Day 2 of the 2014 MLB draft saw the Red Sox pick up several interesting prospects, including raw flamethrower Jake Cosart. Cosart can hit the upper 90s, but he's still very raw. With his rawness comes great potential, though. Read more about Cosart and the seven other picks in the scouting reports below.
In terms of overall strategy, this being the third year under the current draft rules, Friday saw the Red Sox appear to move away somewhat from their draft strategy of the past two years. In 2012 and 2013, the club selected college seniors in the later rounds (7-10 or so), players who would sign for well under the slot values for those rounds, allowing the club to repurpose the saved cap space to sign players selected in earlier (and later) rounds to over-slot bonuses.
The Red Sox drafted just two college seniors on Day 2 this year, and one of them, seventh-rounder Reed Reilly, has college eligibility remaining, giving him more leverage than the typical senior. Last year, the money saved on drafting and signing three below-slot seniors went mostly toward signing catcher Jon Denney (third round) and first baseman/outfielder Nick Longhi (30th round). After the signing deadline, the Sox were left with extra money they could have spent, perhaps because many of the club's other potential above-slot signings, such as outfielder Ryan Boldt and pitcher Jordan Sheffield, were serious about going to college and the money offered was still insufficient to change their minds.
This could have played into a strategy change, as the club might have realized that, in the current system, it is difficult to offer life-changing money to picks not taken early. Add the fact that many other teams seem to be playing it more straight-up -- this year's draft went stunningly to form when compared to major draft rankings -- and the club might have decided to play it straight as well.
Although the Sox might have tried to "game the system" less, there are still candidates for under-slot bonuses. Some possibilities are fourth-rounder Kevin McAvoy, seventh-rounder Reed Reilly, eighth-rounder Ben Moore and 10th-rounder Cole Sturgeon. There will not likely be enough money saved from these, however, to go after another big fish Saturday, with the extra cash more likely to be spread around.
Overall on the day, the Sox drafted eight players. Two picks were high schoolers, four were drafted out of college, and the other two come out of the junior-college ranks.
Going pick-by-pick, here are today's draftees:
Round 3 (103rd overall): RHP Jake Cosart, JC, Seminole State (Florida)
Cosart looks like the best player drafted on the day, as one might expect. An athletic right-hander, Cosart is a flamethrower who can touch 98 mph, according to Baseball America (BA), and sat 92-95 with life on his fastball. Baseball Prospectus considers his curveball a second major league pitch, while his changeup lags behind. The 20-year-old started his college career at Duke University as an outfielder, but after redshirting a season, he transferred to Seminole State, where he took off as a pitcher. Control and command are issues, but since he hasn't been pitching very long, he is still raw with much upside. BA ranks Cosart as the 97th-best prospect in the draft, while Perfect Game USA has him ranked 102nd. He is the brother of Houston Astros pitcher Jarred Cosart.
Round 4 (134th overall): RHP Kevin McAvoy, JR, Bryant University (Rhode Island)
A local pick out of Rhode Island, McAvoy led Bryant University's pitching staff, going 9-1 with a 2.62 ERA in 15 starts. Across 99 2/3 innings, he struck out 94, walked 28 and did not allow a home run. McAvoy's fastball has topped out around 93, but sat more often in the 89-91 mph range, according to Al Skorupa of Baseball Prospectus. He needs to improve his secondary pitches but commands his fastball and uses both sides of the plate well. Some have speculated that his stuff and velocity will play up in a relief role. He looks likely to begin his career with the Lowell Spinners this summer.
Round 5 (164th overall): 1B Josh Ockimey, SS Neumann Goretti HS (Pennsylvania)
Listed at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Ockimey is a raw athlete with big power potential. Jim Callis of MLB.com used Ryan Howard as a potential perfect-world comparison. He did not crack Baseball America's Top 500 prospects, but the Red Sox had him in for a pre-draft workout and were reportedly extremely impressed. He has quick bat speed and strong wrists but will need to work out some mechanical issues in the pros. An upside pick, expect him to move slowly through the system. He is committed to Indiana University.
Round 6 (194th overall): CF Danny Mars, JC, Chipola College (Florida)
Mars is a switch-hitter with plus speed and should be a threat on the bases. He ranked 338th by Baseball America and 200th by Perfect Game USA and has had a strong season this year at a small college, hitting .380/.460/.584 with four home runs and 25 steals. He projects to be a line-drive hitter with below-average power but should get some extra bases in the gaps due to his speed. Though not considered an elite fielder, he is expected to stick in center. He is committed to play for Florida State next year.
Round 7 (224th overall): RHP Reed Reilly, SR, Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo (California)
Polished reliever in college who could move through the system quickly if he is kept in the bullpen (though the Red Sox do have a track record of moving college relievers back to the rotation early in their career). His sinking fastball is reportedly around 91-92 mph, topping out at 95, according to MLB.com, and is proficient at producing ground balls. Reilly tied a Cal Poly record for saves as a redshirt sophomore in 2013 and was drafted by the Orioles in the 18th round last year. His secondary stuff is a work in progress and inconsistent, with his changeup flashing above average at times but with great fastball command, he looks like he could be a future major league reliever. He was ranked 181st overall by Baseball America and 229th by Perfect Game. He will likely begin his Red Sox career with the Lowell Spinners this summer.
Round 8 (254th overall): C Ben Moore, JR, University of Alabama Tuscaloosa (Alabama)
Moore played mostly in the outfield throughout his career but caught more often earlier in his career, and the Red Sox asked him to be listed at that position. He has advanced bat-to-balls skills, according to Baseball America, with a low strikeout rate, as well as a strong walk rate. In his three-year college career, Moore hit .307/.375/.443 with 15 home runs. He was ranked at 315 by Baseball America.
Round 9 (284th overall): RHP Kevin Steen, Oak Ridge HS (Tennessee)
Athletic righty with a strong pitcher's frame and a loose arm. Focused on basketball early in his high school career, so is still raw as a pitcher. Fastball sits in the low 90s and his curveball is inconsistent, according to Jim Callis on MLB.com. He is a work in progress with upside. Committed to Tennessee.
Round 10 (314th overall): OF Cole Sturgeon, SR, Louisville (Kentucky)
Two-way player with great speed. Solid contact hitter with limited power potential. Has a strong arm, as evidenced by his work out of the bullpen at Louisville. Sturgeon was a captain and batted .325/.410/.468 this year for the Cardinals with 16 doubles. He was also a decent left-handed pitcher out of the bullpen.