06/05/12 1:21 AM ET
Papelbon compensation nets two pitchers
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
Boston spent its compensatory picks for the loss of free agent closer Jonathan Papelbon on University of Florida southpaw Brian Johnson (31st overall pick) and Monmouth University (New Jersey) righty Pat Light (37th pick).
They are both hard to miss when they take the mound.
"I think in the last couple of years, one of our tendencies we've selected with some of our pitchers is that we definitely like to see some big guys, and both of these guys are," said Amiel Sawdaye, the club's director of amateur scouting. "Johnson is 6-foot-3, about 230 [pounds]. Light is about 6-foot-6. Both are physical presences."
After grabbing shortstop Deven Marrero with their first pick, the Sox swiftly moved to pitching.
Interestingly, Johnson was also scouted for his bat, meaning the Red Sox could have flexibility during his development.
"Certainly he's a pitcher first for us," said Sawdaye. "He's definitely very intriguing for us as a first baseman, and part of that plays in our evaluation as a guy that plays two ways. We think there's some upside there, but he'll definitely be going out as a left-handed pitcher for us."
Currently playing in the NCAA tournament for the Gators, Johnson is 8-4 with a 3.56 ERA in 16 starts, holding opponents to a .242 average. He is hitting .310 with 12 doubles, five homers and 40 RBIs and is in the running for the John Olerud Award, presented to the nation's top two-way player.
"The fastball is at 90-94 [mph]," said Sawdaye. "He can pitch with a plus fastball, can spin a breaking ball, throws two different breaking balls, obviously has a feel for his changeup, very repeatable delivery and [he's] a guy that throws strikes. He has performed in many different levels and is still performing in the College World Series. He's a guy that we think is super competitive and somebody who's pitched on the big stage."
Light's stage has been smaller, but he was a high school legend in New Jersey, going 20-0.
At Monmouth, he's been a force, setting single-season school records with 102 strikeouts and 101 1/3 innings. In his junior season, Light was 8-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 14 starts. He fired four complete games and held opponents to a .225 average. His fastball has been clocked in the mid to high 90s.
"Power pitcher," said Sawdaye. "The fastball, he runs it up there to 97, 98 [mph] this year. He's one of the guys that obviously we scouted on the Cape this past summer in a different role. In the Cape, he was more of a reliever role and obviously came in as a starter this year at Monmouth and got a chance to see extended outings. He's a guy that we feel like has three pitches, certainly will need to develop a little bit more of a changeup and a breaking ball, but for us, it's a power fastball that's one of the best fastballs in the Draft."