On Day 2, Sox get 'advanced hitter' in Netzer

UNC Charlotte 2B solid overall player; club also drafts Wren's son

June 13th, 2017

BOSTON -- The Red Sox opened Day 2 of the Draft by selecting the polished left-handed bat of UNC Charlotte junior second baseman Brett Netzer, who didn't get drafted out of high school three years ago.

"it happens a lot with guys that aren't particularly tooled up," said Red Sox vice president of amateur scouting Mike Rikard. "If you look back at guys like , , those guys were undrafted out of high school too. Seager, obviously, he's a guy that really started to grow into his power as a Major League hitter. I'm not saying that's what's going to happen in this case, but when you kind of rub the crystal ball, you hope they're similar type guys at the same stage."

In his junior year, Netzer started 58 games and batted .342 (80-for-234) with 16 doubles, four triples, and five home runs en route to All-Conference USA Second Team honors. He drew 29 walks and 27 strikeouts, posting a .425 on-base percentage with 50 runs scored. A native of Tega Clay, S.C., Netzer hit .351 (208-for-593) with a .428 on-base percentage in 152 games over three years with UNC Charlotte.

"The Red Sox are getting a guy that's going to work his tail off, and he's going to show up every day and compete," said UNC Charlotte head coach Loren Hibbs. "And he's a left-handed hitter who really has a feel for where the barrel is at. He's a guy that's got a great approach offensively and I think is just going to keep getting better as time goes on."

"He's an advanced hitter," said Rikard. "We like his approach, we like his swing mechanics. He checks all the boxes in terms of things we look for from a hitter. We're hoping there's some more power as he kind of continues to mature into his swing. We had very good bat grades on him across the board. He's a good defender at second base and has intangibles and instincts and he's just a good baseball player."

:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::

Here is a round-by-round breakdown of Boston's other selections on Day 2:

Round 4 (131st overall), Jake Thompson, RHP, Oregon State

When the Red Sox selected Thompson, he became the third member of his college team -- and second pitcher -- to go in this year's Draft. Thompson vaulted to the top of the rotation down the stretch for a loaded team that is headed to Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series. His fastball gets to the mid 90s and is complemented by an above-average slider. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound junior also has a changeup that is improving.

Thompson has been dominant in his junior season, going 14-0 with a 1.52 ERA. Picking a Beaver worked well for the Red Sox in the past, as was part of two World Series-winning teams in Boston.

There is a dilemma of whether Thompson winds up as a starter or reliever.

"We'll have to kind of determine how we're going to choose to develop him," said Rikard. "He's a guy we think has a chance to start but he also could get on a pretty quick path as a reliever so that will be something that we sit down and make a determination on at some point.

"He really competes. He's got a good delivery. He's kind of a sinker/slider guy, runs his fastball up to 96 [mph] with good sink, he gets to both sides of the plate with it. He's got a good breaking ball. A lot to like."

Round 5 (161st overall), Alex Scherff, RHP, Colleyville Heritage High School (Texas)

The electric high school senior has a scholarship to Texas A&M, but he certainly gives the impression of someone looking forward to joining the Red Sox. In a tweet shortly after he was drafted on Wednesday, Sherff wrote, "See you soon, Boston." He also posted some pictures from a pre-Draft workout at Fenway Park.

Red Sox like Texas HS righty Scherff's upside

Scherff possesses one of the top changeups in high school, and he has a mid 90s fastball to go with it. A couple of years ago, Sherff was in the high 80s, but he improved his conditioning and lost 30-40 pounds. Scherff, listed at 6-foot-2 and 209 pounds, has been clocked at 98 mph. Improvement of his breaking ball could be key to his progression in pro baseball.

Round 6 (191st overall), Zach Schellenger, RHP, Seton Hall

The hard-throwing Schellenger became the fourth righty the Red Sox took in their first six picks. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound junior is a reliever with some closing experience. He displayed a fastball in the mid to upper 90s while posting a 1.33 ERA in the Cape Cod League last summer, but Schellenger pitched mainly in the low 90s for Seton Hall this season. Schellenger's slider is also a big weapon and his changeup is an evolving pitch.

Seton Hall picks have worked out well for the Red Sox before. They took Mo Vaughn in the first round of the 1989 Draft and John Valentin in the fifth round in '88.

"We'll continue to keep him in the bullpen and he's a guy that's got really good stuff," said Rikard. "He's been really dominant at times. He had an extraordinary Cape Cod League last summer. We'll probably challenge him at a pretty good pace early if he comes in healthy and shows he's ready for it."

Round 7 (221st overall), Tyler Esplin, OF, IMG Academy

The Lake Bluff, Ill., native has a compact swing from the left side and has demonstrated power in high school. Esplin had the unique opportunity to play for a three-time Major League All-Star in former Reds third baseman Chris Sabo, who is the varsity coach at IMG. At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Esplin is said to move well for his size. As a senior, he batted .432 with seven doubles, two triples, four homers and a 1.251 OPS.

"We found Tyler to be a really advanced kid for a high school hitter," said Rikard. "He does a lot of things we look for as far as his at-bats and using the whole field and driving the ball to the opposite field with authority."

Round 8 (251st overall), Zach Sterry, 1B Oakland University

The power-hitting first baseman and left-handed hitter clubbed 13 homers while hitting .346 before missing the final 11 games of his senior season with a broken hand. The 5-foot-11, 230-pounder throws right-handed but is known for his bat. He led Oakland University, based just outside of Detroit, in nearly every hitting category this season.

Round 9 (281st overall), Tanner Nishioka, 2B, Pomona-Pitzer College

The college senior from Hawaii was a three-sport star in high school, and he punted for the freshman team in his first year in college. A right-handed hitter and thrower, Nishioka played all over the diamond for Division 3 Pomona-Pitzer, which is in Claremont, Calif., and he was a neuroscience major.

"It's Division 3, but he's really excelled as far as his performance goes," Rikard said. "We like his versatility. Our scout Jim Woodward really talked a lot of good things about his character and intangibles to play the game and some of those things."

Round 10 (311st overall), Jordan Wren, OF, Georgia Southern

The Red Sox capped the Day 2 of the Draft with the selection of this left-handed-hitting and throwing outfielder, who transferred to Georgia Southern for his final two seasons. He is the son of Red Sox senior vice president of player personnel Frank Wren. The Red Sox took Jordan Wren in the 36th round last year, but he is all but certain to sign this time now that his college career is over. Though Wren's batting average dropped from .285 as a junior to .268 as a senior, his on-base percentage rose from .350 to .383 and he doubled his home-run total from three to six.

"He's somebody we've gotten to know for obvious reasons," Rikard said. "It was a really cool thing to be able to select him. He was actually here in our room with us because he's in town and Frank was here and his mom was here, so it was just a really neat thing to be able to select him today."

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 12 p.m. ET.