Red Sox Draft Report
Sox jump when Bard falls to them at 28
North Carolina righthander Daniel Bard
says he wants to follow in Craig Hansen’s
footsteps. He’s off to a good start.
Like Hansen last year, Bard slid out of the top 10 in today’s draft and didn’t stop until the Red Sox selected him with the 28th pick, their second of the first round.
Now he has a chance to follow Hansen and Jonathan Papelbon
, two other hard-throwing draftees who have already made their way to Boston.
“Those names being thrown at me, it’s hard to believe I fit in that class,” Bard said. “It’s a huge complement. They’ve moved guys like Papelbon and Hansen really quickly. Hopefully I move up at the same rate.”
Bard’s selection marked one of the highlights of a balanced first day that started with South Carolina high school outfielder Jason Place
at No. 27, and finished a few hours later with the intriguing selection of Scott Boras
client and presumed tough sign Matt LaPorta
, one of the best power-hitting prospects available.
“We got a very good mix of high-upside high school talent and solid college performers,” Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein
said. “We wanted to try to make an impact on our system and went after some players who were higher risk but could yield higher rewards. Our farm system just got a lot stronger.”
The highlight of the class may very well prove to be Bard, a big righthander with an effortless mid-90s fastball who dominated the Cape Cod League last summer before struggling as North Carolina’s Sunday starter. He has drawn comparisons to Tigers rookie Justin Verlander
as someone whose minor makeup issues (lack of a bulldog mentality) and inconsistency can be eliminated with good coaching.
“We’re very confident in Daniel’s makeup and coachability,” said Red Sox scouting director Jason McLeod
. “He’s been a high-profile kid ever since coming out of high school and he could have been disappointed about slipping, but he’s really excited. He knows what Red Sox Nation is all about.”
Bard’s parents hail from Massachusetts and family remains in the area. He said he expects to sign and get right to work making his delivery more consistent, since he often throws across his body and flattens his slider.
“That’s something I’ve kind of battled since late in my high school career,” he said. “I corrected it to some degree in college. When I’m struggling, I’m low three-quarters, just about sidearm. I’ll work hard on that once I get with the Red Sox.”Sox Yarns
• The Red Sox used their two supplemental first-rounders on pitchers with fresh arms. Wichita State lefthander Kris Johnson
, a Tommy John surgery alumnus, who threw just 54 innings over 15 starts as he worked his way back into shape. His fastball reached the low 90s consistently this spring. They also selected Alabama prep righthander Caleb Clay
, a converted outfielder who was throwing 93-94 mph late in the spring.
• The team's final selection, California prep first baseman Lars Anderson
, had been projected to go as high as the supplemental first round before falling due to signability concerns. He's committed to play collegiately at California.