Sometimes it pays to be terrible.
The Boston Red Sox‘ historically bad 2012 season put them in a position completely unfamiliar to them: picking in the seventh position of the MLB draft. Had the Red Sox just been a mediocre team last year, they would have had to settle for a more mediocre pick later in the first round. Instead, their 69-93 record put them in a position to take the top left-handed pitching prospect in the draft, Trey Ball.
I, for one, am thrilled with this choice. Although many have suggested that Ball was chosen too early, he is the ideal selection for this franchise. Young pitching is the building block that championship teams are made of. The Red Sox are currently being carried by their 2005 first-round pick, Clay Buchholz.
The case can be made that the Red Sox should have drafted a position player. Jacoby Ellsbury and Jackie Bradley Jr. were both first-round picks. But so were David Murphy, Rick Aasadorian, and Matt Murton. Ultimately, investing in a young arm is more likely to pay dividends down the road.
According to GM Ben Cherrington, they decided to take the best player available, and that person was a 6-foot-6 high school stud from Indiana with quite possibly the awesomest name in the history of sports. Ball has dominated at the high school level with a fastball reaching 94 mph, an effective change up and a surprisingly serviceable curveball that he only began throwing nine months ago.
Five years from now, Jon Lester will be reaching his mid 30s. If he is still effective at that point, he will be reaching the end of his career and the Red Sox will need a young pitcher to step up and join Buchholz as the horses for the staff. That player will be Ball. Nice job, Red Sox.