SECAUCUS, NJ: MLB commissioner Bud Selig speaks during the MLB First Year Player Draft held in Studio 42 at the MLB Network in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
The first day of the 2012 MLB draft was comprised of just the one round. The Red Sox had three picks in the first, thanks to the departure of Jonathan Papelbon, and they used them on a shortstop from Arizona State expected to go in the top 10, a college lefty with a high floor, projected as a back-end starter, and a right-hander with a wicked fastball who just might dominate in relief before too long.
With the exception of Deven Marrero, the shortstop selected at #24, these were considered relatively inexpensive opportunities. Because of the new draft budget, that's a consideration that merits attention -- with Boston drafting players they like early on, in places where they can likely go under slot, they're able to save some money for high-ceiling types later on, players who just might need that extra financial incentive in order to be pulled away from college.
Why not draft the high-upside players who might not sign in the first round, rather than betting on their being available later? It's a matter of retaining the budget: should one of those players fail to sign, a much more significant chunk of the allotted pool would vanish than if they had failed to sign a fourth- or fifth-round selection. And, as you have seen, those players are still available that late, too, so why rush it when you can minimize risk without losing out on quality?
Boston also drafted college seniors -- and lots of them, as their five put them second in the league -- as seniors have far less negotiation leverage, given they can't return to school for another year. This makes them relatively inexpensive as well, and clears up even more money for the Red Sox to do their best to sign the next Will Middlbrooks or Ryan Kalish away from a stint at school.
As for the 14 picks themselves...
#87 - Jamie Callahan, RHP: Callahan is a 17-year-old pitcher, the first non-college product the Red Sox selected in the 2012 draft. He might end up more expensive than his second-round slot suggests, as he has a scholarship from the University of South Carolina to mull over, but, as stated above, that's why Boston organized their drafting the way they did.
#118 - Austin Maddox, RHP: Maddox is a former catcher and corner infielder who is now a right-handed hurler. He's a college closer, something the Red Sox love to draft, and like the ones before him will likely start in the minors in order to get him the most experience possible in the shortest time frame his progress allows.
#151 - Ty Buttrey, RHP: Baseball America rated Buttrey at #38 in their top 200, but Boston was able to snag him late. He's a 19-year-old high school player with a mid-90s fastball, a knuckle-curve, and a change that needs more use to develop, and while it's unclear if he's a starter or reliever in the long term, his arm is impressive regardless.
#181 - Mike Augliera, RHP: Boston went crazy with right-handed pitchers after selecting southpaw Brian Johnson at #31, and this one in particular has already signed with the Red Sox. Augliera was a college senior who led the NCAA in K/BB during his final year, and, given he was selected fewer than 24 hours ago, had no signability issues attached.
#211 - Justin Haley, RHP: The Fresno State product is a big pitcher, coming in at 6-5 and 230 pounds. He'll be 21 years old in 10 days, and is a redraft, as the Indians selected him during the 2010 draft when he first finished high school. His fastball ranges from the low-to-mid-90s, and his secondary offerings are a curve and a change, though those need some work in the minors. Reportedly, Haley already has an agreement in place with Boston to sign for the slot recommendation.
#241 - Kyle Krauss, RHP: Krauss is just 5-11 and 185 pounds, a short and slender college senior out of the University of Portland. The 22-year-old shows solid command, and succeeded in the Cape Cod League in addition to his time in college. His stuff isn't dominating, but he knows where it's going, and his senior status means he'll sign for under slot, too.
#271 - Nathan Minnich, 1B: Minnich snapped the streak of pitchers, and, given his 6-3, 240 pound frame, likely did it in a way that hurts. He was the Tino Martinez Award recipient, given to the top Division II player in the NCAA. He's one of the five seniors selected, and while it's unlikely he'll replicate his ridiculous numbers from Division II ball, it'll be interesting to see just what he can do in pro ball.
#301 - Michael Miller, SS: Miller is a fifth-year senior, but you wouldn't know it by looking at his 5-foot-9, 170 pound frame. The Cal Poly product hit .354/.410/.488 this year in 56 games, which, while not an eye-popping line, is a significant improvement from a power-perspective relative to his past. There might not be anything here, but given the expected cost, finding out won't get in the way of Boston's other plans.
#331 - James Watkins, C: Watkins caught at the United States Military Academy. The righty senior is just 5-11 and 185 pounds, and will turn 23 in late August of this year.
#361 - Jamal Martin, CF: After a slew of college seniors, the Sox went back to high school, scooping up the 19-year-old Martin out of William T. Dwyer high in Florida. Martin is a center fielder, and recently quit football in order to focus on the superior sport full-time. He's also one that MLB.com prepared a scouting report for. There's no voice-over, but you can watch Martin in action:
#391 - Mike Meyers, SS: Meyers is listed as a shortstop, but the Red Sox announced him for second base. The 18-year-old has a scholarship offer, and was all-state for his high school in Nevada. It's not known whether Boston will need to shuffle some of their budget around in order to pay him over slot or not.
#421 - Jeffrey Wendelken, RHP: Boston, fearing they might not have selected enough right-handed pitchers, took another here in the 13th round. He's a junior college product, and comes from the same school as former Red Sox Josh Reddick. His fastball ranges from the low-to-mid-90s, and he displayed an excellent K/BB in his most recent year of play.
#451 - Dylan Chavez, LHP: Boston's first southpaw since Johnson in the first round, Chavez is a former community college player who transferred to Ole Miss. He threw 24 innings as a reliever, striking out 25 and walking just three. That's a shift from his work at his previous school, where his K/BB was closer to one. As with almost anyone, you're not quite sure what you're getting here, but there's possible value hidden here. Unless, of course, Chavez thinks another year at Ole Miss will give him a boost in the 2013 draft class.
#481 - Carson Fulmer, RHP: His scouting reports scream relief ace, as he has a plus fastball that hits the mid-90s, a max-effort delivery better-suited for relieving than starting, and a slider that could be an out pitch for him. His third pitch, a change-up, has promise but is inconsistent. He has a commitment to Vanderbilt, but Boston might be able to lure him away from that thanks to the seniors they selected before him.