Red Sox Draft Report Card

Rating the Red Sox 2008 draft




QUICK TAKE
The Red Sox and Royals became the first clubs to spend $10 million on a draft. All that money bought Boston an impressive group of high school athletes (Casey Kelly, Gibson, Hissey, Westmoreland) and solid college pitchers (Price, Fife, Weiland).
POSITION PLAYERS

BEST PURE HITTER: OF Pete Hissey (4), who signed for $1 million, has an easy, lefthanded stroke and a knack for pitch recognition. His swing and approach are more geared to line drives for now, but the Red Sox believe he can grow into 18-20 home run power.  >>  BEST POWER HITTER: OF Ryan Westmoreland, whose $2 million bonus set a fifth-round record, has plus power among his many tools. OF Tyler Yockey (14) may have more raw power than anyone in Boston's draft, though he has to translate it into game production.  >>  FASTEST RUNNER: Westmoreland can get from the left side of the plate to first base in less than 4.0 seconds. Once Westmoreland fills out, INF Derrik Gibson (2), a plus-plus runner, probably will be faster.  >>  BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: SS/RHP Casey Kelly (1), who set a club record with his $3 million bonus, is a slick defender with plenty of arm strength.

PITCHERS

BEST FASTBALL: Kelly offers power potential to go with his defense, but the Red Sox believe he has a brighter future on the mound and will play him both ways in 2009. They grade his fastball as a plus-plus pitch because he gets excellent command and late life at 90-91 mph. Among pitchers who have taken the mound, RHP Kyle Weiland (3) has the best combination of velocity (91-92 mph up to 95), life and command with his heater.  >>  BEST SECONDARY PITCH: Kelly's power curveball, though RHP Stephen Fife's (3) curve isn't far behind. RHP Bryan Price (1s) has an impressive slider when he keeps his delivery under control.

ODDS AND ENDS

BEST PRO DEBUT: A reliever at Notre Dame, Weiland went 3-3, 1.50 with a 68-10 K-BB ratio and a .166 opponent average as a starter at short-season Lowell.  >>  BEST ATHLETE: Westmoreland has the tools to do everything on the diamond and was an all-state soccer player and basketball star in Rhode Island. In addition to his two-way potential, Kelly also had a scholarship to play quarterback at Tennessee. Gibson is another fast-twitch athlete.  >>  MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: Kelly's father Pat played in the majors and manages in the Reds system, while unsigned 3B Travis Shaw's (32, now at Kent State) dad Jeff was an all-star closer. 2B Tom DiBenedetto's (37) father Thomas is a part-owner of the Red Sox.  >>  CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Weiland, especially if he returns to the bullpen. Fife's ability to throw strikes and get ground balls with solid stuff will allow him to move fast.  >>  BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: OF Bryan Peterson (11), a star high school quarterback, has good power and athleticism. RHP Tyler Wilson (13) is a projectable 6-foot-6, 205-pounder.  >>  THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: Boston offered RHP Alex Meyer (20), a first-round talent, $2 million but it wasn't enough to lure him from a Kentucky scholarship.