After signing only sixteen draft picks in the ten weeks following the draft, the Red Sox managed to lock up seven picks on the mandated draft-signing deadline day, ultimately spending over $10 million on its 2010 draft class in the process. When all is said and done, Boston’s draft class will likely be considered the top haul of any major league club this year. Here’s a breakdown of the players Boston signed at the deadline:
Anthony Ranaudo: Many Red Sox fans know Ranaudo’s story by now. After a dominant 2009 season in which he led LSU to a College World Series championship, the 6-foot-7 right-hander was considered the top eligible pitcher for the 2010 draft pool and the likely second-overall-pick behind Bryce Harper. But injuries and mechanical issues led to lackluster results in 2010, where Ranaudo went 5-2 with a 7.32 ERA for the Tigers, and ultimately slipped to Boston in the supplemental round at No. 39 overall. To show that he could return to his 2009 form, the 20-year old signed on to play with the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod Baseball League this summer, and went 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA, 0.61 WHIP, and 31 strikeouts in 29.2 innings over five starts. Boston’s scouts must have been impressed with Ranaudo’s performance on the Cape, as the team signed him to a $2.55 million deal within the last few minutes before the 11:59 pm signing deadline. Over the long-term, he has ace starter potential, but questions will remain about his mechanics and injury history until the righty is able to re-demonstrate consistent success over an extended period of time.
Brandon Workman: A large-framed right-hander with a 92-94 mph fastball that breaks in on lefties, a plus high-80s cutter, and a high-70s two-plane curveball. As a junior at the University of Texas, Workman went 12-2 with a 3.35 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 104.2 innings. He projects as a back-of-the rotation starter at the major league level if he can improve his changeup. Otherwise, he could end up as a high-leverage reliever. Many scouts slated Workman to go as high as the mid-first round in Junes draft, but he slipped out of the first round, likely due to bonus demands, and Boston scooped him up early in the second round. Although rumors persisted throughout the morning that Workman and the Red Sox were far apart in signing negotiations, the 21-year-old signed to an over-slot $800,000 bonus in the early afternoon.
Sean Coyle: Shortstop with a 5-foot-9 frame and an advanced offensive approach for a prep player. Coyle hit .562 with 13 home runs and 22 stolen bases for Germantown (PA) Academy in 2010. He has plus speed and the skills to become a plus defender at the major league level, but likely profiles as a second baseman long-term. He has surprising power for his frame, thus drawing comparisons to Dustin Pedroia, particularly after the Red Sox selected him in the third round. The 18-year-old passed up an opportunity to play with his brother at the University of North Carolina next season, instead opting to sign with Boston for $1.3 million.
Garin Cecchini: Cecchini was considered a mid-first round pick after he out-slugged Bryce Harper for the under-18 Team USA club in 2009, but an ACL injury derailed his 2010 season. As a shortstop for Barbe High School in Louisiana, Cecchini demonstrated above-average tools in every aspect of the game, including quick wrists, impressive speed, excellent defense, and a high baseball IQ. Boston picked up the LSU commit in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, and after his medicals checked out the Red Sox signed him at the deadline for $1.31 million, of which he immediately donated $20,000 to the Jimmy Fund. He has the highest ceiling of any offensive player the team drafted in 2010. The Red Sox will reportedly use Cecchini as a third baseman to start his career.
Chris Hernandez: Lefty ace of the University of Miami pitching staff went 10-3 with a 2.76 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 99 innings in 2010. His fastball sits in the low-90s, and he also mixes in an excellent 88-90 mp cutter, a low-80s changeup, and a decent low-80s slurve, all of which he throws with phenomenal command. After selecting the left-hander in the seventh round, the Sox signed Hernandez to a $375,000 deal just prior to midnight on deadline day. Over the long-term, Hernandez will need to utilize command and deception in order to overcome his lack of velocity and succeed at the major league level.
Mathew Price: A draft-eligible sophomore out of Virginia Tech, Price, who was selected by Boston in the 8th round, got a $415,000 bonus. The tall right-hander went 7-4 with a 4.95 ERA for the Hokies in 2010. His fastball sits 92-93 mph and gets up to the mid-90s on occasion. He also has a curveball with plus potential.
Lucas LeBlanc: As a second year player at Delgado Community College, the 21-year-old center fielder hit .420/.486/.722. Boston selected LeBlanc in the 11th round despite his strong commitment to LSU. In fact, reports have indicated that he passed up an offer last week to sign for $325,000, ultimately agreeing to a bonus figure in the $500,000 range on the morning of deadline day. LeBlanc is a well-rounded athlete with a strong build and slightly above-average all-around tools. Hes likely to play right field at the professional level. Hes the third player Boston signed away from LSU this draft cycle.
With only three weeks left in the minor league season, its likely that many of these newly-signed draftees won't make their professional debuts until 2011. Some may get their feet wet with a few games at the lower levels at the tail end of the season, while others may break in with the Instructional League this Fall. Next season, Ranuado and Workman could break camp with High-A Salem; Hernandez, Price, and LeBlanc may start the year with Low-A Greenville; and Coyle and Cecchini could end up with Greenville or Lowell, depending on their respective performances next spring.
Among the high-profile players that Boston was not able to sign are 9th rounder Tyler Barnette, 16th rounder Adam Duke, and 19th rounder Eric Jaffe. Barnette, a right-hander out of Hickory High School in North Carolina, opted early on to honor his commitment to pitch for UNC-Charlotte rather than turning pro this summer. Prep pitchers Duke and Jaffe, both generally considered top 100 players in the draft, slipped due to strong college commitments to Oregon State and California, respectively. Boston opted not to offer Duke a large bonus because of an apparent arm issue, while there are no indications that the Sox came close to signing Jaffe. All three are names that could return to the draft pool in the higher rounds in 2013.
Mike Andrews is the Executive Editor of SoxProspects.com and a special contributor to ESPNBoston.com.