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Draft Report Card


Kevin Youkilis
BOSTON RED SOX

Best Pro Debut: 3B Kevin Youkilis (8) batted .317-3-28 and led the short-season New York-Penn League with 52 runs and a .512 on-base percentage.

Best Athlete: SS Eric West (5) has solid tools across the board. He has the hands, arm and range to stick at shortstop, plus hitting ability and speed.

Best Hitter: Youkilis wasn't drafted as a junior in 2000, but starred in the Cape Cod League that summer and continued to shine as a senior. His 31-73 strikeout-walk ratio in his pro debut is an obvious testament to his eye at the plate. He should hit for average power.

Best Raw Power: 1B Stefan Bailie (4) and OF Ryan Brunner (12) combined for just three homers this summer, but power is going to be their ticket. Brunner won the home run-hitting contest before the College World Series this year. C Jonathan DeVries (3) also should develop some pop, though he went homerless in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

Fastest Runner: OF Kris Coffey (25) is a 7 runner on the 2-to-8 scouting scale. West isn't as fast but has better instincts on the bases.

Best Defensive Player: C Kelly Shoppach (2) can deliver the ball to second base in 1.8-1.9 seconds. The 2001 Big 12 Conference player of the year, he was the best of a lean crop of college catchers available in the draft. He's durable and also offers some opposite-field power, though some scouts think he has holes in his swing.

Best Fastball: Boston signed just two pitchers out of the first 10 rounds. RHP Billy Simon (9) is very projectable at 6-foot-6 and already throws in the low 90s.

Most Intriguing Background: LHP Rolando Viera (7) defected from Cuba and went to court to avoid being made subject to the draft, but lost his case and eventually signed with the Red Sox for $175,000. His listed age of 27 easily made him the oldest player in the draft.

Closest To The Majors: Viera is a polished lefthander with an 87-89 mph and command of several pitches. He has pitched well in relief in the Arizona Fall League, and Boston has a glaring need for southpaw bullpen help.

Best Late-Round Pick: LHP Shane Rhodes (11) doesn't light up radar guns, but he knows how to pitch. He went 4-4, 2.89 with 58 strikeouts in 72 NY-P innings.

The One Who Got Away: The Red Sox were gravely disappointed that they couldn't sign LHP Matt Chico (2) and RHP Ben Crockett (10). Chico, who throws 91-93 mph, should get the chance to play both ways at Southern California. Crockett, who has a similar fastball and has looked terrific in the Cape Cod League for two years, returned for his senior year at Harvard.

Assessment: Boston's attempt to add to its pitching depth was severely hampered by its failure to sign Chico, Crockett and RHP Justin James (6). The Red Sox' most intriguing signees may be their seventh- through ninth-rounders–Viera, Youkilis and Simon.

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