Major League Baseball’s 2009 Amateur Draft was held on June 9th . Here’s how the current top-three teams in the American League East Division – the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees – fared as far as who made the most impact with their picks.
The Blue Jays had the advantage of two early selections – the 20th and 37th overall picks – going into the draft, and used the first one – number 20 overall – on right-handed pitcher Chad Jenkins of Kennesaw State University. Here’s what Baseball America says about the big right-hander: “Jenkins has a great feel for pitching and now sits at 90-93 mph with his hard sinker and reaches back for 96 mph with a four-seamer at times.”
With the 37th overall pick the Blue Jays selected left-handed pitcher James Paxton, from The University of Kentucky. Paxton fanned 115 batters while allowing 20 walks over 78.1 innings for the Wildcats in 2009.
The Jays also picked up a third-pitcher, grabbing Jake Eliopoulos, a lefty, fro Newmarket, Ont.. According to All-America Baseball, “Jake is a wiry, slim (left-handed pitcher) with great projection. His fastball is currently in the high 80’s but should make a jump as he matures physically … He is an intriguing prospect with a three pitch mix.”
With their first pick, the Yankees Selected Slade Heathcott, from Texas High School, Tex. who is equally adept as an outfielder or left-handed pitcher, with the 29th pick overall. Heathcott, is somewhat of a wild card, as it’s uncertain what position he would end up playing if the Yankees can sign him. Heathcott is described as “… an athletic outfielder with five-tool potential,” by Baseball America. “He swings a quick bat from the left side and has strength and power in his 6-foot-1, 190 pound frame.”
New York also picked catcher John Murphy from Pendleton High School in Bradenton, Fla. – rated fifth-best overall amongst catchers in the 2009 draft class – with the 76th overall pick.
With the 135th pick in the draft, the Bronx Bombers chose right-handed pitcher Adam Warren from the University of North Carolina. Warren posted an impressive 31-4 mark over four seasons with the Tar Heels. According to MLB.com, “His fastball settles between 90-92 mph regularly, and he features a changeup, curveball and cutter.”
Boston’s first pick, number 28 overall, was Reymond Fuentes, a centerfielder from Fernando Callejo High School in Puerto Rico. Fuentes is a cousin of New York Mets star Carlos Beltran. Baseball America had this to say about the 18-year-old: “… Fuentes is an electric, game-changing player … slender, but has wiry strength and can put a charge in the ball during batting practice … Defensively, Fuentes’ range will allow him to stay in center field as a professional …”
With their second-round pick – 77th overall – the Sox selected William “Alex” Wilson, a right-handed pitcher from Texas A&M. Wilson Has an above-average fastball sitting comfortably at 94, with good riding life, according to a scouting report on MLB.com. He also features a good slider and an average curveball, while occasionally displaying a changeup.
In the third-round, Boston picked David Renfroe, a shortstop and right-handed pitcher, with the 107th overall pick in the draft, from South Panola High School in Mississippi. He is an exciting prospect who the Red Sox would like to develop at shortstop. A scouting report on MLB.com had this to say about Renfroe:
“Above-average offensive tools at the plate. Plus arm and defensive skills as well. Very athletic and instinctive player.”
Renfroe probably fell in the draft Because of issues regarding his signability, as he has a scholarship to Mississippi.
The balance of power in the AL East will certainly not be affected in the foreseeable future by any of these teams’ draft picks, but you have to look at the Blue Jays, who took three pretty intriguing pitchers with their top-three picks. The fact that two of them are college players, means they will potentially be in a position to help the big-league club in a few years, needing less time to adjust to professional baseball.
You also have to look at the Red Sox over the long term as having helped themselves the most. Boston picked up a great prospect in Fuentes, while Wilson, who is coming off surgery, may end being a bullpen pitcher down the road. He has already inked a deal with Boston.
The Yankees didn’t come away as strong as the other two clubs, in terms of the first-three picks. They seem to have taken some risks, as Heathcott is already committed to play for Louisiana State. Warren, however, could crack the majors – possibly as an average reliever – in a few years.