6/6/2014 12:58 P.M. ET
Sox take Kopech with Ellsbury compensation pick
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
BOSTON -- The days of the Red Sox placing a heavy priority on college players in the First-Year Player Draft are clearly over.
With pick No. 33 on Thursday, Boston took high school right-hander Michael Kopech as their compensation pick from the Yankees for losing Jacoby Ellsbury as a free agent.
The selection was on the heels of the Red Sox taking high school infielder Michael Chavis with their first-round selection (26th overall).
"We take the best player on the board," said director of amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye. "If the two best players are a high school pitcher and a high school middle infielder, then that's who we're going to take. We're not looking to diversify or draft for need. It so happened those were the next two players. Those were players we're very excited about, have a lot of conviction on, scouted for a long time, had a lot of history with. That's kind of how it shook out."
Kopech is a lanky righty (6-foot-4, 195 pounds) out of Mt. Pleasant High School (Texas).
"As far as the mechanics, those of you guys that have seen it, he's got an electric arm," said Sawdaye. "We really like the way he commands his fastball. The delivery kind of reminds a little -- it's got a little Jered Weaver in it."
Kopech's fastball has been clocked mainly in the low 90s, with plenty of room for an increase as he fills into his body.
"We've been scouting this guy for about two years. I think people that saw him in the Under Armour game could see how he commanded his fastball and commanded his secondary pitches," said Sawdaye. "Obviously we're really excited to get him out and watch him develop."
There is also a lot of upside to Kopech's breaking ball, which led to him striking out Alex Jackson, the sixth player taken on Thursday by the Mariners, in a showcase game at Wrigley Field.
In a tweet last night, Kopech tweeted out a picture in which he was embracing his dad after getting selected, and provided the caption, "Greatest moment of my life."
Kopech has a commitment to the University of Arizona.
Boston takes versatile infielder Chavis with 26th pick
BOSTON -- How about an undersized infielder with surprising power and an outgoing personality?
The Red Sox have gone down that road before with Dustin Pedroia.
Ten years later, the Sox traveled it again Thursday with the selection of Michael Chavis with the 26th overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft.
The right-handed-hitting Chavis hails from Sprayberry High School of Marietta, Ga. Chavis offers versatility on defense and a line-drive stroke at the plate.
Don't be fooled by the name of his high school. Chavis is anything but a spray hitter.
"It's funny, because his ballpark sits right up on a main street, a two-way highway kind of," said director of amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye. "I think, at times, Chavis is trying to hit cars going by. He's launching balls over the left-field wall. But the interesting thing about Michael is when you ask him to go the other way and you ask him to go to right field, he can kind of do it with ease.
"I think he kind of just got into this mode where when the scouts were in, he wanted to show his power and also probably wanted to hit some cars. It will be a pretty decent swing for what we like here over the Monster, because I think he'll probably put some balls on Lansdowne Street and make all the people sitting in the Monster Seats happy in BP, I can tell you that much."
Though he is listed in some places as a six-footer, Chavis is believed to be a little south of that.
"Growing up, I always have hit home runs," Chavis said. "I didn't realize that I was 'undersized.' Even being 5-11, 6-foot, [power] has always been a major part of my game. Hopefully it will just continue as a part in professional baseball."
If you want to compare Chavis to Pedroia, he will consider it a compliment.
|1||HOU||LHP Brady Aiken|
|2||MIA||RHP Tyler Kolek|
|3||CWS||LHP Carlos Rodon|
|4||CHC||C Kyle Schwarber|
|5||MIN||SS Nick Gordon|
|6||SEA||OF Alex Jackson|
|7||PHI||RHP Aaron Nola|
|8||COL||LHP Kyle Freeland|
|9||TOR||RHP Jeff Hoffman|
|10||NYM||OF Michael Conforto|
|11||TOR||C Max Pentecost|
|12||MIL||LHP Kodi Medeiros|
|13||SD||SS Trea Turner|
|14||SF||RHP Tyler Beede|
|15||LAA||LHP Sean Newcomb|
|16||ARI||RHP Touki Toussaint|
|17||KC||LHP Brandon Finnegan|
|18||WAS||RHP Erick Fedde|
|19||CIN||RHP Nick Howard|
|20||TB||1B Casey Gillaspie|
|21||CLE||OF Bradley Zimmer|
|22||LAD||RHP Grant Holmes|
|23||DET||OF Derek Hill|
|24||PIT||SS Cole Tucker|
|25||OAK||3B Matt Chapman|
|26||BOS||SS Michael Chavis|
|27||STL||RHP Luke Weaver|
|28||KC||LHP Foster Griffin|
|29||CIN||SS Alex Blandino|
|30||TEX||RHP Luis Ortiz|
|31||CLE||LHP Justus Sheffield|
|32||ATL||OF Braxton Davidson|
|33||BOS||RHP Michael Kopech|
|34||STL||RHP Jack Flaherty|
"Oh yeah, it's been decent," Chavis quipped about Pedroia's career to date. "I love watching Pedroia play. He's a great player. How he plays and goes about the game is incredible. That's what I think some people are missing nowadays in baseball is that they kind of play lackadaisical and they're kind of relaxed. I like how he plays 100 percent and plays as hard as he can every single play of the game."
Before officially selecting Chavis on Thursday, the Red Sox already knew full well of the Pedroia-esque passion that he has for the game.
"You can just see his passion for the game, just even his workouts, the way he works, interacts with his teammates, his love for baseball," said Sawdaye. "He is a personable kid. I'll tell you, one of the last things we saw, we met with him about two-three weeks ago, and one of our scouts said, 'Why are you always smiling?' He said, 'You know what? Because I'm always happy.' That's kind of the way he plays. He plays with a smile on his face. He's a guy that has an infectious personality and hopefully it permeates in the clubhouse. A guy that I think fans in Boston will hopefully get to know and love up here in the big leagues."
For an 18-year-old, Chavis has a lot of confidence. That was proved by the fact he wore a bow tie to Thursday's Draft headquarters in Secaucus, N.J.
"When it came to the bowtie, it was just something when I was looking around, I said, 'That's what needs to happen.' I thought it would be a little flashy, kind of classy, I thought I'd bring it out," said Chavis.
Chavis hit .580 with 13 homers and 37 RBIs while stealing 21 bases in his senior year.
The Red Sox drafted Chavis as a shortstop, but most projections have him playing either third base or second base as a professional.
"I think that depends on where they need me the most," said Chavis. "I can see myself playing third base or second base. It really just comes down to where they need me. I'm willing to play either one."
At least at the start, Chavis will probably get to play some shortstop at the pro level.
"I think we'll send him out as a shortstop initially, and you know, his ultimate role will probably be dictated on what he does," said Sawdaye. "Third and second are both viable options. I mean, we like to give these kids an opportunity to stay in the position that they play in high school most of the time and then talk to them a little bit about where they feel comfortable. If he doesn't play shortstop in the Major Leagues, we feel really strongly that he's going to stay on the dirt."
Though he has a commitment to Clemson, Chavis is now just a signature away from joining the tradition-laden Red Sox, who are coming off their third World Series championship in the past 10 seasons.
Chavis didn't leave much doubt that he'll end up signing with the Red Sox.
"I'm fairly comfortable saying that I am [going pro]," said Chavis.
Chavis was ranked No. 21 by MLB.com among all prospects eligible for the Draft.
Though it will probably be a while before Chavis can claim Fenway Park as his home office, he looks forward to his first chance to take aim at the Green Monster.
"I've actually never been to Fenway, and I couldn't be more excited about going, just to walk on the field," said Chavis. "I can't wait. It's going to be a great experience."
Even during his upbringing in Georgia, Chavis has received a taste of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.
"I grew up split between the Yankees and the Red Sox because half of my mom's side loves the Red Sox and half loves the Yankees," Chavis told reporters at Draft headquarters. "Like my grandpa, my grandma, they love the Yankees. But all of my cousins and uncles are diehard Red Sox fans. So depending on what house I go to, is depending on what type of fan I was, because I didn't want to get kicked out of the house."
And Chavis even went to a Red Sox-Yankees game -- the final one played in the old Yankee Stadium back in 2008.
"It was incredible. I remember the Yankees won that game. It was real cool. It was a great experience," Chavis said.
But his best experiences are probably still to come.
"I'm absolutely thrilled," said Chavis. "I couldn't be more excited. With them winning the World Series last year, obviously they have a great program and a great organization and farm system. I can't wait to become a part of it."
Slugging first baseman rounds out Day 1 selections
BOSTON -- Sam Travis might look like a classic contact hitter when he takes batting practice, deftly hitting the ball to all fields. But he also has a second gear, one which leads to fans in the outfield collecting souvenirs.
The Red Sox took Travis, a right-handed first baseman from the University of Indiana, with the 67th overall pick of the First-Year Player Draft.
"Travis is an interesting one, because when you go watch him in BP, from a power perspective, he goes into a BP session and can spray the ball around the field, but then his last round, he'll really let it go," said director of amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye. "He's another guy that's really going to use the Monster well and then also put some balls onto Lansdowne Street."
Travis was originally drafted by the Reds out of high school in 2011, but he pursued a collegiate career at Indiana instead.
One attribute that definitely intrigued the Red Sox about Travis is his ability to control the strike zone.
"The hit tool is very advanced," said Sawdaye. "Excellent recognition skills. He's a guy that can ambush a first-pitch fastball. If he sees it, he's going to be an aggressive hitter, but also has really good plate discipline. He's an interesting one, because, obviously, playing in the Big Ten for Indiana, you don't think of the Big Ten as a major baseball conference. But Indiana played a tough schedule, he faced a lot of really good pitching, and he handled it really well.
Travis hit .347 for Indiana this season -- his junior year -- with 12 homers, 58 RBIs and a .415 on-base percentage. He was named the Player of the Year in the Big Ten.
"This is a guy who performed for three years," said Sawdaye. "We've seen him since he was a freshman and been a lot of history with him. We really, truly believe that his tool as a power tool was fairly advanced."
He committed just two errors on the season for a .997 fielding percentage.
With their first pick on Thursday -- and 26th overall -- the Red Sox took infielder Michael Chavis. Though Chavis is a high schooler, he shares some hitting similarities with Travis.
"They're both big raw power guys. They both have loft," said Sawdaye. "They both have the ability to backspin a baseball. The most interesting thing is they're both really, really strong kids. We're excited to get them. They're good hitters. We look forward to getting them out in a Red Sox uniform."
In 2013, Travis showed his toughness by playing in all 65 games despite suffering a broken hamate bone during the season.
Travis hails from the Chicago suburb Orland Park.