Red Sox happy with first three picks in MLB Draft


Red Sox happy with first three picks in MLB Draft

The financial structure and signing bonuses may be different, but when it comes to the baseball end of the first-year draft, the Red Sox stayed with a traditional approach, focusing on the middle of the diamond and the pitcher's mound.

The Sox had three of the first 37 picks in the first round and sandwich round and used them to select shortstop Deven Marrero No. 24 from Arizona State, lefthander Brian Johnson from the University of Florida at No. 31 and righty Pat Light from Monmouth University at No. 37.

Marrero profiles as a superb defender, but there are questions about his bat after his average plummeted from .397 as a freshman to .315 as a sophomore and .284 this season.

Still, the Red Sox, who scouted him in high school and extensively in the Cape Cod League, aren't worried about his offense.

"We've gotten a chance to know him," said Amiel Sawdaye, the Red Sox' scouting director. "He's got a flat swing and he sprays the ball around the field. I don't think the offensive decline was much of a worry for us. I'm sure he expected to have a better year statistically, but it's not something that's a concern for us."

Marrero was the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year in the PAC-10 and made the conference's first-team All-Star team this year.

Johnson isn't overpowering, though he can hit 92 mph with his fastball. He has exceptional command and might be able to move up the minor league ladder quickly because of his secondary pitches.

"He has a repeatable delivery and throws strikes," said Sawdaye. "He's super competitive and (playing for a national power), someone who has pitched on the big stage."

Johnson also played first base and showed plus power at times which Sawdaye termed "intriguing. But he's definitely a pitcher for us."

Light, who was 20-0 in high school, is more of a classic power pitcher, with a big, lanky frame (6-foot-6, 210 pounds). He was 7-3 with a 2.81 ERA and struck out 87 in 86 innings while walking just 12 this season.

His fastball reached 97-98 in his junior year.

Sawdaye said the Red Sox, as a rule, like to select big pitches and both Johnson and Light fit that mold. Johnson is 6-foot-3, 230 pounds.

Both pitchers were selected with compensation picks awarded to the Red Sox for losing free agent reliever Jonathan Papelbon to the Philadelphia Phillies last November.

NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945


NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945

CHICAGO -- Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Series.

Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton KershawAnthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.

The drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off a wild celebration inside Wrigley Field, outside the ballpark and all over the city.

Seeking their first crown since 1908, manager Joe Maddon's team opens the World Series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948 - Cleveland and Cubs have the two longest title waits in the majors.

"This city deserves it so much," Rizzo said. "We got four more big ones to go, but we're going to enjoy this. We're going to the World Series. I can't even believe that."

All-everything Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

Deemed World Series favorites since opening day, the Cubs topped the majors with 103 wins to win the NL Central, then beat the Giants and Dodgers in the playoffs.

The Cubs overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers and won their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.

The eternal "wait till next year" is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure - the future is now.

"We're too young. We don't care about it," star slugger Kris Bryant said. "We don't look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We're enjoying it and our work's just getting started."

Hendricks pitched two-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings. Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.

The crowd joined in, chanting and serenading their team.

"Chicago!" shouted popular backup catcher David Ross.

The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.

And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn't allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when fan Steve Bartman deflected a foul ball.

Even as recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 times.

This time, no such ill luck.

Bryant had an RBI single and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.

Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth.

That was plenty for Hendricks, the major league ERA leader.

Hendricks left to a standing ovation after Josh Reddick singled with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hendricks allowed was a single by Andrew Toles on the game's first pitch.

Kershaw, dominant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs and seven hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 in the postseason.

The Dodgers haven't been to the World Series since winning in 1988.

Pitching on five days' rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 30 pitches in the first. Fowler led off with a double, and Bryant's single had the crowd shaking the 102-year-old ballpark.

They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo's fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly.

The Cubs added a run in the second when Addison Russell doubled to deep left and scored on a two-out single by Fowler.


Maddon benched slumping right fielder Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.

"Kershaw's pitching, so I wanted to get one more right-handed bat in the lineup, and also with Albert I don't feel like we're losing anything on defense," Maddon said. "I know Jason's a Gold Glover, but I think Albert, given an opportunity to play often enough would be considered a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder, too."

Heyward was 2 for 28 in the playoffs - 1 for 16 in the NLCS.


Kerry Wood, wearing a Ron Santo jersey, threw out the first pitch and actor Jim Belushi delivered the "Play Ball!" call before the game. Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and actor John Cusack were also in attendance. And Bulls great Scottie Pippen led the seventh-inning stretch.