The Sox had three of the first 37 picks in the first round and sandwich round and used them to select shortstop Deven Marrero No. 24 from Arizona State, lefthander Brian Johnson from the University of Florida at No. 31 and righty Pat Light from Monmouth University at No. 37.
Marrero profiles as a superb defender, but there are questions about his bat after his average plummeted from .397 as a freshman to .315 as a sophomore and .284 this season.
Still, the Red Sox, who scouted him in high school and extensively in the Cape Cod League, aren't worried about his offense.
"We've gotten a chance to know him," said Amiel Sawdaye, the Red Sox' scouting director. "He's got a flat swing and he sprays the ball around the field. I don't think the offensive decline was much of a worry for us. I'm sure he expected to have a better year statistically, but it's not something that's a concern for us."
The Sox first pick was a little controversial.
One the one hand, Marrero was a guy expected to be a top-5 type of talent before last year. I say "before last year" because he declined at the plate -- where he was already suspect -- and hit below .300 in the Pac-10. Not sure it's going to get any better in the American League East.
Several commentators had excuses for that. The Sox' scouting director things he has the tools to develop his swing and have better luck. One of the guys on the MLB Network broadcast suggested it might have been the NCAA's new regulations on bats, which several players had trouble with.
Either way, I think it's reasonable for Sox fans to question this pick. We're seeing with Jose Iglesias that if you can't hit, the Sox won't bring you up. Who's to say the same thing won't happen to Marrero?
We're a ways away from that though. It takes a few years for these guys to develop, and if the Sox think he was the best player available, then fine. Hell, people had doubts about the swing of the last ASU shortstop we picked, and he turned into Dustin Pedroia.
On page 2, what do we do with Daniel Bard?
Daisuke Matsuzaka is scheduled to make a rehab start Tuesday, and has been effective in his last two starts for Pawtucket. The Sox could scratch Matsuzaka from that start, or have him pitch a couple of innings as a tuneup, and bring him back to face the Nationals on Saturday. What becomes of Bard in that scenario?
The easiest thing would be to return him to the bullpen, where if he regained his previous form it would dramatically strengthen a unit that has performed superbly for the last month. But Matsuzaka is hardly a sure thing, especially coming off Tommy John surgery, and the Sox have limited starting depth behind him. Aaron Cook's freak spike wound robbed the Sox of another option, and you have to figure Cook is at least a month away, given how much time he has missed.
As difficult as it might be to swallow, Bard -- and the Red Sox -- would be best served by sending him to Pawtucket, keep him starting, and let him find himself in an environment much more conducive to doing so than staying here. It worked for Clay Buchholz when his development stagnated, and it could work for Bard. Maybe it takes just a couple of starts. Maybe it takes a couple of months. But until Ben Cherington can find another starter before the trading deadline, the Sox need Bard to succeed in his current role.
ESPNBoston | Preaching patience with Daniel Bard
I agree with pretty much everything in Gordon Edes' column. His points are essentially 1) don't panic, plenty of great pitchers have struggled in the beginning and 2) we need to get him out of this rotation so he can work on things.
You'll have your answer, at least partially, tonight. If Daisuke misses his start, or only goes an inning or two, then you know he's coming up (because the solution for a pitcher who walks too many people is to replace him with Daisuke). If not, I think more than likely Bard stays where he is. I don't think any of our current bullpen arms are stretched out enough to start, and even if they did they wouldn't be able to go past 5. That becomes pretty taxing on a bullpen over time.
Hopefully they'll make the right call and let Bard go down to Pawtucket and work on his game.
ESPNBoston | Assessing first three draft picks by Sox | Globe | Stepping up behind the plate | Shortstop Marrero top pick | Herald | Two styles of skippers | Sox pick another ASU shortstop | Bard no big deal | DL decision due