The first members of the Red Sox 2012 draft class have started to trickle their way into the pro ranks, as seven players have joined up with the Lowell Spinners who will open their 17th season on Monday.
The players are only weeks removed from their final collegiate games and the thrill of being selected in the draft was still very fresh on their minds during Media Day at LaLacheur Park on Thursday.
“I was ecstatic when they called me [last] Tuesday,” said Kyle Kraus, a right-handed pitcher out of Portland University. “I’ve always wanted to play baseball professionally and to get the opportunity to take that next step and potentially make it to the big leagues is big.”
Kraus, a seventh round selection, went 7-6 with a 2.03 ERA and walked only 11 batters in 111 innings during his senior season. His 27 career wins is a Pilots record.
Fellow right-hander Justin Haley, a junior from Fresno State selected in the sixth round, did his best to stay calm in the face of normal draft day anxieties.
“I was hoping I was going to get drafted that day. I had been in contact with the Red Sox a little bit,” said Haley. “I think most of it was trying to stay calm. It’s a little bit hectic hoping you go early and then not knowing really.
“My little brother and I played ‘Go Fish’ at the dinner table while the draft was going on to kind of keep my mind off of it. He beat me.”
Haley went 7-4 with a 3.28 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings in his final season with the Bulldogs.
Another new arm in the mix is left-hander Dylan Chavez, who was snapped up in the 14th round.
“I knew I was going to get drafted that day and I had a pretty good idea that it would be the Red Sox because I talked to them before,” said Chavez who is eager to get back at it. “You want to be out here as soon as possible and start getting ready to play. It’s a different game at this level. You want to start gaining that experience.”
In his only season at Ole Miss, Chavez worked mostly out of the bullpen and compiled a 3-4 record with one save, a 4.66 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings. He also pitched for Saint Mary’s College and American River Community College.
First baseman Nathan Minnich brings a hulking presence to the positional side of the roster. The 6’3”, 240-pounder from Shepherd University is looking to keep momentum in his corner after a stellar senior season.
“I think it’s better to get in here right away,” said Minnich who batted .487 with 21 home runs and 72 RBIs in 52 games as a senior. “I had 3 to 4 days after the draft off, but still [worked out], and once we got here everything was thrown right back into the mix and you get that baseball back into your blood.”
It was also announced today that supplemental first-rounder Pat Light (37th overall), will be the seventh member of the 2012 class to join the Spinners ranks. The right-handed pitcher from Monmouth University posted an 8-3 record with a 2.40 ERA as a junior.
Right-handed pitcher Mike Augliera (5th round) out of Binghamton University and shortstop Mike Miller (9th round) from Cal Poly, are the two other players from the class of 2012 on Lowell’s initial roster. Augliera went 23-17 with a 3.95 ERA in his four-year record with Binghamton. Miller, sure-handed fielder, batter .354 in his senior season with Cal Poly and was the Alaska Baseball League Player of the Year in 2011.
The Spinners host the Connecticut Tigers for two games on Monday, June 18th and Tuesday the 19th, both games starting at 7:05 p.m.
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