Red Sox Draft Report Card
Best Pro Debut: OF Mike Goss (11) hit .398 with 14 steals in 21 short-season games before dislocating his pinky while sliding into second base. RHP John Priola (14) doesnt have an above-average pitch, but he did go 3-0, 2.54 with 13 saves and a 33-5 strikeout-walk ratio in 46 short-season innings.
Best Athlete: Goss was a wide receiver and kick returner for Jackson States football team. LHP Jon Lester (2) could have been an early pick as a position player thanks to his bat and speed, and he was a basketball standout in high school. SS Chad Spann (5) was a high school quarterback.
Best Pure Hitter: 3B Scott White (3) or Spann. Some scouts thought White had a bit of a hitch in his swing, but the Red Sox say its just a timing mechanism and arent going to make any changes yet. His pitch recognition is a plus.
Best Raw Power: C Alberto Concepcion (21) rates an edge over White and Spann for now, though they could pass him as they mature physically.
Fastest Runner: Goss has basestealing instincts to go with 6.4-6.45 second speed in the 60-yard dash.
Best Defensive Player: White moves well to both sides and has a strong arm at third base.
Best Fastball: Lester and RHP Brandon Moss (8) both reached 93 mph in high school, with Lester having more projection for the future. The Red Sox have elected to use the versatile Moss as a middle infielder.
Best Breaking Ball: RHP Chris Smith (4) has a power curveball to go with an average fastball and an advanced understanding of pitching. LHP Tyler Pellands (9) fastball and curveball are both solid.
Most Intriguing Background: Unsigned RHP Brian Bannisters (45) father Floyd won 134 big league games and led the American League in strikeouts in 1982.
Closest To The Majors: Smith, the lone college player Boston drafted in the first nine rounds.
Best Late-Round Pick: Concepcion, the Pacific-10 Conference player of the year, was a Padres second-round pick out of high school. He slid three years later because of questions about his catching ability and his makeup, but the Red Sox believe he just needs to improve his footwork to stay behind the plate.
The One Who Got Away: RHP Jason Neighborgall (7) may have better stuff than Josh Beckett did at the same point, but teams were leery of paying him Beckett money. Hes part of a Georgia Tech recruiting class rated as the best in the nation.
Assessment: It took most of the summer, but the Red Sox were able to bring in Lester, White and Pelland, all of whom were challenging signs. First-year scouting director David Chadd didnt have the benefit of a first-round pick but got a first-round talent in Lester. Neighborgall would have been a coup for a club trying to rebuild its farm system, but his price was just too high.
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