Today's Daily Links is going to be heavy on links and light on commentary and poop jokes. I do apologize.
The big news of the day is, of course, the Orioles beating the Oakland A's. No, I'm kidding. It's the draft. The Red Sox had four of the first forty picks in this year's First Year Player Draft, a draft which has widely been seen as both deep with pitching and as potentially the last in this particular format. Some have speculated that with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement up at the end of the season and the cost of signing draftees increasing on a yearly basis, we may see some move on the part of the owners to protect themselves from "overpaying" college and high school players. All of this could (and likely will) lead to teams, especially draft-focused clubs like the Red Sox, spending more money on players than they have in the past as this may be their last opportunity to do so.
When it came to actually submitting the picks, the Sox managed to select a group of players with upside and ability, two things you'd hope to get in first round picks. Specifically, the Sox tabbed UConn pitcher Matt Barnes with the 19th pick, high school catcher Blake Swihart with the 26th pick, high school pitcher Henry Owens with the 36th pick, and with the 40th pick they selected University of South Carolina center fielder Jackie Bradley. Click the player's names to see OTM's write up, complete with scouting video. The picks didn't surprise many, as some pre-draft speculation had swirled around at least two of their draftees, though surprise is never the goal.
As for reaction, well, it's definitely on the early side. You can expect the draft "grades" to start rolling in on Wednesday or Thursday and Daily Links will surely keep you abreast of that ridiculous tradition. All that said, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus chatted on BP after the end of the supplemental round, and said he thought the Red Sox did well. He gave them a 60 (on the 20-80 scale) which puts them below Jason Parks' refrigerator but still solidly above average.
While refraining from grades (for now), the Globe's Peter Abraham did get day one reaction from GM Theo Epstein and Scouting Director Amiel Sawdaye. As you might expect, they were pleased. Over at WEEI.com, Alex Speier gives his reactions to the selections as well as some quotes from Epstein and Sawdaye's conference call.
And if you're of the sort worried about revisionist history, you can check what the experts said before the draft by reading their chat transcript at ESPN.com. It was held by Mr. Goldstein and ESPN's resident draft guru Keith Law, and you can read the transcript here. Knowledge is power, people! Not to be left out, SB Nation will have continuing coverage of the draft here.
Switching topics -- we'll have more draft coverage tomorrow and the next day and the next day so you won't miss anything, believe me -- over at Beyond the Boxscore, Marc's old stomping grounds, Jacob Peterson looks at David Ortiz's growth as a hitter this year. Ortiz's story of swinging at fewer pitches outside the zone and going the other way with more frequency jives with Mr. Peterson's numbers. Ortiz has missed fewer balls in the zone and laid off pitches out of the zone more often. It's encouraging news for Sox fans who enjoy seeing Ortiz crush opposing pitchers, and it's encouraging news for Ortiz as he'll certainly have good leverage at the bargaining table this off season should he keep this up.
Finally, Jack Moore at Fan Graphs is excited that Carl Crawford is coming. Where to, I'm uncertain. Maybe an ice cream stand or something. He could be hungry. You don't expect me to actually read the articles before linking to them do you? [phone rings] Oh, just a second, everyone. Hello? Oh, hey Marc, how are... What? ... No, seriously. ... Aw... Really? Well... bust my patootie... I'll be a monkey's uncle. Alright! Sheesh... [hangs up] Sorry about that. So yeah, Jack Moore looks at Carl Crawford's return to respectability as a hitter focusing on graphs and, in particular, on the dots in the middle of them. [phone rings] Of course he also has dots on the sides sometimes. [phone rings] Probably something to do with the way he was raised as a child. [phone rings] After all, lots of graphs makes things look more important. [phone rings] No I'm not mentally deficient. At least I don't think... No I.. Hey! Not if I wanted to! I'm just not that limber.