As usual, the Red Sox have been thorough in their preparation for the festivities, which begin on Monday. The only difference this year is that Boston's Draft board is being headed up by Amiel Sawdaye, who was promoted to director of amateur scouting last fall. Sawdaye replaces the highly regarded Jason McLeod, who is now an assistant general manager with the Padres.
However, Sawdaye was also a key participant in the room the past few years, when the Red Sox drafted current Major League contributors such as Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard, and he was also one of the decision makers when it came to selecting current top prospects such as Casey Kelly, Ryan Kalish and Lars Anderson.
"From my perspective, the transition is going remarkably well," said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. "Having a first-year scouting director, the process in the room has gone fantastically well. A lot of it is because it seems like it's not really a transition, because Amiel's been involved the last eight years and played a pretty primary role in developing all of the systems we rely upon through the drafting season and up to this week, when we put it all together. Obviously, I miss Jason personally and for his role leading the Draft room, but I couldn't imagine the transition going more smoothly so far."
The Red Sox will have plenty of big decisions to make, with four of the first 57 picks. The first pick is at No. 20 overall, as compensation for having lost free-agent reliever Billy Wagner to the Braves. Boston is on the clock again at No. 36, having received that pick from the Mets for slugger Jason Bay. At No. 39, the Sox will get another pick as a result of losing Wagner, and they'll get one more for the departure of Bay at No. 57.
MLB.com will offer live coverage and analysis of the entire First-Year Player Draft from Monday through Wednesday on MLB.com/Live. The first round and Compensation Round A will be broadcast live on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday, beginning with the Draft preview show at 6 p.m. ET.
MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo will join Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds, John Hart, Peter Gammons and Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis on Monday's broadcast.
Coverage for rounds 2-50 will shift exclusively to MLB.com/Live. Rounds 2-30 will be streamed on Tuesday, beginning at noon, and rounds 31-50 will be streamed on Wednesday, starting at noon. Host Pete McCarthy will be joined by Mayo and former general manager Jim Duquette.
Here's a glance at what the Red Sox have in store as the Draft approaches:
In about 50 words
Knowing full well the unpredictability of the Draft, the Red Sox will be prepared to take who falls to them at No. 20. Epstein and his staff are still thrilled six years later that Dustin Pedroia fell to them at No. 65. Epstein and Sawdaye are encouraged by the depth of this year's Draft class.
"I've had a lot of people who are picking in the top 10 picks saying, 'God, this would be the year we'd love to trade a pick with you guys.' I think we're in a pretty good spot. Like Theo said -- late end of the first round through the sandwich, if you have extra picks, you're in a pretty good spot to get some players that may end up being just as good as players you're going to pick in the Top 10." -- Sawdaye
Per usual, the Red Sox are playing things close to the vest and haven't let out any clues as to which players they might be eyeing in the first round. They never draft based on position, so they will go with the proverbial best player available.
The Sox would love to stack some more power bats in their farm system. Like a lot of teams, Boston is always trying to bolster its organizational depth of starting pitching.
Early on in Epstein's regime, he had a reputation for favoring college players. However, the Red Sox have shown more willingness to take high-school players early in the Draft over the past few years.
Recent Draft History
It was just two years ago that the Sox picked Kelly in the first round. Kelly initially kept his options open as to whether he would be a shortstop or a starting pitcher. But in conjunction with the team, he decided at the outset of this season to focus exclusively on the latter. The righty has rocketed through the system and is currently holding down a rotation spot for Double-A Portland. He spent part of Major League Spring Training with the Red Sox and drew rave reviews for his poise and arsenal of pitches.
Josh Reddick, a 17th-round selection from 2006, is one of the best outfield prospects the Red Sox have. He has already spent multiple stints on the Major League roster. The Red Sox expect that the left-handed hitter will become a significant part of their not-too-distant future. He is a plus outfielder with power, and the club loves his makeup. Reddick is playing for Triple-A Pawtucket.
In The Show
Bard is an example of a recent Draft pick who became a contributor at the Major League level in short order. Bard was taken with the 28th overall pick in 2006 and is now regarded as one of the best setup men in the game.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.