06/03/2003 11:06 PM ET
Red Sox draft roundup
PITTSBURGH -- The Red Sox, determined to revamp their organization into a development machine, took step one Tuesday with what the brass felt was a fruitful first 20 rounds of the First-Year Player Draft.
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
"I'll say that we made an impact and we really believe that things broke our way today," said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. "We turned out getting the majority of guys we wanted. So I'll say 22 picks in, 20 rounds in, that we made an impact. We'll turn these players over to development and we'll see some of these guys at Fenway Park soon."
Epstein, in his first draft as Red Sox GM, promised that with all things being equal the Sox would go with college players. Epstein and his scouting staff, led by director of amateur scouting David Chadd, lived up to that promise. Of the 22 selections, 16 were college players, three were junior college players and three were high school players.
The Sox were ecstatic to get left-handed hitting outfielder David Murphy of Baylor with their first pick, 17th overall. They received two compensation picks for losing outfielder Cliff Floyd and used those to take Georgia Tech outfielder Matt Murton and Long Beach State left-handed pitcher Abe Alvarez.
"Murton is an awfully athletic outfielder, a plus runner," Chadd said. "He has strength. I think we kicked around the name Jeff Conine a little bit (in comparison). This guy has just as much, if not more power. He's a very instinctive player."
The Red Sox are hoping to benefit from the Georgia Tech factor once again, as two entrenched players on their roster (Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek) hail from that college hotbed.
Tall, athletic body. Similar to ex-Major Leaguer Johnny Grubb. Drives pitches to right side. Makes accurate throws. Solid makeup.
"As far as the Georgia Tech and Boston, there is strong history between the two," said Murton, who hit .301 (74-for-246) with 13 home runs, 56 RBI and 19 stolen bases in 62 games for Georgia Tech this season. "I'm so honored to be a part of it now. Nomar is a great player as everyone knows. Jason Varitek also came out of Georgia Tech. I was excited to come up through the same program they did."
One of the reasons the Sox didn't take a pitcher in the first two rounds is that they felt the guy they truly wanted -- Alvarez -- would still be there at the 49th overall pick.
"We were really happy to get Abe Alvarez," Epstein said. "He's a first-round talent and we got him in the second round."
Alvarez -- who has recorded an 11-1 record with a 2.41 ERA in 17 starts for Long Beach State -- is not your typical college flame-thrower.
"Alvarez is a touch-feel type pitcher," said Chadd. "He's very deceptive, varies his slots, never gives you the same look. He keeps hitters off their feet. His track record in college baseball at a top program is remarkable."
Epstein sounded ecstatic over this one.
"Alvarez is a left-hander who has gone out for Long Beach State every Friday night for the last three years against other team's No. 1 starter," the Sox GM said. "He's an outstanding performer. He has command of the strike zone and can get swings and misses with his changeup. He's an entertaining pitcher to watch."
The Sox abandoned their college philosophy with their second pick of the second round, 54th overall. That was when they got outfielder Mickey Hall from Walton High School (Marietta, Ga.).
"We do go with the college player, all things being equal," Epstein said. "But with Mickey Hall, it just wasn't equal. With the talent available at that pick, he was the best bat in our mind available. He's a left-handed hitter with a terrific swing and great knowledge of the strike zone. He has a great body. He's a plus runner right now. He's an advanced high school hitter."
With the next four picks, the Sox selected college pitchers. First up was right-hander Beau Vaughan. The Sox scooped up the Arizona State product with the 84th pick.
"He has a chance to be a real impact pitcher," Epstein said. "He's a power right-hander with a great body and a plus fastball. He has feel for three pitches."
The Sox went with a reliever next, taking Mississippi State right-hander Jonathan Papelbon with the 114th pick.
"He's been a consistent performer at Mississippi State," Epstein said. "Great body, great delivery, above average fastball, plus breaking ball. We think he's going to be a quick mover."
The Sox got Brian Marshall, a left-hander out of Virginia Commonwealth, in the fifth round. Then they closed out that furious pitching run by getting Jesse Corn, a righty from Jacksonville, in the sixth round.
"Brian Marshall is a long, lanky lefty with a plus breaking ball," Epstein said. "Jesse Corn was someone we targeted really early. He's a great performer and we had a full scouting report on him as well. He's got a plus slider, he went up against some really good schools and performed well against them."
In round seven, the Sox got catcher Jeremy West from Arizona State. Known for his power, there's a good chance West will wind up switching to first base.
Lee Curtis, from the College of Charleston, was the first infielder selected by the Sox. The second baseman -- regarded as a scrapper -- was taken in the eighth round.
Then it was back to pitching, as right-hander John Wilson was taken in the ninth round. The Sox got outfielder Christopher Durbin -- another Baylor product - in the 10th round.
"He had a remarkable year at the plate," Chadd said.
From there, the Sox got right-hander Barry Hertzler of Central Connecticut, left-hander Justin Sturge (Coastal Carolina), righty Zachary Basch (Nevada-Reno), shortstop Zach Borowiak (Southeast Missouri State), outfielder Chris Turner (Texarkana Junior College), lefty Kevin Ool (Marist), lefty William Newton (Mountain View High School), righty Robert Cochran (Middle Georgia College), righty Jarrett Gardner (Arkansas) and outfielder Josh Morris (Cartersville High School).
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.