BOSTON -- With the seventh pick overall in this year's major league baseball draft, the Red Sox selected left-handed pitcher Trey Ball, an 18-year-old high schooler from Indiana who ranked as a surprise choice.
The Sox had been heavily linked to Georgia outfielders Austin Meadows (taken two picks later by the Pirates) and Clint Frazier (drafted by the Indians at No. 5) heading into the draft.
The 6-foot-6 Ball was regarded as the draft's best two-way talent after gaining attention as both a pitcher and an outfielder. The Red Sox are expected to develop him as a pitcher, after he went 6-0 with 93 strikeouts in 46 innings for the New Castle Trojans this season.
Ball possesses a fastball that can reach 94 mph and has a strong feel for both his breaking ball and changeup.
He is committed to the University of Texas but is expected to sign a pro contract.
Here's an excerpt from ESPN Insider's scouting report on Ball:
Ball is the draft's best two-way prospect, so promising as a position player and as a pitcher that he could go in the first round as either one of the two. On the mound, his talent is easier to spot -- a 6-foot-6 left-hander with a loose arm, a fastball up to 94, and feel for a breaking ball already. His delivery has some effort in it, but he stays on top of the ball well and keeps himself online to the plate. He's inconsistent in finishing his pitches and doesn't get enough hip rotation, but there's nothing here that couldn't be fixed or improved in pro ball.
The Sox have not chosen as high as seventh since 1993, when they picked outfielder Trot Nixon.