Thursday, June 08, 2006

Draft News

Shades of Pedro and Ramon? Visions of one Papelbon starting and another Papelbon relieving? In a year or two, it might come true: the Red Sox selected Jonathan Papelbon’s submarining younger brother Josh in the 48th round of the draft yesterday. Although the elder Paps displayed the versatility in his college career to either start or relieve, Josh’s pitching style and experience makes him a clear prospect for the bullpen; he’s got 24 career saves, including 8 this season and holds the University of North Florida record for saves. Also drafted yesterday in the 19th round was Josh’s twin brother Jeremy, a lefty pitcher who went to the Cubs. What did we learn today? That the Papelbons are a pitching family and that the elder Papelbons like names that start with J (or they were looking for an easy way to keep track of their kids). If Josh signs, he’ll have the opportunity to pitch for Class A Lowell this summer.

In a minor coup, the Sox snared pitcher Daniel Bard in the 28th pick of the draft, one pick after grabbing high school power hitter Jason Place. Bard was an unexpected find, as the Sox assumed he would go earlier in the draft. However, other teams were apparently nervous about Bard’s difficult patch in middle of this past season and Boston was able to choose him with the compensation pick they got for losing Johnny Damon. According to scouts, Bard has trouble with his breaking ball – if he works out that problem in the minors and combines it with his mid-90s fastball, he could be devastating in a few years.

Unfortunately, after all the hype, Jeff Maier won’t be the savior of the Orioles after all, or of any other team for that matter, as the newly graduated Maier did not get the draft call this year. I suppose there’s always next year for the sweet, sweet irony to come true.