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MLB Draft: Red Sox select Kelly »
June 5, 2008
BY JOE McDONALD
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON -- Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft is underway.
Walking around the Red Sox clubhouse, however, you would never know it. The draft is on every TV, but it’s not like the players are watching intently as they do the NFL draft.
Tucked away in the bowels of Fenway Park is where the real action is happening.
General manager Theo Epstein, director of amateur scouting Jason McLeod and vice president of player personnel Ben Cherington are leading the way for the Red Sox. Minutes before the draft began at 2 p.m., the three were seen walking along the warning track in front of the Green Monster, maybe just taking their last breather before the long task of picking the organization’s future.
The Red Sox have enjoyed tremendous success in the draft under this current baseball operations department. Epstein has a passion the draft and the fruits of his labor – along with the rest of the staff – have certainly paid off.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona spoke briefly this afternoon about his experience with the draft when he was a special assistant to baseball operations for the Cleveland Indians in 2001. He called it a "humbling experience" and "really intriguing" how organizations prepare for the draft.
Case in point: The Red Sox selected Dustin Pedroia – the 2007 American League Rookie of the Year – as their first pick (65th overall) in the second round of the 2004 draft.
In 2005, the Red Sox struck gold. Jacoby Ellsbury was their first selection (23rd overall) followed by Craig Hansen (26th overall), Clay Buchholz (42nd overall), Jed Lowrie (45th overall) and Michael Bowden (47th overall).
"When they talked about Pedroia, they were right on," said Francona. "Buchholz, Masterson and every kid they talked about in spring training you could see they paint a pretty good picture. I guess that’s what scouts are supposed to do . . . Because it’s easy to fall in love with your players for sure, and rating your own players is difficult. Our guys have done a very good job of that."
The local media has been invited to meet with Epstein at 5:15 to discuss the Sox’ first two picks and I’ll have more later on.
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