Red Sox familiar with Draft's steals

Red Sox familiar with Draft's steals

BOSTON -- The Red Sox will be back at it on Thursday, trying to solidify their future when the First-Year Player Draft resumes with the 31st round.

Though the casual follower sometimes loses interest after the first few rounds, there is history to suggest that those picks can be just as vital.

Take a look at the 2009 Red Sox, and where some of those players were drafted.

Kevin Youkilis, who has emerged as one of the best all-around hitters in the game, was an eighth-round selection (243rd overall) by the Red Sox in 2001. Youkilis made his debut for Boston in '04 and was promoted to the Majors for good late in the '05 season.

John Smoltz, a potential Hall of Famer, was picked in the 22nd round by the Tigers in 1985. He was the 574th overall pick. By 1988, Smoltz was in the Majors. Soon thereafter, he was one of the most dominant pitchers in the game.

Jason Bay, currently Boston's best home run hitter, lasted until Round 22 and pick No. 645 overall, when the Expos snatched him up in 2000. Bay made his Major League debut for the Padres in 2003.

Tim Wakefield, who might be the Red Sox's all-time leader in wins by the time he retires, was an eighth-round selection (200th overall) by the Pirates in 1988. The knuckleballer was promoted to the Majors by Pittsburgh in 1992 and has been a key member of the Red Sox since 1995.

Then there is third baseman Mike Lowell, who was a nice find by the Yankees in the 20th round (pick No. 562 overall) in 1995. However, the Yankees traded Lowell to the Marlins, for whom he emerged into a star. Lowell began playing regularly in the Majors in 1999.

Brad Penny was another one who lasted for a while, being taken by the Diamondbacks with the 155th overall pick in 1996. Penny has taken a starting pitcher in the Major Leagues since 2000.

After 111 picks during Day 1 -- including Round 1, Compensation Round A, Round 2, Round 3 and Compensation Round B -- and a busy Day 2 on Wednesday, the Draft resumes Thursday with the 31st through 50th rounds, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

MLB.com's coverage will include a live pick-by-pick audio stream, expert commentary and the exclusive Draft Tracker, a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player, featuring statistics, scouting reports and video highlights.

Fans will not only be able to follow along every minute of the way online, but they'll be able to interact directly with Draft-eligible players and MLB.com Draft experts, among others.

The Draft Tracker will also feature the addition of Twitter, and the participation of "tweeters" such as MLB.com Draft expert @JonathanMayoB3, who will also be serving as on-air talent for all three days of the Draft; and reporter @LisaWinstonMLB, who will be writing the up-to-the-minute coverage for MLB.com.

In addition, MLB.com has created a Twitter account devoted to the Draft, where you can stay updated on every piece of info as it becomes available -- @MLBDraft.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.