.
   8. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 06, 2010 at 05:39 PM (#3551676)
But before that cohort, the Red Sox had not developed one single player from tools to skills, from raw talent to a major league contributor. They have shown no ability to do that. It seems like a reasonable claim to me.


Maybe I'm reading too much into the statement, you are technically right they have not shown a lot of ability to develop raw talent. They have not really had a lot of that raw talent to develop. In 2002 Jon Lester was an HS pick and Brandon Moss made it, though did not exactly tear it up. Then in '03 and '04 they almost completely ignored the HS market in the early going though the '05 draft featured a lot of high picks from high schoolers that pretty much completely missed.

I would assume the variance on HS kids drafted is much wider than on college kids. I would expect a lot more "misses" just by virtue of drafting less finished products though I would think the "hits" would be more extreme also.
   9. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 06, 2010 at 05:46 PM (#3551686)
JCYS - there's also the utter failure of the Latin American programs under Epstein - there were a lot of Dominican and Venezuelan kids that did not develop.
   10. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 06, 2010 at 05:48 PM (#3551692)
9 - That's a good point that I had not considered. Engel Beltre should be given bonus points for starting a brawl with a walk-off homer the other day though.
   11. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: June 06, 2010 at 07:18 PM (#3551762)
But I do wonder - the Sox have been pretty amazingly good at turning reasonably polished college guys into major league assets, even All-Stars. Should they really be focusing on high-upside types when they haven't shown much ability at turning tools into skills in their development programs?

I still can't believe that Craig Hansen isn't approaching his 100th major league save.
   12. John DiFool2 Posted: June 06, 2010 at 08:14 PM (#3551834)
JCYS - there's also the utter failure of the Latin American programs under Epstein - there were a lot of Dominican and Venezuelan kids that did not develop.


Names please (I've seen you make this claim before). I count Felix Doubront, Yamaico Navarro, Reymond Fuentes, Oscar Tejeda, Manny Rivera, & Luis Exposito as Latino prospects who are all young enough to develop further*. Or does one of these guys need to get to the majors and contribute in a significant way (in a significant # of trials) before they aren't considered "failures"? Note the preceding argument is partly predicated on your use of the word "utter."

*I would have counted Michael Almanzar before this season, but he simply doesn't seem to be learning at all.
   13. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 06, 2010 at 08:16 PM (#3551841)
Exposito and Fuentes were drafted, they don't count.

They've had seven years - I expect far more to show for that than Felix Doubront and a couple guys in the low minors.
   14. tfbg9 Posted: June 06, 2010 at 11:29 PM (#3551963)
Were there any Theo latin guys who were traded away in deals? Can't remember...
   15. Darren Posted: June 06, 2010 at 11:41 PM (#3551975)
Now, Bowden was a 2005 selection, and Reddick was a 2006 selection, and they've been on good solid, development paths, but neither would be expected to be a fully productive major leaguer this year. So part of the issue is timing - we can't expect 18-year-olds drafted in 2007 to be major leaguers in 2010.


I've always been a Bowden fan, but both he and Reddick seem to not to be able to do what it takes at the AAA level. If I had to guess right now, neither has much of an MLB career.


As for the Latin program, they haven't accomplished much yet, but these are guys that you tend to get at 16 to 17. If they had 2 poor years to start with, their top guys might still not be near the bigs. And hey, that Engel Beltre looks pretty good. :)
   16. philly Posted: June 07, 2010 at 03:21 AM (#3552066)
My understanding is that Duquette's head of scouting and player development, David Chadd, ran the 2002 draft with minimal oversight from the front office. It was certainly not a "saber-friendly" draft - using the meaning of the term common at the time - with eight of the top nine picks being high schoolers, five of them pitchers. Chadd leaned heavily on the Red Sox Georgia area scout (whatshisname), taking four Georgia high schoolers in his first seven picks.


David Chadd was a Marlins crosschecker who came over with Henry when the ownership changed happened in the winter/spring of 2002. He was a Henry guy, not a Duquette guy. The Duquette SD was Wayne Britton and he was fired along with Duquette.

Whatshisname, the GA scout, is Rob English. He's now a part-time scout with the Sox.
   17. Mike Webber Posted: June 07, 2010 at 04:00 AM (#3552069)
Chadd is also the most prominent Kansas State Alum in baseball today.

EMAW!

(Every Man A Wildcat)
   18. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: June 07, 2010 at 02:04 PM (#3552167)
There are two players that come to mind when discussing the development of toolsy players. The first is Hanley Ramirez. He is not a Theo pickup, but some of his development was during Theo's time. He underperformed his scouting and then did what he did after the trade. I always wondered what he would have done in the Red Sox system. He wouldn't have been pushed as hard, but maybe that was what was best. The other guy is Jason Place. The Red Sox drafted him knowing that they were going to have to drastically change his swing. That experiment ended badly.
   19. Norcan Posted: June 07, 2010 at 03:59 PM (#3552309)
The other guy is Jason Place. The Red Sox drafted him knowing that they were going to have to drastically change his swing. That experiment ended badly.


No kidding. He had one of the most awkward, disjointed swings I have ever seen. His hands went way forward, then circled back, then chopped down, it was brutal. In his way, he was the Michael Bowden of hitters but without the minor league success. Another player whose swing was just as awkward was Matt Dominguez. He hasn't had great minor league success either but he's handled Double-A much better than Place.

As for this year's draft, I hope the Red Sox pass on Ranaudo if it comes to that. His arm action is too flat and awkward for my tastes. He's got rhythm and fluidity overall but his fastball is straight and his release point looks difficult to consistently time.
   20. Darren Posted: June 07, 2010 at 04:17 PM (#3552327)
A good rule of thumb for the Sox might be "If we're going to have change a player, let's not draft him." Players seem to develop reasonably well in their system until the Sox decide they need a new approach or to rework their mechanics (making them less likely to be injured but also less effective) or to learn a slider, (which will make all their other pitches worthless).
   21. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: June 07, 2010 at 04:37 PM (#3552364)
No kidding. He had one of the most awkward, disjointed swings I have ever seen. His hands went way forward, then circled back, then chopped down, it was brutal.


I remember seeing his MLB scouting video and thinking "what the ####?" I wish I could find it. His use of his hands was awful.

FYI, the Globe had a small draft preview in the Sunday Notes piece. The three players projected for the Red Sox by a variety of places (MLB.com, ESPN, Fanhouse, BP, etc) are Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Harvey, and Josh Sale.
   22. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 04:48 PM (#3552384)
Ranaudo is a name I keep hearing with the Red Sox. Other guys that could fall for signability reasons, only to get scooped by Boston include OF Austin Wilson, 3B Nick Casetellanos, and P/3B Kaleb Cowart.
   23. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: June 07, 2010 at 05:04 PM (#3552400)
A good rule of thumb for the Sox might be "If we're going to have change a player, let's not draft him."


Just for reference, who in the majors is an example of a player that needed to be changed or what organization does a good a job at that sort of thing? I don't follow the minors enough to know, but my hunch would be Atlanta is a good organization for developing toolsy players considering how many HS players they take early.
   24. Norcan Posted: June 07, 2010 at 06:34 PM (#3552516)
Here's Dave Perkins of BA describing Ranaudo's arm action.

Finally, his delivery is odd. Ranaudo’s arm action is restricted on the back end and short of full extension on the front end—far short of being the type of "free and easy" motion scouts prefer to see in prospects.


This is what struck me as well the times I've seen on ESPN3. After he drops his arm, he sort of cocks his wrist to the third base side, which is very unusual, so that as he loads vertically, his hand is underneath the ball and his palm faces home plate. The thing I dislike about it is that his hand is locked in and it looks hard to get fastball movement or throw a good changeup. On the flip side, when he times his delivery well, his curveball can be dynamite but his release looks difficult to consistently time.
   25. Darren Posted: June 07, 2010 at 07:53 PM (#3552601)
@23--I dunno. It was a snarky comment. Of course every player needs to develop and grow, but the Red Sox seem to fiddle around with guys like Buch and Bowden who are already succeeding at very high levels, only to set them back quite a bit. Then there's Place, who they drafted knowing he had a horrible swing. If you're going to draft a guy in the first round, shouldn't his swing be pretty good?
   26. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 08, 2010 at 01:14 AM (#3553101)
So is it good or bad news that John Hart called Vitek one of his favorites?
   27. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 08, 2010 at 01:16 AM (#3553104)
Here's the MLB.com scouting report on Kolbrin Vitek. Sounds like a college guy with well-developed skills along the lines of Pedroia / Ellsbury. The Sox have done well with those guys. Apparenly Vitek's expected to move off 2B. To 3B/CF optimistically, LF/RF pessimistically.
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 08, 2010 at 02:08 AM (#3553218)
I've been following the highly useful, hilariously excitable SoSH draft "game thread", and they have some useful Vitek updates.

1) Sox will convert Vitek to 3B (per Ian Brown, no link)
2) Vitek has already signed (Abraham twatter)
   29. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 08, 2010 at 02:14 AM (#3553232)
Bryce Brentz is the first sandwich pick. NCAA corner outfielder with advanced hitting skills. It's like they read mine and Darren's conversation or something.
   30. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 08, 2010 at 02:16 AM (#3553237)
Anthony Ranaudo, projected to the Sox at #20 in a number of mock drafts, falls all the way to #39 for us. Good gamesmanship by the front office. Keith Law called him an innings eating #2 starter type in a draft chat earlier today.
   31. Darren Posted: June 08, 2010 at 02:21 AM (#3553245)
I'll take that, as long as it's not his upside!

I like them taking these college guys, as MCOA illustrated, it seems to be their strength. Good for them for playing to it rather than trying to get too fancy.
   32. Xander Posted: June 08, 2010 at 04:24 AM (#3553319)
SoxProspects.com 2010 Draft Day 1 Recap Podblast

A recap of the Sox first day of the draft. Discussion revolves around the 3 Sox picks, the potential day two draftees, the misinformation thrown around during draft time, and some good old fashioned self-congratulation.

Players discusses: Kolbrin Vitek, Bryce Brentz, Anthony Ranaudo.

Direct link
iTunes store link
   33. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 08, 2010 at 03:52 PM (#3553580)
Thanks, TUS.

I like throwing out ludicrously amateur reports based on very short videos in the draft threads. I love, love Vitek's swing. He loads well, gets to the ball incredibly quickly, and has absolutely no extraneous movement. There isn't much loft in the swing, and so he may not have big power potential, but I'm going to say he'll start next season in Portland. He's going to destroy the New York Penn League.

Brentz is described in a couple places as an "all-or-nothing slugger" which sounds a little terrifying given the strikeout problems in the Sox system. I don't really see it in his swing - he looks quick to the ball, though not as incredibly quick as Vitek. Clearly serious power potential (and power reality, 15 HRs on the season) in that swing, even though Brentz isn't a particularly big dude (6-0, 180). The "all-or-nothing" report, though, I don't love it when the first thing people are saying about a prospect sounds like a criticism, and when it's a criticism that can be leveled against every single Red Sox hitting prospect other than Ryan Kalish.

Ranaudo's got, as discussed above, weird arm action. I fear that he might be a guy who's going to get new mechanics as he enters the Sox system. I can't really pinpoint what's weird - he gets his arm moving late, it seems like, and finishes in front of his body rather than through his body, if that makes sense. The curveball has impressive movement and looks like a major league strikeout pitch, so that's good. Unless of course the action on his curveball is dependent on his weird arm action, in which case, who knows.

I have also learned that it's VI-tək; (rhymes with critic), not VEE-tek, like I was saying yesterday.
   34. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 08, 2010 at 04:38 PM (#3553677)
Sox second rounder (#57): Brandon "Roger" Workman, college pitcher from UT. The scouting report on mlb.com is pretty great, with a good fastball, a plus cutter, and good command and feel for an average curve and an average change. The one downside is the "effort" in his mechanics, which suggests he might not stick as a starter. He seems to have the stuff for it, though.

EDIT: Kevin Goldstein, in his day two quickie preview had Workman as the 4th best player left on the board, again citing worries that Workman's mechanics will keep him from starting in the majors. Goldstein calls Workman a fastball/curve guy, which is notably different from the mlb.com report.
   35. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 08, 2010 at 05:57 PM (#3553791)
The Red Sox are going to spend a pile of money this year. Their third and fourth rounders are both reportedly demanding seven figures to forgo college.

3rd rounder, #110: Sean Coyle, HS SS from Pennsylvania, projects as 2B in the majors. Plus speed and good power for a smallish guy (5-8). BA had him #111 overall, which suggests they don't think he's worth the bonus money. Keith Law apparently reported that the Sox had struck a tentative deal with Coyle before the day started.

4th rounder, #143: Garin Cecchini, HS SS from Louisiana, projects as 3B. Sweet swing from the left side, good power potential. #47 nationwide per BA. Apparently was one of the best high school hitters coming in to the season, but tore his ACL and lost the spring season. Could be a great sleeper, though if he costs $2M, he's not exactly a sleeper.
   36. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: June 08, 2010 at 07:50 PM (#3553902)
They've had seven years - I expect far more to show for that than Felix Doubront and a couple guys in the low minors.


I think you're overestimating the odds to hit on a Latin signing and underestimating the amount of time it takes to develop one. Among Latin, non-Cuban free agent signings since Theo took over, I count only four who have made an impact in the majors: Pablo Sandoval, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and Johnny Cueto, with guys like Jhoulys Chacin, Starlin Castro, Alcides Escobar and Jenrry Mejia still establishing themselves. Carlos Santana is an excellent prospect and will be up soon; Jesus Montero and Martin Perez have struggled but are still good long term bets.

Would it be nice if the Sox had signed one of them? Sure. But it's not exactly an indictment of their Latin scouting that they haven't. Having been successful would I guess mean having one young regular they signed and developed; the Sox have zero. That's just not that big a difference. If they're still in the same boat seven years from now, then it'd be time to worry.
   37. tjm1 Posted: June 08, 2010 at 08:07 PM (#3553920)
Does Jose Iglesias count as a part of the Sox Latin program? From what I've read about him, he's already as good as Rey Sanchez was in his prime, and that's a good solid major leaguer. If he develops a bit as a hitter, he might be another Omar Vizquel type.
   38. Mattbert Posted: June 08, 2010 at 09:34 PM (#3553998)
Coyle looks quick as hell in that video. Good hands, quick release in the field, and a nice short stroke at the plate. Just very tidy looking.

Cecchini's the opposite. Pretty labored release for a nominal SS; he throws like an awkward outfielder. Yuck. If he's going to move to third, that may not be as much of a problem. I just hope he has the arm strength because it looked like he needed an awful lot of time to get his body moving in order to make a crisp throw from short. First impression is that the bat is why they took him, and they'll figure out where he'll play later. My guess is corner OF or 1B.
   39. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: June 08, 2010 at 10:23 PM (#3554023)
Good hands, quick release in the field, and a nice short stroke at the plate.


Looks great in the field, but in that one at-bat he seems to be out on his front foot and swinging with his arms too much. And brave kid to bunt with scouts in the stands. Or maybe he wanted to show off his wheels.
   40. Mattbert Posted: June 08, 2010 at 10:56 PM (#3554031)
And brave kid to bunt with scouts in the stands.

Yeah, I got a chuckle out of that. I would love it if Theo deadpanned that as the primary reason they drafted Coyle.

"Well, we don't have much bunting talent in the organization, and I saw an opportunity to give us some additional depth in that area."
   41. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 09, 2010 at 05:45 PM (#3554649)
Folks are saying on SoSH that both Vitek and Bryce are expected to sign for slot money.

Some good names in this draft, too. Lots of people have noted the Sox tabbed Kendrick Perkins in the 6th round. In the 20th and 21st rounds, the Sox took Roderick Shoulders and Mason Justice - maybe early 90s tag team wrestlers are the new market inefficiency.
   42. Mattbert Posted: June 09, 2010 at 08:16 PM (#3554777)
Joshua Riddle is another good one from the late rounds.

By the way, thanks Temple for the link to that podcast - good stuff.
   43. tjm1 Posted: June 10, 2010 at 12:23 PM (#3555225)
I think you're overestimating the odds to hit on a Latin signing and underestimating the amount of time it takes to develop one.


Good point. A lot of the Latin kids sign at age 16, which means they're usually a bit further from the majors than American draft picks.
   44. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: June 11, 2010 at 10:56 PM (#3556771)
I don't know what this report suggests about some early draft picks:

Two of their prominent selections — righthander Anthony Ranaudo and infielder Garin Cecchini — plan to play this summer in the hopes of showing the Sox that they’re worth better contracts than their draft status would indicate.


“I talked to him [Ranaudo] briefly and he seems like a great kid and he wants to prove he’s still one of the best pitchers coming into the draft,’’ said Sox amateur scouting director Amiel Sawdaye. “It would benefit us to get to see him some more.’’


The Sox also will follow Cecchini, a fourth-round pick who missed much of his senior season at Barbe High in Lake Charles, La., because of knee surgery. He is close to taking batting practice and could start playing next month.


I realize the Cape League threat is always there for college players, but is Sawdaye's statement sincere in that the Red Sox want to scout him more?

And is Cecchini a great steal because of the injury?

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