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Red Sox go pitcher-heavy in 2017 Draft

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- Perhaps the Red Sox have found their much-coveted next wave of impactful arms from this year's Draft.

The bats have been developed in ample supply in recent years, from Mookie Betts to Xander Bogaerts to Jackie Bradley Jr. to Andrew Benintendi.

BOSTON -- Perhaps the Red Sox have found their much-coveted next wave of impactful arms from this year's Draft.

The bats have been developed in ample supply in recent years, from Mookie Betts to Xander Bogaerts to Jackie Bradley Jr. to Andrew Benintendi.

:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::

It has been a different story from the mound, however, as the Sox have had to go outside the organization in recent years to replenish their pitching.

That could soon change, with the hope that some of the selections of the last three days will be on regular display from the mound of Fenway Park in the coming years.

Red Sox top 30 prospects

In all, the Red Sox took 18 pitchers in the 40 rounds.

The emphasis on adding arms became apparent from the outset. The first pick the Sox took was Missouri right-hander Tanner Houck.

"We plan to develop him as a starter," said vice president of amateur scouting Mike Rikard. "That's the plan. The scouts on our staff have tremendous conviction that he's going to end up as a starter."

Overall, four of the first six selections by Rikard and his staff were right-handed pitchers.

Video: Draft 2017: Rikard on Houck's upside with Red Sox

Fourth-rounder Jake Thompson emerged into the ace of a loaded Oregon State team that is gearing up for the College World Series. Alex Scherff from Colleyville Heritage High School (Texas) had one of the best changeups in high school this season, and a fastball that can reach the upper 90s.

Seton Hall's Zach Schellenger has a big arm out of the bullpen. There should also be momentum from last year's Draft, when the Sox got ultra-talented lefty Jay Groome with the 12th overall pick.

"I'm pretty excited," said Rikard. "I think that we got some quality pitching. And guys that have stuff and guys that are ready to challenge pretty quickly. We have a couple of guys that have a chance to be starters and then the relievers have a chance to move pretty quickly. I like the blend of it. I'm confident we have a group of guys that have good makeup and character and winning attributes that will allow us to win some games one day."

The Red Sox are confident they found some position players who will help, particularly center fielder Cole Brannen (2nd round) and second baseman Brett Netzer (third round). They are both left-handed hitters with good bat control who should be able to take advantage of Fenway Park.

"We do see some power projection there with Cole, and he's a good runner -- a well above-average runner. He's really a five-tool player," said Rikard. "Brett is an advanced hitter. We like his approach, we like his swing mechanics. He checks all the boxes in terms of things we look for from a hitter."

Given that the Red Sox have traded their share of highly-coveted prospects in recent years to land the likes of Craig Kimbrel and Chris Sale, it isn't surprising that the club took 26 college players in this Draft. College players traditionally get to the Major Leagues quicker.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

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