Will a kid’s arm stay healthy? Will he develop his pitches? Will the ball fly off a slice of timber the same way it rockets off metal? These questions can take years to resolve themselves — sometimes they never do.
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein has to be pleased with the answers he’s received since taking the helm.
But who has been Epstein’s best pick?
Jonathon Papelbon was the Red Sox’ fourth-round pick in 2003 out of Mississippi State University. After jetting to the big leagues in just two years, Papelbon flirted with converting back to a starter. But 164 saves later, it’s clear that staying the closer was the right decision.
Dustin Pedroia was the Red Sox’ second-round pick in 2004 out of Arizona State University. After struggling to get acclimated late in 2006 and early on in 2007, Pedroia stepped in as a cornerstone on the team that won the 2007 World Series. He took home Rookie of the Year in 2007 and MVP honors in 2008 and has emerged into a superstar in the league.
Jacoby Ellsbury was the Red Sox’ first-round pick in 2005 out of Oregon State University. The speedster was a catalyst on the 2007 club, and has embraced his role as a sparkplug at the top of the order, leading the league in steals in 2008 and 2009.
Clay Buchholz was the Red Sox’ supplemental round pick in 2005 out of Angelina Junior College in Texas. He threw a no-hitter in 2007 but was sent down to the minors after a disappointing 2008, and concerns about his makeup bubbled back to the surface. With a 6-1 record to close out his 2009 season and eight wins already in 2010, it looks like those worries can be put to bed.
Daniel Bard was the Red Sox’ first-round pick in 2006 out of the University of North Carolina. The strikeout machine is primed for a future as a big league closer and has a 2.95 ERA in 77 appearances since his debut last June.
Who has been Epstein’s best selection in the MLB draft?
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