The Boston Red Sox selected Arizona State University shortstop Deven Marrero with their first-round pick, No. 24 overall, in last night's 2012 MLB First-Year Player draft.
ESPN Insider Keith Law (subscription required) had Marrero ranked as the No. 13 overall draft-eligible player and wrote that he value has dropped since he changed his swing and his offensive production dropped. Law projected that he would be taken eighth overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he fell in the draft and Boston jumped at the opportunity to pick him up.
Even though he could still return to Arizona State for his senior season, I expect the Red Sox to make him an offer than he can't refuse so he can start playing in their minor league system as soon as possible.
Every team hopes to find that one guy in the draft that could turn their team around and help bring a World Series back to their hometown. The same goes for Marrero as the potential future shortstop of the Boston Red Sox.
With the organization's hopes high, here are five reasons why draft pick Deven Marrero could turn into a Red Sox superstar.
I'm personally a big fan of taking a college player with the first pick. There's definitely a better chance at signing them since they're usually at the end of their college careers and are ready to start playing professional baseball. With a high school player, you run the risk of him going to college instead of signing a contract, thus losing him in the end.
Marrero has played the last three seasons at Arizona State and knows how to provide for himself. He doesn't have his mom making his lunches like I'm sure some high school players do.
Another great thing about Marrero coming to Boston is that he's relatively familiar with the area. Sure, he grew up in Florida and played baseball in Arizona, but he did play last summer in the Cape Cod league and was named an All-Star.
He might be older than some of the high school players Boston could've taken with that 24th pick, but he should be able to handle the transition to professional baseball much better.
According to Law (subscription required), Marrero profiles as one of the best shortstops in the game due to his strong arm, along with his strong instincts and hands.
The MLB.com scouting report agrees with Law that Marrero's defense has really improved his potential.
Marrero's defensive abilities are what jump out first as there is no question he will be a shortstop at the next level. He'll be plus on that side of the ball—arm, hands and range—and it plays up even more because of his baseball instincts.
He was named the 2011 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, and they don't just hand that kind of award out to anybody.
He should be able to keep those skills at shortstop as well as develop them even further to compete with some of the best defensive shortstops in the game.
Here's the biggest concern about Marrero and could be one of the reasons he fell so far down the draft board. Here are statistics for his three seasons while at Arizona State:
As you can see, his hitting has gotten worse with each season. His numbers from this most recent season could be a part of an ankle injury that he suffered. As he told the Arizona Republic, he had to change some things up after the injury.
I couldn't really turn on inside pitches. I had to shorten my stance and use more of my hands. I wanted to play. I had to deal with it, and I did. I'm sure I'm going to play hurt many times throughout my career. This was a great learning lesson for me.
Being able to come back healthy and hit like he did in his freshman and sophomore seasons will be essential to his future development. If he can't hit for average, he might not pan out.
I do believe that once he's healthy and gets some instruction on how to improve his swing, he'll be able to put up great numbers once again.
The selection of another shortstop may have been intriguing since the Red Sox currently have two impact prospects in the minor leagues.
Boston has Jose Iglesias in Triple-A Pawtucket and Xander Bogaerts in Single-A Salem. Iglesias is supposed to be the shortstop of the near future with Bogaerts taking over in the far future. So where does Marrero fit in?
Well, time will tell. There shouldn't be as much pressure on him since he's not the top prospect at his position; that's Bogaerts.
All Marrero needs to do is work hard on his game, make his way up the minor league ladder and wait for an opportunity to present itself. If Iglesias and Bogaerts don't pan out, the job should be his.
As the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham writes, this draft choice didn't have anything to do with Iglesias.
The Red Sox tend to draft who they consider the best player available, so this pick should not be viewed as reflecting any dissatisfaction with Jose Iglesias. But the simple truth is that Iglesias has not developed as quickly as hoped when he was signed out of Cuba.
Remember this guy? Well you should. He's been one of the best Boston players in recent history.
The last time the Boston Red Sox selected a player out of Arizona State, it was a tiny shortstop by the name of Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia was amazing, both offensively and defensively, for the Sun Devils in three seasons.
Now, there's Deven Marrero that can do his best to overtake Pedroia as the best Sun Devil to play for the Red Sox.
That's obviously easier said than done, especially since Pedroia has won the AL Rookie of the Year and the AL MVP, but he'll have plenty of time to achieve similar accomplishments.
If history can repeat itself with drafting players from Arizona State, the Red Sox will have a superstar in Deven Marrero on their hands.