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Red Sox focus on pitching
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06/05/2002 7:11 pm ET 
Red Sox focus on pitching
By Ian Browne / MLB.com

Boston tabbed Jason Neighborgall in the seventh round. (Courtesy Walt Unks/The Herald-Sun)
BOSTON -- Though the Red Sox have had arguably the American League's top pitching rotation in the first two months of this season, none of the members of that starting five are home grown products.

And there aren't any top-of-the-line pitching prospects in their minor league system either. With that in mind, it's hardly shocking that the Red Sox used 24 of their 49 selections in the First-Year Player Draft on pitchers.

However, it isn't as if David Chadd, director of amateur scouting for the Red Sox, planned to take so many pitchers. It just sort of turned out that way.

"The pitchers we took just happened to be the best guys available at that time," said Chadd following the two-day draft, which concluded late Wednesday afternoon, "We got three left-handed pitchers in the first 10 rounds, you can never have enough pitching."

The Red Sox, who didn't have the benefit of a first-round selection, also took eight catchers, six shortstops and seven outfielders.

Chadd was hired by the Red Sox in March, after the team's ownership switched hands, and this was his first time running a draft. He was pleased with the results.

"I thought we were well prepared and organized as a group," said Chadd, who was part of a highly successful scouting operation in Florida before joining the Red Sox. "We took enough time preparing prior to the draft to get comfortable. I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out."

He will be even happier if the Sox can reach an agreement with fireball pitcher Jason Neighborgall, rated the fifth best prospect in the country by Baseball America leading into the draft. Neighborgall, a client of Scott Boras, slipped all the way to the seventh round.

When you combine his stuff, the fact he is represented by the shrewd Boras, and his scholarship to Georgia Tech, it is obvious he will be a tough sign.

2002 First-Year Player Draft
JUNE 4-5 | NEW YORK CITY
Draft order | Rules | FAQ

FULL COVERAGE:
Bullington goes first
Drafttracker
Complete Draft coverage

But the Red Sox are looking forward to the challenge. Chadd has already spoken to a representative of Boras.

"We had a good conversation," said Chadd. "We knew what we were getting into, we feel great about his ability, both sides will try and work, I don't foresee it to be a quick signing. But we'll do everything in our power to get him in a Red Sox uniform."

They will be just as eager to sign left-hander Jonathan Lester, who they took with their first pick (57th overall). Lester has a scholarship at Arizona State, but said Tuesday signing with the Red Sox is his first priority.

"I don't know why he slipped," said Chadd. "but we're lucky and happy that he did."

Chadd was also excited about the crop of position players he drafted.

"(Scott) White is a terrific prospect," said Chadd. "(Charles) Spann is an offensive player. Alberto Concepcion is an exceptional talent, to be able to get him in the 21st round, we're very happy."

RED SOX 2002 DRAFT PICKS
57 JONATHAN T LESTER LHP BELLARMINE PREP
88 SCOTT A WHITE 3B WALTON HS
118 CHRISTOPHER M SMITH RHP U CALIFORNIA
148 CHARLES J SPANN SS SOUTHLAND ACADEMY
178 GARY B BROWNING LHP WAYNE COUNTY HS
208 JASON B NEIGHBORGALL RHP RIVERSIDE HS
238 BRANDON D MOSS SS LOGANVILLE HS
268 TYLER W PELLAND LHP MOUNT ABRAHAM HS
298 GREGORY R STONE SS BACONE COL
328 MICHAEL J GOSS LF JACKSON ST U
358 DUSTIN MAJEWSKI CF U TEXAS
388 CLAY S STONE RHP RUSTON HS
418 JOHN A PRIOLA RHP FAULKNER U
448 IAN CRONKHITE CF WESTMOORE HS
478 PETER J CIOFRONE SS SMITHTOWN HS
508 ARIAN ALCALA 3B ST THOMAS U
538 ROBERT B SMITH RHP SOUTHEAST MISSOURI ST U
568 THOMAS J MACLANE LHP FLORIDA ATLANTIC U
598 LUIS L VILLARREAL LHP NORTHWOOD U
628 ALBERTO CONCEPCION C U SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
658 JOHN T ANDERSON RHP ARKANSAS STATE U
688 DAVID T PAHUCKI RHP SIENA COL
718 PATRICK M BORAN SS PRINCETON U
748 JAMES W BUCKLEY C SIENA COL
778 ADAM K DAVIS RHP METTER HS
808 MICHAEL A ARMSTRONG RF CHABOT COL
838 MICHAEL BARCLAY CF U SOUTH FLORIDA
868 MATTHEW R CLARKSON C BROKEN ARROW SR HS
898 JONATHAN C WILLIAMS RHP OPELIKA HS
928 STEVEN C BOGGS CF SAN DIEGO HS
958 BROCK N HUNTON RHP DUBLIN COFFMAN HS
988 LUKE C TAYLOR RHP LOWNDES HS
1018 MITCHELL S WOOLF RHP MADISON HS
1048 JOSE L VAQUEDANO RHP VERNON REGIONAL JC
1078 DON E POWERS RHP SHAWNEE HS
1108 RICARDO ROMERO LHP THEODORE ROOSEVELT HS
1138 KOLEY G KOLBERG RHP NAVARRO COL
1168 TYLER A JACOBSON RHP AUBURN RIVERSIDE HS
1198 DUSTIN RODDY C NE TEXAS JC
1228 MATTHEW I INOUYE C MID PACIFIC INSTITUTE
1258 ROSALINO VALENZUELA RHP MARCOS DE NIZA HS
1287 LANCE M SCHARTZ C GARDEN CITY CC
1315 DAVID C BAKER C ROGERS HS
1342 BRIAN P BANNISTER RHP U SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
1369 DOUGLAS W HARRIS LHP LONE OAK HS
1395 ANTHONY BIANUCCI CF DAYTONA BEACH CC
1421 SERGIO ROMAN C ALLEN COUNTY CC
1447 ROBERT A CARUSO 1B CHAMINADE MADONNA COL PRE
1471 SETH T DHAENENS SS MOUNTAIN POINTE HS

Ian Browne, who covers the Red Sox for MLB.com, can be reached at Ian.Browne@mlb.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or any of its clubs.



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