Red Sox agree with 10 undrafted FAs (source)

June 15th, 2020

The Red Sox didn’t waste any time building off their four picks in last week’s Draft.

As of Monday afternoon, Boston amateur scouting director Paul Toboni and his staff reached agreements with 10 non-drafted free agents, confirmed through a source. The club hasn’t confirmed the signings, but they will become official once the players pass physicals.

This year, the Draft was consolidated to five rounds rather than the usual 40. As of 9 a.m. Sunday, teams were eligible to sign any non-drafted free agent for $20,000.

Toboni and his team prioritized pitching, snagging seven right-handers to go along with an infielder and two catchers.

Here is a look at the signees:

Jacinto Arredondo, RHP, University of Tampa
The closer was a hard-throwing weapon in the late innings in Division 2 and possessed as fastball that can reach the mid-90s. His ERA over the last two seasons was 1.95.

Jordan DiValerio, RHP, St. Joseph’s
A starter for St. Joseph’s the last two seasons, DiValerio was considered to be one of the best college righties in the country ahead of the Draft. During the shortened 2020 season, DiValerio had a 2.38 ERA in four starts, and at the time the season was stopped, his 33 strikeouts were tied for the lead in the Atlantic 10.

“Our kids played so well behind him because they knew that Jordan had done everything to be prepared to help us win,” St. Joseph’s head coach Fritz Hamburg said in a story posted on the university’s website. “That's the biggest compliment a player can get from their teammates, and Jordan earned that over the course of his career on Hawk Hill.”

Graham Hoffman, RHP, University of South Florida
Hoffman had Tommy John surgery during his sophomore season, but looked strong in six relief appearances this season, notching six strikeouts over six innings.

Jake MacKenzie, INF, Fordham
The Red Sox have snagged a bona fide speedster in McKenzie, who stole 84 bases in 133 games over his three-year collegiate career. His 43 steals in 2019 ranked fourth in Division 1. Before this season was shut down, McKenzie had a .356 average and a .958 OPS. His experience in the Cape Cod League, where he hit .291 in 30 games for Bourne in '19, should help his development.

Cole Milam, RHP, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville
Milam was impressed that the Red Sox made him such a priority.

"I heard from a few organizations, but Boston showed the most interest," Milam said in an article on the university’s website announcing his signing. "There was a chance they were going to draft me in the fifth round, but free agency opened at 9 [Sunday morning] and Boston was on the phone at 9:15."

In 23 appearances over two seasons for the Cougars, Milan had six saves and 71 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings, a ratio of 16.67 per nine innings.

Henry Nunez-Rijo, RHP, Puerto Rico High (Guaynabo, P.R.)
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound high schooler topped out at 93 mph at a showcase event last October, while also relying on a strong curve and changeup. He had a commitment to San Jacinto Community College in Texas before signing with the Red Sox.

Juan Montero, C, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy (Guarabo, P.R.)
The Red Sox need more catching in their system, and Montero is an impressive athlete known for his bat speed. If his defense develops, this signing could be a real find. Interestingly, current Red Sox catcher Christian Vázquez also came up through the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy.

Jose Garcia, C/1B, Florida International
Garcia is definitely an offensive-minded catcher, who also plays first base. He was the Conference USA Hitter of the Week for the week of Feb. 17, 2020, when the right-handed hitter went 7-for-12 with six RBIs, six runs scored, two doubles and a homer against Fordham in the opening weekend of the season. He was hitting .311 when the season was shut down.

Merfy Andrew, RHP, St. Thomas University
Andrew ended his college career in impressive fashion, throwing a complete game with 13 strikeouts against the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Brian Van Belle, RHP, Miami
Van Belle weighed 140 pounds out of high school and didn’t draw much attention from major colleges. Then, in his first year at Broward College, he underwent Tommy John surgery. After recovering, Van Belle worked hard to become a pitcher that major schools and Major League teams would covet. He spent his final two collegiate seasons at Miami and was the Friday night starter this year, going 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA in four starts. Van Belle isn’t a hard thrower, but the 187-pound righty excels due to his strong command. In the season opener against Rutgers on Feb. 14, Van Belle tossed 10 strikeouts over six shutout innings.