2012 MLB Draft: Grading the Boston Red Sox' Last 25 First-Round Picks

Benjamin KleinContributor IIIMay 22, 2012

2012 MLB Draft: Grading the Boston Red Sox' Last 25 First-Round Picks

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    With the 2012 MLB draft quickly approaching, it's time to shift the focus of the Boston Red Sox towards the future of the franchise and those players who hope to make that a success.

    Over the last few years, former general manager Theo Epstein did a good job of drafting amateur players and getting them to Boston in a short period of time. Before Epstein, current Baltimore Orioles GM Dan Duquette was in charge.

    Now, it's Ben Cherington's turn.

    This will be the first draft in which Cherington will take the reins, and he will have the pressure fully on him once Boston is on the clock.

    Boston holds three first-round selections in this year's draft: No. 24, No. 31 (for failing to sign Jonathan Papelbon), and No. 37 (compensation for Papelbon). 

    The Red Sox have had varied success over the years with their first-round picks. Here are the grades for each of Boston's last 25 first-round selections. 

Rick Asadoorian, 1999

1 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 17

    Where Is He? Free Agent

    Asadoorian played only two seasons in Boston's minor-league system, never reaching higher than Single-A.

    In rookie ball he produced only average numbers in 54 games. The next season his OPS dropped from .778 to .617, after advancing to Single-A and playing in 116 games.

    After his second season, he was shipped to St. Louis in a deal that brought Dustin Hermanson to Boston. He only reached Triple-A twice during his career and most recently played for Worcester in the Can-Am League.

    Grade: D-

Phil Dumatrait, 2000

2 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 22

    Where Is He? Triple-A Rochester, (Minnesota Twins)

    Phil Dumatrait spent three years in the Boston minor league system before they traded him and a player to be named later to the Cincinnati Reds for Scott Williamson.

    He had solid numbers through the early classes of the minors and never had an ERA over 3.86 during his tenure with the Red Sox minor league affiliates. 

    He had a few appearances in the majors for the Reds before being claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He pitched in 36 games for the Pirates over two seasons before leaving the majors to play in Korea.

    Last season, he signed with the Minnesota Twins and pitched out of their bullpen for a portion of the season. He currently plays for their Triple-A affiliate.

    Grade: D+

Matt Murton, 2003

3 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 32

    Where Is He? Japan

    Matt Murton played less than two seasons under Boston's control but did show potential.

    He was soon a part of the four-team blockbuster deal that sent Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs before the 2004 trade deadline. He played four seasons in the majors for the Cubs with a line of .294/.362/.448 with 28 home runs and 104 RBI.

    Chicago then sent Murton to Oakland in a deal for Rich Harden. He played in nine games for the Athletics, then was traded to the Colorado Rockies the following offseason.

    Murton played in 29 games with the Rockies and had only limited success. He was then released in December of 2009 and before signing in Japan, where he still plays.

    Grade: C-

David Murphy, 2003

4 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 17

    Where Is He? Texas Rangers

    The Boston Red Sox have to still be kicking themselves for losing David Murphy.

    He showed great potential in Boston's minor league system and was called up a few times to play in the majors. Boston then dealt Murphy along with Kason Gabbard to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Eric Gagne, who turned out to be beyond horrendous.

    Murphy is in his sixth season with the Rangers and has played very well since the trade. He's a career .280/.339/.447 hitter with 62 home runs and 272 RBI while playing an outstanding outfield.

    With all of the injuries and inconsistency that Boston now has in its outfield, Murphy would've been a great keep.

    Grade: A

Michael Bowden, 2005

5 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 47

    Where Is He? Chicago Cubs

    Michael Bowden made his way through the Boston minor league system as a starting pitcher until 2010 when they started using him as a reliever.

    He didn't show much difference in his performances after the transition and kept a consistent ERA over the seven years he spent in the minors.

    He appeared briefly for the Red Sox in the majors, but his minor league success didn't translate nearly as much as he and Boston had hoped.

    With a strong need for an outfielder, the Red Sox traded him to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Marlon Byrd earlier this season. At only 25 years of age, Bowden still has plenty of major league baseball left in him.

    Grade: B-

Jed Lowrie, 2005

6 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 45

    Where Is He? Houston Astros

    Jed Lowrie also rode his way through the minors waiting for his shot at being a starter in the Boston infield.

    His versatility was a big bonus for the Red Sox, but unfortunately, he was often injured and never could secure a spot on the team. He played in 256 games with the Red Sox over four seasons in the majors, hitting .252/.324/.408 with 19 home runs and 117 RBI.

    This past offseason, with Jose Iglesias seemingly ready to shine in the majors, the Red Sox traded Lowrie along with Kyle Weiland to the Houston Astros for Mark Melancon.

    Melancon started off horribly after joining the Red Sox and is currently pitching in Triple-A Pawtucket. Meanwhile, Lowrie has been great for the young Astros and has hit in the heart of their lineup for most of the season.

    Grade: B

Clay Buchholz, 2005

7 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 42

    Where Is He? Boston Red Sox

    Clay Buchholz wasted no time in the minor leagues, getting all the way to the majors in just two seasons.

    Everyone of course remembers Buchholz's second career start with the Red Sox in which he pitched a no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles.

    He has had mixed results in the majors each season, including 2008 when he went 2-9 with a 6.75 ERA. But in 2010, he emerged as an All-Star and finished sixth in the AL Cy Young voting.

    Buchholz is currently the No. 3 starter in Boston's rotation.

    Grade: B+

Craig Hansen, 2005

8 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 26

    Where Is He? Free Agent

    Craig Hansen made quite the impression after being drafted by the Red Sox in 2005.

    He completely jumped Single-A and rode his strong arm through the system, making his major league debut the same season he was drafted. He was one of those "can't miss" prospects.

    His first full season with Boston didn't go well and he ended up spending the entire 2007 season in the minors. In 2008, he was traded to Pittsburgh as part of the three-team trade that sent Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    He struggled in his two seasons with the Pirates, and they released him in 2011.

    Grade: C+

Jacoby Ellsbury, 2005

9 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 23

    Where Is He? Boston Red Sox

    Well, here he is. Jacoby Ellsbury.

    The best first round-draft pick the Boston Red Sox have made in a very long time.

    He was an incredible prospect who took fewer than three seasons to develop, making his major league debut at 23 in 2007. In 2008, he led the league with 50 stolen bases and finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.

    He put up even better numbers in his second full season with Boston.

    His 2010 campaign was ruined by injuries, but he showed an impressive resurgence last season, finishing second in the AL MVP voting behind Justin Verlander. He also collected his first Silver Slugger and Gold Glove last year while also appearing in his first career All-Star Game.

    He's currently sidelined due to a freak injury but should be back sometime this season to help the mediocre Red Sox.

    Grade: A+

Caleb Clay, 2006

10 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 43

    Where Is He? Double-A Portland (Boston Red Sox)

    Caleb Clay has been through a lot even though he's only 24 years old.

    He had great numbers in high school and was playing in Low-A at 19. In August 2007, he underwent Tommy John surgery that kept him from pitching throughout most of the 2008 season.

    As a starter, he struggled after his recovery and was transitioned into a reliever last season with Double-A Portland. He was a dominant reliever in the Arizona Fall League but continues to struggle again this season with Portland.

    It's tough to judge him because he's still young, but he has to improve if he wants to continue to move up the minor league ladder.

    Grade: C

Kris Johnson, 2006

11 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 39

    Where Is He? Triple-A Indianapolis, (Pittsburgh Pirates)

    After being drafted in 2006, Kris Johnson moved up through the Boston system rather quickly despite never having really good numbers.

    In 2008, he went 8-9 with a 3.63 ERA in Double-A Portland. In 2009, he went a combined 3-16 with a 6.35 between Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket. In 2010, he was 6-13 with a 4.88 ERA. 

    Through a very poor minor league performance, Boston released the former first-rounder in 2011. He later signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates and—though no longer a starter—has pitched in Double-A and Triple-A this season in their organization.

    Grade: D+

Daniel Bard, 2006

12 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 28

    Where Is He? Boston Red Sox

    Daniel Bard, the last major leaguer on this list, was quite the first-round selection.

    He pitched well as a starter for the University of North Carolina, but after one season in professional baseball, he was moved to the bullpen.

    He was about as dominant as you can be throughout every level of the minors. In 2008, pitching in Double-A Portland, he had a 1.99 ERA in 31 games and then basically skipped Triple-A Pawtucket (pitching in only 11 games) before being called up to the majors.

    Since making it to Boston, Bard has been but a mere experiment for the Red Sox.

    For the past three seasons, he's been the primary setup man for closer Jonathan Papelbon. When Papelbon left after last season, Bard could've taken over as the closer but was instead converted into a starting pitcher.

    He's been up and down as a starter this season but continues to improve with every outing.

    Grade: A-/B+

Jason Place, 2006

13 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 27

    Where Is He? Free Agent

    Jason Place just never lived up to his potential during his stint with the Red Sox organization.

    Coming out of high school he looked to put up big numbers but failed to hit consistently. Outside of rookie ball, he never hit higher than .262 with a Boston affiliate. He did put up impressive home run totals in two seasons but never could completely figure it out.

    After 25 games with Double-A Portland in 2010, the Red Sox released Place. He then signed with the New York Yankees organization.

    He was released by the Yankees after playing poorly last season in Double-A Trenton and is currently a free agent.

    Grade: D-

Ryan Dent, 2007

14 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 62

    Where Is He? Double-A Portland, (Boston Red Sox)

    Like Jason Place, this 23-year-old middle infielder also has had his troubles at the plate.

    Because of his hitting struggles, it's taken him around five seasons to make it out of Single-A. Last season with Double-A Portland, he hit .206/.275/.306 with 20 runs, 11 doubles and seven stolen bases in 53 games. He then played in the Arizona Fall League where he hit a mere .196 in 16 games and only produced three extra-base hits.

    Ryan Dent is currently still in Double-A Portland and has shown some improvement...but not much.

    He's hitting .256 through 26 games but has failed to hit anything but singles. In 78 at-bats, he has only one extra-base hit—and that was a home run.

    He's still young but really needs to work on his hitting over the next few years.

    Grade: C-

Nick Hagadone, 2007

15 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 55

    Where Is He? Cleveland Indians

    Nick Hagadone looked like a promising prospect coming out of the University of Washington.

    He started 23 games in over three seasons throughout Low-A and Single-A before being traded with Justin Masterson to the Cleveland Indians for Victor Martinez. 

    The Indians immediately converted the tall lefty into a reliever, and he progressed through their system. He appeared in nine game for Cleveland last season, going 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA in 11 innings.

    This season he's pitched pretty well out of the Indians bullpen. At only 26, he could turn into a very valuable reliever in the next few years.

    Grade: C+

Bryan Price, 2008

16 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 45

    Where Is He? Double-A Akron, (Cleveland Indians)

    This right-hander was also a part of the Victor Martinez trade in 2009.

    In his first two seasons with Boston, he didn't have a lot of success despite high strikeout rates. The next year he went 1-6 with a 6.54 ERA in 11 starts before the trade.

    After seven more starts in 2009, the Indians decided the following year to use Price as a reliever. He has been a good reliever for Double-A Akron over the last three seasons, finishing each season with a sub-3.00 ERA.

    If he can continue this recent success, Price could see himself in Triple-A by the end of this season and in the Cleveland bullpen in the near future.

    Grade: B-

Casey Kelly, 2008

17 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 30

    Where Is He? Triple-A Tucson, (San Diego Padres)

    Casey Kelly was the top prospect going over to the San Diego Padres when Boston acquired Adrian Gonzalez.

    Kelly was one of Boston's most prized possessions at the time, winning several awards while playing in Boston, according to SoxProspects.com. In Single-A, he went 6-1 with a 1.12 ERA in nine starts and then 1-4 with a 3.09 ERA in eight starts in High-A. 

    He wasn't as sharp in his second full season in the minors pitching for Double-A Portland, going 3-5 with a 5.31 ERA in 21 starts.

    He was then shipped to the West Coast and has been great ever since. He went 11-6 last season with a 3.98 ERA in 27 starts with the Padres Double-A affiliate and has pitched well in Triple-A this season.

    He could turn out to be one of San Diego's future big league stars.

    Grade: B+

Reymond Fuentes, 2009

18 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 28

    Where Is He? Double-A San Antonio, (San Diego Padres)

    Reymond Fuentes is a speedy outfielder who was also dealt to San Diego in the Adrian Gonzalez trade.

    He hit well in 40 games of rookie ball before advancing to Single-A Greenville. In 2010, he really got to show off his speed, stealing 42 bases in 47 chances.

    After being traded, he continued to excel in High-A for the Padres. He hit .275/.342/.369 in 124 games with 84 runs, 29 extra-base hits and 41 steals.

    The transition to Double-A hasn't been too easy on Fuentes, but there's still time for him to fully adjust. 

    Grade: C+

Anthony Ranaudo, 2010

19 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 39

    Where Is He? Double-A Portland, (Boston Red Sox)

    According to SoxProspects.com, Anthony Ranaudo is one of Boston's top pitching prospects.

    He was an incredible college pitcher at LSU and tranferred some of that pitching success last season to Single-A Greenville and High-A Salem. He's currently 22 years old and projects to make it to the majors around 2014.

    Ranaudo hasn't pitched too much this year in Double-A Portland due to a groin injury suffered in March. He participated in extended spring training and has since returned to the Sea Dogs.

    It's still too early to tell how effective Ranaudo will be, but as long as he stays healthy, his future is a promising one.

    Grade: B+

Bryce Brentz, 2010

20 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 36

    Where Is He? Double-A Portland, (Boston Red Sox)

    Bryce Brentz, the 23-year-old outfielder, is currently Boston's ninth-best prospect, according to SoxProspects.com.

    In Low-A, after completing a very impressive career at Middle Tennessee State, he hit very poorly over 69 games. Last season, he started in Single-A Greenville and put up great numbers over 40 games, hitting .359/.414/.647 with 43 runs and 24 extra-base hits.

    He was then promoted to High-A Salem, where his numbers went down somewhat. Despite his batting average decreasing after the promotion, he continued to slug, hitting 19 home runs.

    He's off to another good start this year with Double-A Portland and looks to be a very promising prospect.

    Grade: B

Kolbrin Vitek, 2010

21 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 20

    Where Is He? Double-A Portland, (Boston Red Sox)

    Kolbrin Vitek is currently the third baseman for Double-A Portland, his first season at that level.

    He displayed great power in college but has yet to show it off in the minor leagues. Going into this season, he had only seven home runs through two seasons. Last year, he hit well and scored 78 runs in 123 games while collecting 176 total bases.

    There is an issue with Vitek, as SoxProspects.com notes. He currently plays third base after having played second base in college.

    Boston's third baseman of the future is Will Middlebrooks. Vitek could be better suited back at second base or in the outfield, which could mean future playing time in Boston.

    Grade: B

Jackie Bradley Jr., 2011

22 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 40

    Where Is He? Single-A Salem, (Boston Red Sox)

    Jackie Bradley, Jr. is an interesting guy. A wrist injury really hurt his draft stock and he fell into the hands of the Red Sox in last year's draft. He played in only 10 games with Low-A Lowell and Single-A Greenville last season.

    But he's really taken off this season at Double-A Portland, hitting nearly .400 through 37 games while playing a great outfield.

    He's currently Boston's eighth-best prospect, according to SoxProspects.com, and he projects to be a regular outfielder in the major leagues.

    Grade: B+

Henry Owens, 2011

23 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 36

    Where Is He? Low-A Greenville, (Boston Red Sox)

    This kid—and yes, at 19, he's literally a kid—was a great high school pitcher in California. It's still much too early to tell where Henry Owens will be in the future, but he has pitched well this year for Single-A Salem in his first season as a professional.

    In eight games, he's 4-1 with a 4.72 ERA in 34.1 innings while striking out 52 batters and walking 22.

    According to SoxProspects.com, Owens has a very high ceiling but needs to add more power.

    Grade: B-

Blake Swihart, 2011

24 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No.26

    Where Is He? Low-A Greenville, (Boston Red Sox)

    Blake Swihart could be the future catcher of the Boston Red Sox, if he keeps working at it.

    Drafted out of high school last year, he played in only two games in rookie ball without producing a hit. This season he's with Single-A Greenville and has also yet to hit well.

    Through 31 games, he's hitting around .200 and has a sub-.600 OPS with only a handful of extra-base hits.

    Swihart still has a long way to go, only being 20 years old, and his big-league career may not be spent entirely behind the plate. According to SoxProspects.com, Swihart could be compared to former Houston Astro Craig Biggio, who started out as a catcher before moving to other positions later in his career.

    Grade: C+

Matt Barnes, 2011

25 of 25

    When Was He Drafted? No. 19

    Where Is He? Single-A Salem, (Boston Red Sox)

    Is it too early to bow down to the future ace of the Boston Red Sox starting rotation?

    Possibly, but Matt Barnes has been untouchable this season and has already been promoted from Single-A Greenville to High-A Salem after just five starts.

    He went 2-0 with Greenville and only allowed one run in 26.2 innings while striking out 42 batters and only walking four. Through three starts with Salem, he's continued his dominance, going 2-0 while only allowing two runs over 18 innings, striking out 25 and walking two.

    He has been about as good as it gets this year, and we can only hope that this success continues throughout his career.

    Grade: A