MLB Draft Live Blog: Red Sox, Rays Among First-Day Winners

MLB Draft Live Blog: Red Sox, Rays Among First-Day Winners

Wrapup, 10:40 p.m.: The Red Sox enjoyed an outstanding first day, nabbing three college players who were on their radar.

The Rays, Cardinals, Nationals, and Tigers join them among the winners on an exciting first day that began with Bryce Harper and concluded with Tyrell Jenkins.

The MLB Draft resumes tomorrow at Noon, when the Nationals go back on the clock with the 51st overall pick.

10:37 p.m: Apart from the Red Sox and Rays, the Cardinals are emerging as clear winners in the early rounds of this Draft.

Seth Blair and Tyrell Jenkins — their two sandwich round picks — are both high upside righties, the former from Arizona State, the latter out of Henderson High School (Texas).

10:35 p.m.: One of the best New Englanders in this year’s class is heading to the Texas Rangers.

Mike Olt, a third baseman from UConn, hit .318 with 23 homers for the Huskies this season, and that power should translate to professional wood bat leagues.

10:28 p.m.: Detroit was one of three teams that did not have a first round pick, so they’ve compensated by taking a top-30 player in the sandwich round.

Nick Castellanos, a third baseman from Archbishop McCarthy High School (Fla.) doesn’t have ideal power, but he should be at least an average hitter at the hot corner, with the potential for plus power.

Defense is the only concern here, as Castellanos’ bat will not look as good if he’s forced to move to an outfield corner.

10:22 p.m.: The PA announcers in the Blue Jays’ minors had better work on their pronunciation.

Asher Wojciechowski, a workhorse righty from The Citadel, is the Blue Jays’ selection with the 41st overall pick.

Wojciechowski was widely considered a first round prospect, as he owns a mid-90s fastball and a vastly improved slider.

10:15 p.m.: The Red Sox have made the most of their sandwich round selections, nabbing a pair of first round talents.

Bryce Brentz is a polished hitter out of Middle Tennessee State, with power to all fields and above-average speed. He hit .348 with 15 homers for the Blue Raiders last season. You can view footage of him playing for Team USA here.

Anthony Ranaudo is one of the most polished college arms in the draft, who fell only because of some hiccups during his junior season. His arsenal should make him a solid No. 2 starter, as long as injury concerns about his elbow are soon relieved.  (Video of Ranaudo here.)

10:07 p.m.: We’re into the sandwich round, with the first 33 picks now in the books.

The Astros began the string of compensatory picks with University of Minnesota third baseman Mike Kvasnicka. Kvasnicka hit .350 for the Golden Gophers with just 29 strikeouts in 240 at-bats.

The Blue Jays followed with righty Aaron Sanchez out of Barstow High School (Calif.). Sanchez has a good fastball, but will need to work on his secondary pitches.

10:00 p.m.: The Yankees were considered a likely destination for players with signability concerns, but they’ve opted to go with an in-state shortstop Cito Culver (Irondequit High School).

Culver was not on my top prospects lists, but the Yankees got plenty of looks at him and liked what they saw.

Only time will tell if Culver was the right choice over the higher-rated players available.

9:54 p.m.: Make that two high upside bats for the Rays’ consistently loaded farm system.

Justin O’Conner was considered a top-half of the first round pick, and Tampa Bay will be delighted that he fell this far.

A catcher with above-average power to all fields, O’Conner has a refined swing for his age, and has a decent chance of staying behind the plate.

9:46 p.m.: The Angels have consecutive picks at 29-30.

Cam Bedrosian, a righty out of East Coweta High School (Ga.) is their first.

Chevez Clarke, a switch-hitting speedster from Marietta High School (Ga.) is their second.

Clarke was once considered a top-10 prospect in this year’s Draft, but faded off some teams’ radars because he tries to do too much. A toolsy type with all the skills to be a dynamic leadoff man, Clarke can be an exciting player if he focuses on his strengths.

9:42 p.m.: Zach Lee out of McKinney High School (Texas) is the Dodgers’ pick with the 28th selection overall, kicking off a string of three consecutive LA-area selections.

Lee has three pitches — a fastball, slider, and changeup — that are nearly MLB ready. However, he could stand to work on his mechanics and command.

The Dodgers will need to talk Lee out of a two-sport (football) scholarship to LSU, as he’s the latest in a string of multi-talented players taken in round one.

9:31 p.m.: There’s nothing wrong with taking a local kid with worthy talent, and that’s precisely what the Phillies did when they drafted Jesse Biddle.

A 6-foot-6 lefty with a low 90s fastball, Biddle dominated opposing hitters at Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia.

Biddle will need to work on his curveball and changeup, both of which are currently too soft to be effective at the highest level, but he has the potential to be a solid No. 3 or No. 4 starter down the road.

9:27 p.m.: Sluggers love Coors Field, and the Rockies have found one in Clemson outfielder Kyle Parker.

Parker’s contact rate leaves something to be desired, but he has awesome power potential, something the Rockies’ pitching-heavy farm system could use.

The Rockies will need to convince Parker that baseball is his true calling, because he enjoyed success as a quarterback for the Tigers last season. Perhaps they’ll work out a deal that enables him to do both, because Parker is the only player in Div. I college history to throw 20 touchdowns and hit 15 homers in the same year.

9:22 p.m.: Zack Cox has one of the most polished bats in this year’s class. And he’s bringing it to St. Louis.

Cox hit .424 for the Arkansas Razorbacks — an impressive accomplishment in the SEC, which features loads of talented pitchers.

The Cardinals have made a habit of plucking top-15 talents who slipped down the board, and Cox fits that trend.

9:16 p.m.: The Giants need bats, and Gary Brown has the ability to put the bat on the ball.

Brown posted a .438 average at Cal State Fullerton, and his athleticism and speed have the Giants thinking about him as their leadoff man of the future.

Their minor league instructors will work on improving the mechanics of Brown’s swing, which is rather raw by college hitter standards.

He stole 31 bases on 36 attempts for the Titans this season.

9:09 p.m.: Signability is always a concern for the Marlins, and they’re going with Christian Yelich out of Lakewood High School (Calif.).

Yelich has been compared to Mark Grace and John Olerud, but he also has a unique attribute among first baseman — outstanding speed.

With a sweet left-handed swing and the ability to hit the ball to all fields, the Marlins will be thrilled if they are predictably able to sign him.

9:05 p.m.: The Rangers complete their own first round Texas two-step with Kellin Deglan, a catcher from R.E Mountain Secondary School in Canada.

Deglan drew interest from plenty of teams later in the draft, but the Rangers will be happy to have his left-handed bat in their lineup for years.

Deglan has a commitment to Florida International University, but the Rangers should find a way to fit him into their tight budget, because he may be the best high school catcher in the draft.

9:00 p.m.: The Twins overcome a low payroll with an excellent player development system, and Alex Wimmers will fit right in.

A phenomenal pitcher for the Ohio State Buckeyes, Wimmers compensates for a lack of stuff with pinpoint command.

Wimmers did not allow a home run in 73 innings of work for Ohio State this season.

8:53 p.m.: Theo Epstein promised to go with the best player available, and in his mind, that was Kolbrin Vitek.

Rumored as a potential top-10 pick, Vitek doesn’t have a clear position, but he has a picture-perfect swing that should play well in the majors regardless of his eventual position.

Vitek has the athleticism to play an up-the-middle position, but the Red Sox may opt to make him a plus defender at a corner. He should bring a line-drive swing with 20-homer potential to Fenway within a few years.

8:48 p.m.: The Astros are the first team to double-up, and Mike Foltynewicz is their pick.

Foltynewicz will need to be talked out of a commitment to the college baseball powerhouse at Texas, but he’s the best high school pitcher in the Midwest (from Illinois) and the Astros need arms.

A 19-year-old workhorse with plenty of projectability, the Astros will try to mold Foltynewicz into an heir to Roy Oswalt atop their disheveled rotation.

8:42 p.m.: If there ever was a time for the Angels to bring their farm system back to prominence, this is the year, as they have five picks in the top 40. Third baseman Kaleb Cowart is their first.

Cowart — a two-way product out of Cook High School (Ga.) — can fling it at 97, but also has outstanding potential at the plate.

The Red Sox were interested in Cowart, who is similar to Casey Kelly in his ability to either hit or pitch, and the Angels will be happy to have him.

8:39 p.m.: The Rays just keep finding ways to add elite talent. Even with the 17th pick in the draft, they’ve found a slugger in Josh Sale.

Sale (pronounced “Sal-ay”) isn’t the most athletic player in the draft, but he just might have the biggest high school bat in the class.

Sale is a top-10 talent who may have slipped due to signability concerns, but he’s far more likely to join the Rays organization than to head to Gonzaga.

If so, he could be a fixture in the middle of the Tampa Bay lineup for years.

8:32 p.m.: We’ve finally got a stunner. Hayden Simpson is heading to the Cubs, and no one saw that coming.

A southpaw who can dial his fastball up to 95, Simpson enjoyed success at Southern Arkansas, but hasn’t faced much upper level competition.

His 13-1 record and sub-2.00 ERA speak for themselves, but Simpson won’t immediately draw high marks for Jim Hendry and his staff.

8:28 p.m.: The Rangers owned this pick because they failed to sign their first rounder last year, and hence, signability was their priority.

That’s what Jake Skole — an outfielder from Blessed Trinity High School (Ga.) — offers.

Skole doesn’t have the upside of many of his first round colleagues, but the Rangers already have the best farm system in baseball, and won’t be disappointed even if his upside is that of a complementary piece.

This pick was unprotected for Texas, and hence the Rangers would forfeit it if they failed to sign the player.

8:22 p.m.: Hitting hasn’t been a problem for the Brewers for years. But their pitching has held them back.

GM Doug Melvin hopes Dylan Covey is the answer. An elite starter for Maranatha High School in the prospect hotbed of Southern California, Covey matches a power fastball with a sharp curve, but will need to work on his changeup in the minors.

He is one of the few pitchers in this Draft with a realistic No. 1 starter upside.

8:17 p.m.: The White Sox are the beneficiaries of Chris Sale’s slide.

Sale enjoyed phenomenal success at Florida Gulf Coast University, and is arguably the most polished southpaw in this Draft.

With their minor league pipeline lacking talent, the White Sox couldn’t be happier to see Sale still on the board at pick 13. A 146-to-14 strikeout to walk ratio tells you all you need to know.

The Royals may regret passing on Sale if he makes a habit of baffling their lineup during the course of his career.

8:10 p.m.: Yasmani Grandal’s skid down the board is over.

The Cincinnati Reds will add the well-rounded catcher to their lineup of the future, further fortifying a farm system that is loaded with excellent pitchers.

Grandal figures to have the pleasure of catching Mike Leake and Aroldis Chapman for years down the road.

Here’s a video of Grandal playing for Team USA.

8:06 p.m.: Safety over upside has been a trend so far, and it continues with the Jays selecting Deck McGuire.

A Georgia Tech product, McGuire features a four-pitch mix and commands each of the offerings well. He may not be a future ace, but McGuire is a safe bet to be eating innings for Toronto come 2014.

8:01 p.m.: The A’s offense has been dormant for years. Billy Beane wants to make sure it won’t stay that way for long.

Michael Choice is somewhat raw for a college hitter, but he wowed fans at the University of Texas-Arlington with his power.

Choice’s strikeout rate is somewhat worrisome — he fanned 54 times in 196 at-bats this season — but his pop diminishes that concern.

If Choice is athletic enough to stay in center field, there’s no doubt that the A’s made the right, well, choice.

7:55 p.m.: The Padres’ history with first round draft picks is riddled with busts, but their 2010 selection Karsten Whitson is unlikely to go that route.

A consensus top-three prep arm, Whitson brings a mid-90s fastball, complemented by a nice slider and changeup, from Chipley High School (Fla.) to the Padres.

San Diego fans have to hope that Whitson won’t go the way of Matt Bush.

7:49 p.m.: You’ll surely recognize this name. The Astros have taken Delino DeShields Jr., an outfielder out of Woodward Academy (Ga.).

DeShields is a speedster and an outstanding athlete who is virtually certain to sign.

With one of the weakest farm systems in the league, the Astros will look to the Draft for an infusion of talent, and DeShields is a solid start.

DeShields was also on the Blue Jays’ and Rays’ radars.

7:44 p.m.: Make that three college pitchers in a row.

Matt Harvey is the newest member of the Mets’ organization, and he’s a workhorse out of the University of North Carolina.

Harvey struck out 102 batters and allowed just six homers in 96 innings for the Tar Heels.

Armed with an outstanding fastball, he could be the heir to Francisco Rodriguez as New York’s closer, or a dominant starter if his offspeed pitches develop as hoped.

7:40 p.m.: The Diamondbacks make it two college pitchers back-to-back with Barret Loux.

With their top current pitching prospect, Jarrod Parker, on the mend from surgery, the D’backs opted to add the Texas A&M standout to their farm system.

At 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, Loux has an ideal pitcher’s frame, and profiles as a Dan Haren-like workhorse if all goes well.

7:34 p.m.: The first college pitcher off the board is Drew Pomeranz.

Pomeranz will head to the Indians, who were impressed enough by his polished arsenal to overlook his fragility.

With few high upside pitching prospects currently in their minors, the Indians sorely needed to add an elite arm.

Pomeranz is just that, although he will need to improve his changeup to enjoy a successful career as a big league starter.

7:27 p.m.: And now we’ve got a better idea of how the rest of the first round will go.

The Royals plucked Cal State Fullerton shortstop Christian Colon with the fourth overall pick.

Colon hit .352 with 16 homers and just 17 strikeouts in 253 at-bats for the Titans during the past season. It’s unclear if his power will translate fully to the majors, but that’s not as significant a concern if he’s able to stay at shortstop defensively.

Although he lacks the upside of some of the other available players, the Royals likely were enticed by Colon’s signability.

And thus, Yasmani Grandal’s slide commences.

7:22 p.m.: The Orioles have a stable of excellent pitching prospects, and now they’ve added an elite bat.

Manny Machado figures to join Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters in the Orioles’ lineup by 2014.

That trio will provide the run support for their young arms, led by Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman.

7:15 p.m.: No surprise here, it’s Jameson Taillon to the Pirates.

Taillon is unquestionably the best high school pitcher in this year’s draft. He has the mechanics, the poise, and certainly the stuff to succeed in the majors.

Pittsburgh has a rotten history with pitchers taken in the high rounds of the draft, although we’ll get a glimpse of one of them — Brad Lincoln — when he makes his long-awaited MLB debut on Wednesday.

Taillon is the most talented of their lot.

7:10 p.m.: It’s official: The Nationals have taken Bryce Harper.

Harper hit 31 homers in 66 college games. He was announced as a catcher, as requested by agent Scott Boras, who believes that the youngster would be more durable if he’s not forced to catch professionally.

7:05 p.m.: “For the next generation of players, their future in the Major Leagues begins right here tonight,” Bud Selig said in his opening remarks of the 2010 MLB Draft.

The Washington Nationals are now officially on the clock. Bryce Harper should be off the board within minutes.

6:50 p.m.: With 10 minutes remaining before Bud Selig puts the Nationals on the clock, uncertainty continues to reign.

The “signability” of many elite college players has cast doubt upon all but the top three picks.

The Royals will make the first move, and the effects of their pick could ripple throughout the opening round.

6:21 p.m.: Could Yasmani Grandal price himself out of the top half of the first round?

The second-best backstop in this year’s class is reportedly asking for an exorbitant signing bonus, and he’s already been spurned by the Royals.

The White Sox, who own the 13th overall pick, are believed to be interested, but also are concerned about their ability to sign Grandal.

That means Grandal may well be on the board when the Red Sox go on the clock at No. 20. Remember that Grandal was initially drafted by Boston in the 27th round of the 2007 draft, and was then regarded as a defense-first catcher with a developing bat. The 21-year-old hit .412 with 14 homers for the University of Miami this season, and could be an intriguing possibility for the Red Sox again.

6:03 p.m.: If you’re looking for a highly regarded player who might slip through the cracks for awhile, Ole Miss southpaw Drew Pomeranz appears to be the best bet.

Pomeranz was expected to head to Cleveland with the fifth overall pick, but the Indians are now apparently looking in a different direction, because of concerns about his durability

That could send the soon to be 20-year-old tumbling, even though he has solid command of a 91-94 mile-per-hour fastball and a very good power curve. If Pomeranz gets past the Mets at No. 7 overall, he may not crack the top 10, with Toronto (No. 11) and Milwaukee (No. 14) salivating over the potential of nabbing a steal.

5:51 p.m: In anticipation of the first three players off the board tonight, here’s a glimpse at the skills that have scouts drooling over their potential.

Bryce Harper’s power is legendary, and it’s epitomized by this 502-foot moonshot at Tropicana Field (skip over the first three minutes).

Jameson Taillon, out of The Woodlands High School (Texas), is the most polished high school pitcher in this year’s class. His effortless mechanics and explosive fastball are only the beginning.

Manny Machado’s 6-foot-3, 190 pound frame may force him to shift from shortstop to third base before long, but his bat will play exceptionally well at the hot corner too. Assuming Machado — who hails from Brito High School in Miami, Fla. — develops more power as he matures, his athleticism should make him a perennial candidate for 20 homers, 20 steals, and an average over .300.

5:32 p.m.: The top three picks appear to have fallen into place.

The Nationals will select Bryce Harper, followed by the Pirates and Jameson Taillon, and the Orioles with Manny Machado, ESPN’s Keith Law reports.

The rest of the top 10 likely will depend upon the Royals selection with the fourth pick. Grandal and Sale are the favorites to go to Kansas City, but Cal State Fullerton shortstop Christian Colon and Chipley High School (Fla.) righty Karsten Whitson are noteworthy wild cards.

4:10 p.m.: Here’s a look at the rumors that have been flying around so far today, surrounding a pair of rebuilding teams with early picks.

The Royals, once thought to have a deal in place with University of Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal, are now shying away from him due to concerns about his bonus demands. Their Plan B for the No. 4 selection likely is Florida Gulf Coast University left-hander Chris Sale.

With the second pick in the Draft, the Pirates figure to have their choice of two high schoolers, pitcher Jameson Taillon and shortstop Manny Machado. The former already has three plus pitches — including a fastball that touches 99 miles-per-hour — while the latter has drawn comparisons to Alex Rodriguez. They are believed to be leaning toward Taillon, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

1:20 p.m.: Monday night, during the first round of the MLB draft, the fates of 32 amateurs will be decided.

The Washington Nationals are presumed to be drafting Bryce Harper, the much-ballyhooed, slugging catcher from the College of Southern Nevada. The remaining 29 selections are anyone’s guess.

Tune in for the draft at 7 p.m. ET on MLB Network, and follow all the rumors and selections here at NESN.com.

Here’s an excerpt from NESN.com’s Red Sox reporter Tony Lee on his thoughts regarding the Sox’ draft strategy:

The Sox pick at Nos. 20, 36, 39 and 57 in the draft, which will again
span three days, with only the first and supplemental rounds taking
place on Monday’s first day. That’s when the organization will go to
work on a trio of highly coveted picks.

“I’ve had a lot of people
who are picking in the top 10 picks tell me this is the year we would
love to trade a pick with you guys,” said first-year director of
amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye. “I think we’re at a
pretty good spot. Late part of the first round through the sandwich
[round] you’re in a pretty good spot to get some players that are just
as good as players you may have taken in the top 10.”

Of course,
there are no trades allowed in the draft, but prior moves among major
leaguers have set the Sox up well. The 36th and 39th picks are
compensation for the losses of Jason Bay and Billy Wagner via free agency.

The last two times the Sox had three picks before the end of the supplemental round was in 2006, when Daniel Bard was
one of their first four selections. The year before, they used their
compensatory picks to complement a first-round prize, nabbing Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie and Michael Bowden after taking Jacoby Ellsbury in the opening round.

Perhaps,
in a year that sees an even plane through the first day of action, the
club will have ample opportunity to land such a haul.

“It’s not one of those drafts where there are clear elite players in the top half of the first round,” said general manager Theo Epstein. “It’s more spread out through the middle to the bottom and into the sandwich.”

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