6/7/2013 11:40 P.M. ET
Red Sox intrigued by Missouri righty's stuff
By Michael Periatt / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Myles Smith began his college career as a shortstop at Missouri, but he quickly realized that if he was going to have a professional career, it was going to be on the mound.
The Boston Red Sox rewarded the position change Friday when they selected Smith with the 113th selection in the fourth round of the First-Year Player Draft.
The Mets took Smith in the 16th round last year, but he chose to return to the collegiate ranks.
The right-hander transferred to Miami Dade College in 2012 and moved on to Lee, an NAIA power for the previous season. With a fastball that can touch 97 mph and a solid changeup, Smith dominated at Lee, but to make it to the big leagues, he will need to improve his command.
"I think command is a big thing for him," said Mark Brew, the head baseball coach at Lee. "His arm has grown meaning how much velocity he's gained in it so quickly that I almost think his command and his body hasn't caught up to it yet."
Smith is listed at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds and his slight frame and erratic breaking ball may push him back to the bullpen as a professional. Brew thinks Smith has the ability to start professionally, but will need to adjust to the higher level of competition.
"On our level he just overwhelmed people with his ability and you know at that level that's not going to be the case," said Brew. "He's going to need that command and that ability to locate his fastball."
Red Sox nab complete catcher to open Day 2
BOSTON -- Jon Denney was the only player at the MLB Draft telecast not selected Thursday, but the high school catching prospect didn't have to wait long to hear his name on Day 2.
The Red Sox made Denney the 81st overall pick, taking him with their first selection on Day 2 of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft on Friday. The slot value for the selection is $671,2000.
"For a little bit I was surprised," CJ Medlin, Denney's coach at Yukon High School in Oklahoma, said of the wait to be selected, "but in the long run, this could be just a biased opinion, but I feel like he's going to end up being one of the top kids of the high school catchers taken this year when it's all said and done. I think he's got plenty of tools, I think his upside is tremendous and his ceiling is pretty much untapped right now."
Director of amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye was "excited with the talent that was available" in rounds three through 10.
"Our scouts did an outstanding job in preparation for this area of the Draft, allowing us to select a diverse mix of talented pitching and position player prospects," Sawdaye said in a statement. "We look forward to adding this talent into the Red Sox organization and to beginning the players' development path in professional baseball."
Denney has the complete package for the position, with advanced receiving skills and a plus arm. He has some power in his bat as well and showed off his offensive skills at the Area Code Games over the summer.
Denney continued showing all-around ability both at and behind the plate during his senior year, moving past other prep backstops in this Draft class.
Some scouts think his athleticism projects better as a corner outfielder or first baseman at the next level.
"I think he's got a great chance to stay behind the plate with Boston," Medlin said. "I think he's got the aptitude to do so, but wherever they do decide to put him I think he'll do great at and excel at it tremendously."
Denney is committed to play at Akransas next year, but he has indicated he would like to start his professional career sooner rather than later.
I'm so happy to be an official Red Sox baseball player in their organization thank you friends and family for the support!- Jon Denney #26 (@jondenney26) June 7, 2013
"I know he's eager to start that journey of professional baseball," Medlin said. "I know he's going to have a big decision on his plate right now with where he was drafted or you know going to school. Personally I'd love to see him go and play some pro ball and get it going."
This is awesome i have been a Red Sox fan my whole life! Ever since I started watching MLB baseball, now I'm apart of their organization!- Jon Denney #26 (@jondenney26) June 7, 2013
In the Pipeline
Through two days and the first 10 round of the Draft, the Red Sox have selected seven pitchers, two outfielders and one catcher. The focus on pitching reflects a need for top arms in their farm system. Of Boston's top 10 prospects as ranked by MLB.com, only three are pitchers and only one of those (Henry Owens) is a lefty. The Red Sox have drafted three left-handers thus far, including their first pick Trey Ball.
Boston took lefty Corey Littrell in the fifth round Friday. Due to his college experience at Kentucky, some scouts think Littrell could be on an accelerated track to the big leagues.
The two outfielders Boston has selected so far -- Jordon Austin and Forrestt Allday -- could face a crowded road to the big leagues. Led by Jackie Bradley Jr. and Bryce Brentz, the Red Sox seemed to have a good idea of their immediate future at the position.
Taken by Boston, Littrell has feel for pitching
BOSTON -- College lefties who show they know how to pitch tend to do well in the Draft and for southpaw Corey Littrell, his savviness on the mound is what he sees as his biggest strength.
The Red Sox selected the Kentucky Wildcat in the fifth round of the Draft on Friday with the 143rd overall pick.
"My biggest strength is my competitiveness. I know how to pitch," Littrell said. "My dad played professional baseball with the Dodgers, and at an early age he instilled in me how to pitch. I'm not a guy that's going to overpower anyone or anything like that, but I can control four pitches and I know how to pitch and I'm very smart on the mound."
The Wildcats' Sunday starter is more pitchability than pure stuff, showing an ability to mix four pitches well. None of them -- fastball, curve, slider and changeup -- grade out as better than average, though his fastball has excellent sink to it. His changeup is his best pitch with good fade and his two breaking balls can be effective. Littrell has shown enough this spring to get some interest as a middle- or back-of-the-rotation starter, one who might not take too long to be big league ready, and one who could at least be an effective lefty reliever if needed.
Being drafted by the Red Sox was a dream come true for Littrell. His performance in Cape Cod last summer helped turn some heads and he also had a chance to check out Boston while there.
"You have your certain organizations that you'd like to go to," Littrell said. "It happens that the Red Sox were one of those, because I was at the Cape last summer and we went to Boston all the time and I love the city of Boston."
Sox take athletic outfielder in sixth round
BOSTON -- Top-flight athletes make for intriguing baseball prospects. They have the upside of a player typically drafted in the early rounds of a draft, but often aren't as polished.
The Red Sox got themselves such a player in 18-year-old Jordon Austin when they drafted the outfielder in the sixth round of the MLB Draft Friday. Austin has good speed and also has the tools to hit for both power and average.
He hit .351 with four home runs, 19 RBIs and 22 runs during his senior year at Forest High School in Florida.
Austin doubled as a football player in high school as well and was no slouch on the gridiron either, earning all-state safety honors during his senior year.
He is listed a 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds.
College arm Adams offers Red Sox solid mix
BOSTON -- Taken by the Red Sox with the 203rd pick overall, Mike Adams had pitched just 16 innings during his first three years at Tampa before finding a role as the Spartans' bullpen ace this season.
He excelled coming out of the 'pen and was named a Division II All-American. He struck out 77 batters in 64 1/3 innings and recorded a 2.10 ERA. He's listed a 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds.
Adams, a left-hander, throws his fastball in the upper 80s with good movement. His best pitch is his curveball, which grades as a plus offering, and he also throws a serviceable changeup. He has a loose, easy delivery, which helps him throw all three of his pitches for strikes.
Adams was a red-shirt his freshman year, and still has one year of eligibility remaining.
Allday brings strong plate discipline to Boston
BOSTON -- Plate discipline is a welcomed addition to any ballclub, and the Red Sox hope to add some to their farm system by taking Forrestt Allday in the eighth round of the First-Year Player Draft.
A product of Central Arkansas University, Allday accumulated a .503 on base percentage and averaged more than a walk a game this season in conference play. He also led his team with a .365 average.
His coach said Allday has improved in almost every facet of his game.
"I'm just so happy for Forrestt. It just shows that good things come to those that work hard," UCA head coach Allen Gum said in a news release. "His name fits him, no question. ... Allday, everyday. He got better in every phase of the game. He increased his power, increased his speed, increased his arm. It's great to see him recognized because he's a tremendous baseball player. We were blessed and fortunate to have him as a part of our program."
Allday, who played in the outfield collegiately, transferred to UCA from Alvin Community College. He was caught off guard when the Red Sox selected him.
"It actually caught me by surprise," Allday said in a news release. "I was on the phone with another team when my name came up on the screen.
"We kind of had an idea before the Draft who was interested, but it's really a very hectic process once it starts. But it's really awesome and I like the way it turned out. It's definitely a dream come true."
Martin brings wealth of relief experience to Red Sox
BOSTON -- The Red Sox added an experienced bullpen arm in the ninth round of the of the First-Year Player Draft on Friday.
Boston took Kyle Martin, a senior out of Texas A&M, with the 263rd overall pick hoping he can develop into a reliable arm in the 'pen.
Martin is listed at 6-foot-6 and 195 pounds, and he brings a wealth of experience from his collegiate career. The right-hander ranks third in school history with 98 appearances over his four years. He posted a 4.91 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 58 2/3 innings in 2013.
Those numbers are actually worse than statistics from his junior season when he went 6-5 with a 3.20 ERA in 56 1/3 innings.
The Chicago White Sox drafted Martin in the 35th round of the 2012 Draft, but he chose to return for his final year in college.
Grover serves notice with strong senior season
BOSTON -- Taylor Grover dominated during the 2013 season at South Carolina-Aiken, and the Red Sox took notice.
Boston selected the closer in the 10th round of the Draft on Friday as the 293rd overall pick.
Grover recorded just a 0.92 ERA in 29 1/3 innings during the 2013 season, notching a 5-0 record and picking up 11 saves. Opposing batters hit .154 against him.
Not much is known about Grover, as he has a limited body of work, but he was labeled a "hard thrower" by the Augusta Chronicle. He's listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds. Grover is a junior and could return for his final season of eligibility
Michael Periatt is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.