The Red Sox selected college bats with their first three picks in the 2015 MLB draft, bringing on center fielder Andrew Benintendi on Monday, then catcher Austin Rei and outfielder Tate Matheny on Tuesday. They changed things up slightly with pick number 141, going with an up-the-middle player yet again, but this time they took the form of a high school player. Jagger Rusconi, a switch-hitter out of West Ranch High School, is Boston's fifth-round pick.
This is a bit of an odd pick for the Red Sox, since Rusconi is committed to USC but is also ranked 322nd on Baseball America's pre-draft top-500. The latter bit makes you think he's an under-slot candidate who will receive a lower bonus than pick 141's $384,000, but the commitment makes that sound like it might not be a possibility.
Who knows, though: maybe the Sox and Rusconi already worked a little something out over the phone before the draft, and he'll still get more than he would have if he had gone later on -- 322nd projects as an 11th-round pick, which has a maximum bonus of $100,000 before it begins to count against the draft budget, and the 10th begins with a slot value of $154,600. So, maybe the Sox save some money while also giving Rusconi more than he would get elsewhere, and everyone is happy.
As for his ability on the field, Baseball America states that Rusconi, who will turn 19 next month, has power from both sides of the plate, with a line drive swing from the left and more of an uppercut from the right. While he was drafted as a center fielder, he has infield experience -- he was a shortstop in high school -- and profiles as a future second baseman who can hit.