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MLB Draft live blog: Red Sox take Barnes and Swihart in first round

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  June 6, 2011 07:38 PM

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The MLB Draft has started. The teams are calling into their picks into a MLB Network studio in New Jersey to be announced by commissioner Bud Selig.

The first pick, as expected, was UCLA righthander Gerrit Cole to the Pirates. Cole was drafted by the Yankees out of high school in 2008 and refused to negotiate with them. The Yankees were stunned, having been led to believe that Cole was willing to sign.

Cole has great talent but was 6-8 with a 3.31 ERA for the Bruins. Some teams also questioned his attitude.

The surprise then in the draft was that Rice infielder Anthony Rendon fell to No. 6 and the Nationals, apparently because of health concerns.

Virginia LHP Danny Hultzen (Mariners), UCLA RHP Trevor Baurer (Diamondbacks), Oklahoma HS RHP Dylan Bundy (Orioles) and Kansas HS OK Bubba Starling (Royals) were taken before Rendon.

Theo Epstein said the other day that signability was looking like less of an issue this year. That certainly seems to be the case as teams are going for the best talent, not the best deal.

UPDATE, 7:55 p.m.: Arizona took RHP Archie Bradley, (Broken Arrow, Okla., HS) and the Indians took SS Francisco Lindor of Montverde Academy (Fla.). The Cubs also took a high SS, Javier Baez of Florida.

We're nine picks in. The Sox choose at No. 19. The two UConn studs are still there. The Huskies are playing Clemson right now in the NCAA tournament.

UPDATE, 8:05 p.m.: UConn OF George Springer went to the Astros at No. 11. The Sox would love to get his teammate, RHP Matt Barnes.

Other recent picks: The Padres took juco 3B San Diego Padres at No. 10.

Interesting names on the board for the Red Sox beyond Barnes: Josh Bell, Alex Meyer, Jed Bradley, Or maybe LSU OF Mikie Mahtook.

UPDATE, 8:20 p.m.: Two more picks were made. Milwaukee took Texas RHP Taylor Jungmann. At No. 13, the Mets took Wyoming HS OF Brandon Nimmo. There is no HS baseball in Wyoming. Nimmo is the highest player ever drafted from that state.

Florida took a Florida HS pitcher at No. 14, Jose Fernandez.

I wonder if the Sox are praying for Matt Barnes at this point. Can he last four more picks?

UPDATE, 8:34 p.m.: This is kind of exciting (Man, I'm a baseball nerd). The Brewers took LHP Jed Bradley of Georgia Tech and the Dodgers LHP Chris Reed of Stanford. Two picks away from the Red Sox.

Can they get Barnes, the UConn star?

UPDATE, 8:47 p.m.: Barnes is there, The Angels took Utah 1B C.J. Cron then the A's took Vanderbilt RHP Sonny Gray.

What a good story that would be, the Sox taking a kid from Connecticut whose team is advancing deep into the NCAA tournament.

UPDATE, 8:50 p.m.: The Red Sox took Matt Barnes, a Yankees fan who is now probably a big Red Sox fan.
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A little profile on Barnes:

He turns 21 on June 17. ... He's 6-4, 205 pounds. ... Rests at 94-95 with his fastball. Good curveball with a developing changeup as his third pitch. ... He is 11-4. 1.62 in 16 starts this season. 116.2 IP, 71 H, 31 BB, 111 K. Opponents hit .177 against him.

UPDATE, 9:02 p.m.: The Blue Jays took Tyler Beede, the RHP from Lawrence Academy in Groton, at No. 21. He's committed to Vanderbilt but the Jays figure to be aggressive trying to sign him.

UPDATE, 9:19 p.m.: Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein personally scouted Barnes earlier this season, traveling to Norwich, Conn., on May 7. Facing South Florida, Barnes allowed one unearned run on three hits over eight innings and struck out 10.

The draft is through 24 picks. The Sox pick No. 26.

UPDATE, 9:25 p.m.: Red Sox on the clock at No. 26. I'll predict they take Josh Bell, the HS outfielder from Texas who is with Scott Boras. He claims to be attending Texas. I bet the Sox have two million reasons he won't.

10natp11.jpgUPDATE, 9:29 p.m.: The Sox have taken catcher Blake Swihart, a high school player from New Mexico. He's a switch-hitter with a good approach at the plate. He is committed to Texas and will be tough to sign. But that has never been a problem for the Sox.

Swihart is the first catcher taken in the first round by the Sox since John Marzano way back in 1984.

Swihart was one of the best high school position players in the draft. He iis 6-foot, 175 pounds and has experience at third base and the outfield if catching does not work out.

The media has a conference call with him at 10:15 p.m. I'll have a post on that as soon as possible.

Thanks to everybody who is reading and commenting on the draft. It's great to see so much interest in player development.

UPDATE, 10:35 p.m.: In the supplemental first round, the Sox took lefthander Henry Owens of Huntington Beach, Calif., and Edison High at No, 36. The 6-5 Owens, who signed with the University of Miami, has a projectable frame and a fastball that reached the mid 90s.

Owens, 18, was 12-1 with a 1.15 ERA in his senior year. He fanned 140 over 91.2 innings and allowed only 45 hits.

With their final pick on the first day, No. 40 overall, the Red Sox selected outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. of South Carolina.

Bradley has been out since late April after surgery to repair a torn tendon. He could return for the super regionals against UConn as a pinch runner or defensive replacement.

Bradley led the Gamecocks to the NCAA title last season, hitting .368 with a .473 on-base percentage and 13 home runs. He hit .259 this season.

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