Boston Red Sox Sign 17-Year-Old Aussie Phenom LHP Daniel McGrath

Frank LennonCorrespondent IFebruary 21, 2012

Photo from Fox Sports Australia
Photo from Fox Sports Australia

"Australian teenager Daniel McGrath has signed a professional contract with the world-famous Boston Red Sox."

That's how Fox Sports Australia announced the signing on February 8, which was originally reported on Twitter by the Doncaster Dragons, McGrath’s amateur team. Doncaster followed up with an official press release.

"Yes, the Boston Red Sox," wrote Stathi Paxinos of The Age, an Australian paper. McGrath told Paxinos, ''It's always been a dream of mine to play major leagues for the Boston Red Sox.'' The young man used to watch games at Fenway Park with his American-born mother, Dale.

The phrase "world-famous Boston Red Sox" is evidence of the success the team has had in making its presence known in the area. James Dunne, writing on SoxProspects.com, said, "McGrath’s signing continues a trend of aggressive action in the South Pacific under Red Sox Pacific Rim scouting coordinator Jon Deeble."

The 17-year-old Melbourne pitcher has been a star-in-the-making since he made the country's under-14 team in 2007. At 15, McGrath was the youngest player on the 2010 Australian Under-19 National Team. McGrath made two appearances at the recent Oceania Under-19 Championship held in Guam, striking out 17 batters in nine innings. 

According to the Australian press, there was no doubt in his mind that Boston was where he wanted to go, although his mother told reporters that 15 major league teams had made offers.

"It was an easy decision in the end. Jon Deeble called us, and my mum said we’d let him know within ten minutes and she called him back twenty seconds later," McGrath said.

In typical Aussie-speak, Fox wrote, "He will trek over to the Red Sox spring training facilities at Fort Myers, Florida in April for three weeks to give him a taste of what to expect come 2013."

McGrath will return to finish high school in Australia (he is due to graduate in November) and will not play in the U.S. until 2013.

According to a major league source cited by Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, McGrath signed for $400,000.  ''It's a seven-year contract, and hopefully, I'll be in the big league in that time. It's just the start of the journey, and I'm going to have to work really hard to make it,'' McGrath said.

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