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Red Sox go college-heavy with picks on Day 2

MLB.com

BOSTON -- After drafting two high school players in the first and second rounds of the 2018 MLB Draft, the Red Sox turned to collegiate players in Day Two, taking three pitchers, two catchers, two infielders and an outfielder from colleges across the country -- all of whom were upperclassmen.

Round 3: RHP Durbin Feltman, Texas Christian University
When he was a sophomore in high school, Feltman technically was not a pitcher, but Oak Ridge High School baseball coach Michael Pirtle couldn't keep his catcher off the mound. Feltman's arm was just too strong.

BOSTON -- After drafting two high school players in the first and second rounds of the 2018 MLB Draft, the Red Sox turned to collegiate players in Day Two, taking three pitchers, two catchers, two infielders and an outfielder from colleges across the country -- all of whom were upperclassmen.

Round 3: RHP Durbin Feltman, Texas Christian University
When he was a sophomore in high school, Feltman technically was not a pitcher, but Oak Ridge High School baseball coach Michael Pirtle couldn't keep his catcher off the mound. Feltman's arm was just too strong.

"By the time he got to be a senior, pretty much he would go from catcher to pitcher," said Pirtle, who coached Feltman for three years. "Which was pretty tough, and we didn't want to do it. But he was so good, and his arm was so good, that he was lighting up the place."

Feltman's phenomenal throwing -- and his versatility -- runs in the family. His older brother, R.J., pitched in high school and played for Texas A&M's club team. His younger brother, Jett, a freshman at Oak Ridge High School, also switches between pitching and catching.

Video: Draft Report: Durbin Feltman, College pitcher

But to Pirtle, what set Feltman apart, both on the field and in the classroom, was his work ethic -- bolstered by friendly competition with his high school teammate, Luken Baker, who played with Feltman at TCU and was drafted by the Cardinals in the second round on Monday.

"Luken and Durbin are like brothers," he said.

Round 4: C Kole Cottam, Kentucky
Kole Cottam chose 13 for his jersey number for a reason. That's how many times he has had surgery on his right eye.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Cottam had congenital melanocytic nevus, a large mole that increases one's risk for melanoma and manifests as a birthmark in an estimated 1 percent of babies worldwide.

But the surgeries didn't stop Cottam from excelling in baseball and in academics, graduating as Knoxville Catholic High School's president of the National Honor Society. Then again, how could he be deterred? Baseball is in his blood.

Both his father, Jeff Cottam, and his uncle, Danny Cottam, played baseball at Memphis. And don't forget Jeff Cottam's collegiate handball career. His mother, Kori Cottam, played basketball at Memphis, and his younger brother, Kyle Cottam, is on Clemson's golf team.

Round 5: RHP Thad Ward, University of Central Florida
With the bases loaded and no outs, UCF head coach Greg Lovelady knew who he would turn to in the bullpen -- Ward.

"This year, he was awesome," Lovelady said. "He was a guy that we put in the most stressful situations every single game."

Ward's father, Steve Ward, ran track at LSU. Thad's brother played baseball and basketball at Averett University, and his sister played volleyball at Florida Southern. Lovelady described Ward as an energetic, fun-loving presence in the clubhouse, but all that changed when he stepped on the mound.

"He just flipped the switch," Lovelady said.

Ward wasn't always the go-to pitcher under pressure. Lovelady said Ward improved this season after working with pitching coach Justin Parker to build his mental game. He focused on slowing the game down, attacking hitters, and most importantly, trusting his pitches. In his final season for UCF, the hard work paid off.

"It was just remarkable how tough and resilient he was in those situations," Lovelady said.

Round 6: OF Devlin Granberg, Dallas Baptist
When he met with his players mid-season, Dallas Baptist head coach Dan Heefner was amazed by what he kept hearing, again and again.

"Half our team was struggling in this class and was like, 'Yeah I'm struggling in this class, but Devlin is tutoring me,'" Heefner said. "And I was like, 'How does this guy have time for this?'"

A two-time Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete First Team selection, Granberg helped his teammates in business, exercise, physiology and other classes. But that is just Granberg. To Heefner, it seemed that Granberg never focused on himself.

"He's amazing," Heefner said. "Obviously a tremendous hitter … he's just a tremendous teammate, he's a 4.0 student, great leader. There's literally nothing else we could've asked for Devlin Granberg, on or off the field."

Round 7: 2B Jarren Duran, Long Beach State
Duran was prepared before he even stepped on the collegiate baseball field because of what he did off it.

"He was very, very physical before he walked into our place," Long Beach State head coach Troy Buckley said.

Whether it be recovery, strength training, speed or his diet, Duran was committed to building his physical fitness, and his discipline allowed him to make an immediate impact at Long Beach State. Buckley said Duran's speed made him particularly fun to watch on the field.

While Duran was not Buckley's most talkative player, he made his presence known through his competitiveness. And Buckley was impressed by how seriously Duran took performing on the field.

"He really liked to compete," Buckley said. "He loved playing, and that will be really evident for Boston. They'll see that right away."

Round 8: C Elih Marrero, St. Thomas University
Marrero and his father, Eli, went to the same high school, Coral Gables, and played the same position there, catcher. Now, the pair have another compelling connection -- the MLB Draft.

In 1993, Eli Marrero was drafted in the third round by the Cardinals. Now, his son starts his career similarly, with the Red Sox.

Eli Marrero was a catcher when drafted, but switched to outfield and first base after surviving thyroid cancer in 2000. Between 1997 and 2006, he played in 724 games.

Eli Marrero started his coaching career as a batting coach for the Billings Mustangs in 2011 and is now a manager for the Daytona Tortugas, a Class A Advanced team for the Reds.

Round 9: P Brian Brown, North Carolina State
N.C. State head coach Elliott Avent is going to miss seeing Brown sitting in a chair on his heels, his back pinned against the locker, mind wrapped around baseball.

Brown had a quiet, unassuming presence in the dugout, but he spoke with authority. Avent said that even if Brown wasn't pitching, he stayed involved, offering pointers to push his teammates.

"The team has so much respect for him that they understood that if he said something, it was probably accurate," Avent said.

Avent was impressed by Brown's independence, especially as he got older. Brown took ownership, pored over scouting reports and grew comfortable calling his own game.

"He's the guy we depended on the most, and as that became more obvious to everybody, then a certain responsibility goes with that, and with that responsibility, he accepted it."

Round 10: 2B Grant Williams, Kennesaw State
On top of his collegiate baseball career, Williams studied finance at Kennesaw State and graduated from business school in May.

The Dunwoody, Ga., native has two siblings -- Burke and Claire.

Blake Richardson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston.

Boston Red Sox