"One of the things we really kind of grew to like about his approach is he uses the opposite field very well," said Red Sox vice president of amateur scouting Mike Rikard. "Last summer in two of the major showcases, he hit a long home run in the East Coast showcase to the opposite field. In the Under Armour game in Wrigley, he also hit a ball off the left-field wall.
"That's something we really like to see from young hitters -- guys who can not only go the other way but also do so with authority. That was just one of the things that we really grew to like about Cole."
Brannen has many of the same skills as rookie Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi, who was drafted out of Arkansas two years ago.
"He'll stay in center field," Rikard said of Brannen. "We like a lot of things about his approach and swing. We were able to see him a lot in the summers. We really had a good comfort level that was developed through seeing him have successful at-bats against some of the better high school pitching in the country. We do see some power projection there, and he's a good runner -- a well above-average runner. He's really a five-tool player and we're pretty excited to get him."
At 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Brannen hit .439 (36-for-82) for Westfield as a senior in 2017, accumulating 23 doubles, three triples and five homers. He also scored 42 runs and stole 22 bases, drawing 26 walks and striking out 11 times.