Diehard Post-Draft Q&A: Jason McLeod

Power lefty Hagadone a surprise find for Sox at 55

Diehard spoke recently with Red Sox director of amateur scouting Jason McLeod, who oversaw the Sox' draft June 7-8. In part one of this premium Q&A, McLeod—who has broken down the draft process for Diehard readers in each of the last two years—discusses top picks Nick Hagadone and Ryan Dent and why the Sox were so willing to go young in this year's draft.

Diehard: With no pick until number 55, what were the first few hours of the draft like for you?

Jason McLeod: Slow and depressing [laughs]. No. It was long, obviously, and this year was televised. The time between picks in the first round—it seemed like we were sitting there for quite some time before we got around to 55. But we knew that going in and I thought we did a very good job of preparing for the draft. We were pleasantly surprised to have the players that we got [wanted] at 55 when we picked.

DH: What was it about Nick Hagadone and Ryan Dent that made you so happy to land them as late as you did?

JM: Nick, first of all, was a kid he was tough to see early being that he was closing originally for [Washington]. But [scout] John Booher was so high on him early on his makeup and his abilities. I was fortunate enough to catch him on a Sunday and we kept sending guys in there to see him. He was a guy we really hoped we would get, but he started throwing so well, we started thinking he was going to pitch himself out of contention for us. Being a big, strong, physical left-hander that can get it into the mid-90s with the power breaking pitch—usually, those guys don't last very long. So we were fortunate that in this draft, there were a couple of good college left-handers that, I think, kind of pushed him down to [the Sox]. We were very, like I said, pleasantly surprised that he was there.

Dent was a kid who really kind of came on late. [In the] fall season he really had a great tournament down there in Jupiter [Florida], playing on one of the better teams with wood bats. [He] was hitting all the top-flight pitching that was there. Ryan's a combination of ability and athleticism and we thought there was a chance that he would be there [when the Sox picked at no. 62]. So we were very happy to have both those guys on the board.

DH: Is there any other factor, aside from the deeper farm system, that has inspired the Sox to draft younger players the last two years?

JM: I think I alluded to it, and Theo [Epstein] mentioned it in a couple interviews that he's done: We're happy with where we're at with the system. Obviously, you can always make it better, We do feel that we're in a position now to take kids with a little more ceiling and a little more risk, if you want to call it that, out of the high school levels. Certainly, it's a tribute to what we've been able to do over the last few years, not only on our end [but with] Craig Shipley and the international staff. And then you see the amount of depth that we have no in the system at all levels. I think it provides us with opportunities to really go out and find undefined we think can provide an impact. On some college players or some guys that maybe have a little [less] ceiling—you know what you're going to get with them. You always want to add those players into the mix. I think a few years back, we felt like we had to [draft those players]. Now, we feel like we can add a little more risk, take a high [ceiling] guy.

(Part two of our Q&A with McLeod will appear Tuesday)

Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at diehardmag@yahoo.com. To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.

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