With No. 7 pick, new scouting director Mike Rikard has high hopes

BOSTON -- When principal owner John W. Henry made a rare state-of-the-Boston Red Sox address last week, he noted that just as he expected the big-league roster to make adjustments that would lead to more success, the organization would be called upon to keep up with the way the game has changed since he became owner prior to the 2002 season.

“We have a certain philosophy," Henry said. “We’ve talked a lot about adjusting that philosophy ... Ben [Cherington] will make those adjustments and he will lead that process.

“Offense is not what it used to be. The way you win games in 2003 is not the way you win games in 2015. And we have to make those adjustments as an organization."

According to Cherington, one area that does not require any major overhaul is the team’s amateur scouting corps, which hours from now will be presented with an opportunity they have experienced only three times since 1968 but for the second time in the last three years: Drafting in the No. 7 slot in the draft.

“I think about all the things we do in baseball operations," Cherington said. “One thing we do well is the draft. And that goes back a long way."

Under Henry, the Red Sox have had four scouting directors: David Chadd (2002-4), Jason MacLeod (2005-2009), Amiel Sawdaye (2010-2014), and current director Mike Rikard, who will be overseeing his first draft but has a long baseball pedigree. “Rik,” as he is called by his colleagues, comes from a baseball family: His father, Bob, was a catcher in the minor leagues for 11 seasons, advancing as high as Double-A, while his uncle, Culley, was an outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates during the war years.

Rikard was a college shortstop at UNC-Greensboro before becoming an assistant coach at Wake Forest for six seasons and spending another season at Elon. He also coached in college summer leagues, a stint that included serving as head coach for Bourne in the Cape Cod League in 1999 and 2000.

Rikard became an area scout in 2000 for the San Diego Padres, where he developed ties to McLeod and Theo Epstein, and came over to the Sox as East Coast cross-checker when Epstein made McLeod scouting director in 2004. He has served as national cross-checker from 2010 until Sawdaye was promoted to vice president of international and amateur scouting this past winter.

"To be quite honest, the transition has been as easy as I could have anticipated," Rikard said in a conference call Friday. "We have a staff that's been together for a long time. There's a great amount of trust factor. There's a lot of comfort level."

Still, he acknowledged it’s different being in the lead chair.

"Going through anything of this magnitude for the first time, there's going to be some level of anxiety," Rikard said. "You just try to keep that positive, and it's certainly an exciting time."

All four of the Sox scouting directors have had notable successes:

Chadd: Jon Lester, Brandon Moss, David Murphy, Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia

McLeod: Jacoby Ellsbury, Craig Hansen, Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie, Daniel Bard, Justin Masterson, Josh Reddick, Will Middlebrooks, Anthony Rizzo, Casey Kelly, Christian Vazquez

Sawdaye: Brandon Workman, Bryce Brentz, Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes, Blake Swihart, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts. Barnes, Swihart, Bradley and Betts all were picked in 2011, and it’s too soon to say how Sawdaye’s subsequent drafts will grade out, though lefty Brian Johnson, a top pitching prospect, is now in Triple-A Pawtucket.

In 2013, Sawdaye had the first No. 7 pick since Trot Nixon in 1993 and took high-school left-hander Trey Ball, who is only 20 and remains a work in progress pitching at Class A Salem. Soxprospects.com currently ranks Ball No. 13 among the team’s prospects.

The presumption, based on the high draft position, is that the Sox will have a shot at grabbing a star-quality player, if not a superstar. Since 2002, here are some of the players taken with the No. 7 pick: Nick Markakis, Prince Fielder, Homer Bailey, Troy Tulowitzki, Clayton Kershaw, Matt Harvey, Yonder Alonso and Archie Bradley.

But there have been plenty of misses, too, which is why the Sox are careful not to raise expectations too high. The talent pool is regarded in some quarters as not as rich as it has been in other years.

"There have been some injuries kind of along the way that have maybe affected that to some extent," Rikard said. "But I think the overall talent level has been pretty good.

“We hope to get a good player."

The Red Sox have only two picks in the first 100 selections.