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Sox happy with Day 1 picks
06/07/2004  8:53 PM ET
BOSTON -- The Red Sox had their eyes honed in on pitching at the start of Monday's First-Year Player Draft. But when they saw coveted Arizona State shortstop Dustin Pedroia still on the board at No. 65 -- Boston's first pick of the day -- they gladly shifted priorities for one round.

"When your first pick in the draft is the 65th pick in the country, I think the first thing you do is make a list of players you'd love to have, but don't think will be there when you're going to pick," said Sox general manager Theo Epstein.

"Dustin was on that list and we were really surprised and very happy when he was there, and it became an easy selection for us with our first pick to get a player of that caliber."

In Pedroia, the Sox see a diminutive shortstop who can do a little bit of everything. Former Red sox minor leaguer -- and current Angels shortstop -- David Eckstein is the player he's been compared to the most.

"We've been scouting Dustin since his freshman year at Team USA and Arizona State," said David Chadd, director of amateur scouting for the Red Sox. "He plays the game the way it should be played. He's the first one on, the last one off. He's just a grinder. Eckstein is a very good comparison. We're just excited and happy to get him."

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From there, the Sox made their run on pitchers, taking two lefties and two righties in rounds 2-5. Nine of the team's first 17 picks were pitchers.

"The emphasis of our draft this year, we did want to get pitching," said Chadd. "We targeted pitchers that we scouted heavily this spring and fortunately and luckily for me, we fell into a position where we could get them."

With their second pick of the day, the Sox grabbed Andrew Dobies, a 21-year-old lefty out of the University of Virginia. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Dobies was a second-team All-ACC player, going 6-2 with a 3.41 ERA and striking out 109 batters over 108 1/3 innings. His 16 starts this season tied a school record.

One round later, the Sox took another southpaw in 22-year-old Thomas Hottovy of Wichita State.

"Two left-handed pitchers obviously, both with ability," said Chadd. "Andrew has a slider that he can throw at any count, and has a change. Hottovy is very similar. Fastball, change, curve guy, both had a ton of success in college. Both can go out and start. They are very similar types of LH pitchers."

They followed the two lefties by taking two righties, Ryan Schroyer of San Diego State and Virginia Commonwealth's Cla Meredith.

Schroyer has been compared to Darren Dreifort by scouts. Meredith, 21, was a dominant closer for VCU, going 7-3 with a 2.55 ERA and striking out 84 batters in 67 innings. Opponents hit .194 against him.

The Sox got catcher Patrick Perry with their sixth pick of the day. The 21-year-old left-handed hitter out of the University of Northern Colorado. He was the Independent Division I Player of the Year.

"Pat put together one of the best seasons statistically this university has ever seen," said University of Northern Colorado coach Kevin Smallcomb in an article posted on the school's Web site. "And it was just not big numbers in Colorado, as he produced at home and in our 23 games outside of the state as well. Not only is he a quality athlete but also a quality student."

From there, they went back to pitching, getting University of Central Florida right-hander Kyle Bono. The second-team All-American went 8-2 with a 1.94 ERA this season.

Two rounds later, the Sox got a big bat, taking University of South Carolina first baseman Steve Pearce, whose team will be playing in the NCAA's Super Regional in Columbia this weekend.

Fifteen of the 17 picks taken by the Sox in Day One were college players. According to Chadd, that was not by design.

"Really there wasn't a heavy emphasis on college," said Chadd. "We had high school players on the board as well. It just didn't fall that way for us."

For instance, in round 12, the Sox saw a high-schooler they liked, and pounced, taking left-hander Mike Rozier out of Henry County (Georgia).

"He signed to play baseball and football at UNC," said Chadd. "We like his size and his strength. We're going to obviously watch him this summer and see what happens."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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