BOSTON -- The Red Sox stayed in their own backyard to make their first pick of the 2011 draft, selecting UConn right-handed pitcher Matt Barnes, a native of Bethel, Conn., with the 19th overall selection.
Barnes, who turns 21 on June 17, is 6-feet, 4-inches, 203 pounds with a fastball in the 91-93 range. He posted a record of 11-4 with a 1.62 ERA in 16 starts spanning 116 23 innings this season for the Huskies, who are playing Monday night in the regionals of the NCAA tournament.
Barnes last pitched Friday against Coastal Carolina, taking the loss, in the Huskies first game of the NCAA tournament at Clemson. He went 4 13 innings, giving up seven runs on nine hits and three walks with six strikeouts.
Barnes has 241 career strikeouts, just two behind UConn all-time leader Ed Baird, who set the record in 1966-68.
"You can see he hasn't quite filled out yet," UConn coach Jim Penders told the Hartford Courant last week. "Matt has got all the tools. Great body. Great arm strength. Most of all, he has got a great mentality. He has a mature approach on the mound. He has developed great command of his fastball. He can go both sides of the plate with it. It's pretty dominant. He can get it up to 98 mph. His breaking pitches have come a long way, too."
With their second pick, No. 26 overall, the Red Sox took switch-hitting high school catcher Blake Swihart out of New Mexico.
Swihart, at 6-feet, 175 pounds, turned 18 on April 3. He was ranked by Baseball American as the 17th best prospect in the draft. He has commited to the Universtiy of Texas, which could raise his price for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox took a tall (6-feet, 6-inches, 190 pounds) left-handed high school pitcher from California with their third pick, 36th overall (first in the compensation round). Henry Owens, who turns 19 on July 21 from Edison High in Southern California, has a 90-92-mph fastball. He also throws a curveball, slider, and changeup.
With their fourth and final pick on the first day of the night, the Red Sox took outfielder Jackie Bradley from the University of South Carolina. Bradley, who is 5-feet-10, 180 pounds, turned 21 on April 19. A wrist injury that required surgery slowed the left-handed hitter at the plate this season. He hit just .259 in 37 games while playing centerfield for the Gamecocks this season.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen