Thanks to the departure of Philadelphia scholar Jonathan Papelbon, the Red Sox have a surplus of early picks in the upcoming 2012 draft. The official numbers were released today, and Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal has the numbers:
No. 31 (for Jonathan Papelbon)
Supplemental first round
No. 37 (for Papelbon)
If you were one of the fools who freaked out over Aceves' first couple of save opportunities and wished we had thrown $50 million at Pap, here's another reason why it was good that we didn't. Draft picks are, of course, not guaranteed, but when you get two first rounders, you have a pretty good chance at converting on at least one of them. Having three total -- despite them not being early picks in the round -- gives even more options for Ben Cherington to play with.
And if you're a believer of Jonah Keri's recent column, which noted that free agent crops are getting weaker thanks to more young players signing long-term deals, so accumulating minor-league talent is going to become even more important. We've of course seen the success of the Rays building through the draft, but up-and-coming teams like Toronto and Kansas City appear to be using the same method to (theoretical) success. Meanwhile, many of the most recent free agent contracts (Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, Alex Rodriguez, and this past offseason's megadeals for Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder come immediately to mind) are looking more than a little albatross-y.
It will also be the first chance to see what kind of drafter Cherington is. In all likelihood he'll be similar to Theo -- valuing high-upside guys, not being afraid of players who require costly bonuses, aiming for high-velocity pitching -- but it'll be interesting to see if any of those tenets change with Ben at the wheel.
The draft will be televised this year as well, airing at 7 pm on June 4 on MLB Network. I'm sure it will be a riveting telecast with lots of highlights of aluminum-bat fueled bombs.