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Sox draft HS slugger Casas, add OF Decker

June 4, 2018

BOSTON -- On a recent visit to Fenway Park, left-handed slugger Triston Casas took a look around the historic yard and imagined his opposite-field stroke doing serious damage at some point in the future.• Draft Tracker: Follow every Red Sox Draft pickThat vision came closer to becoming a reality on

BOSTON -- On a recent visit to Fenway Park, left-handed slugger Triston Casas took a look around the historic yard and imagined his opposite-field stroke doing serious damage at some point in the future.
• Draft Tracker: Follow every Red Sox Draft pick
That vision came closer to becoming a reality on Monday, when the Red Sox made the 18-year-old corner infielder the 26th overall pick in the 2018 Draft.
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"I'm glad the way the board fell and I feel like Boston's a great fit for me, and I couldn't be happier with the way turned out, to be honest," said Casas.
The South Florida native became intrigued by Boston when the Red Sox had him in for a pre-Draft visit.
"It was a great experience, going to Boston. It was my first time in Boston and in Massachusetts, so I really enjoyed my time there," said Casas. "I really loved the city and I love the build of it and I love the way that Fenway fit right in the middle of it, just like another building.
"I'm really excited and I can't be more happy with the way today turned out. I feel like the park suits my swing well, and hopefully I get up to the big league club soon and make an impact."
According to scouts, Casas has as much raw power as any high schooler in this year's Draft. The lefty has a 6-4, 238-pound frame with projectable power. He has a commitment to the University of Miami. Casas played third base at American Heritage (Fla.) High School, but could wind up as a first baseman at the professional level.

"The one thing that has always stuck out in Triston's case is his opposite-field power," said Red Sox director of amateur scouting Mike Rikard. "He can hit the ball to left-center as far as many other right-handed hitters can when they pull the ball. That's always been a big thing in scouting him. He's got a very professional approach. Although he is a power hitter, he does have a nice plan at the plate, and he was able to make adjustments, and just as importantly, he can use the whole field very well for a young hitter."
The Red Sox took another high schooler with their second pick Monday night, snagging outfielder Nick Decker of Seneca High School in Tabernacle, N.J., with the 64th overall pick.
"[Decker] actually played for a team that was coached by our area scout Ray Fagnant, so we had a personal-relationship advantage with Ray getting to know him, being in the dugout with him and so forth, and Nick's a very strong kid," said Rikard. "He's got a real, strong, powerful swing. We'll start him in center field. He's got instincts, and he's a pretty good runner. We're excited. Really, probably his best tool is his power, so a power-hitting center fielder is what we have."
As for Casas, he liked the fact the Red Sox drafted him as a third baseman.
"It means a lot," Casas said. "I worked really hard on making myself more versatile. I'm happy that they're going to give me a shot over there and hopefully I can play pretty well."

But Casas' bat is his calling card. He has a mature hitting approach for his age, and is known for his natural ability to create backspin.
"I've kind of had that ability ever since I started playing baseball," said Casas. "It was preached to me at a young age to hit the ball to all fields and try to become a complete hitter, because I knew I was going to become big and strong, so at that point it was just having the ability to barrel up balls and the balls that I got a little backspin on happened to go out of the yard, so it was instilled to me at a young age to try to become a complete hitter and let the power come."
Rikard saw that power come to life during the pre-Draft visit to Fenway.
"He looked good. One of his biggest strengths is his power," said Rikard. "Typically in those workout settings, it's more about a last opportunity to spend time with these kids and get to know them on a little bit more of an intimate level. We typically do some batting practice, and he shows very well in that area, because his power is really good."

Casas made a big impression with USA Baseball, winning three gold medals and leading the 18U squad to its fourth consecutive world championship in 2017.
In his senior year of high school, Casas slashed .385/.545/.884 with seven homers, six doubles, six triples, 31 runs and 35 RBIs in 78 at-bats.

The Red Sox's second-round pick, Decker, is also a left-handed hitter, and is having a terrific senior season, batting .492 (29-for-59) with five doubles, two triples, seven home runs, and 24 RBIs in 2018. His team is still alive in the playoffs and will play in the state semifinals on Friday.

The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

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