The Boston Red Sox entered Monday’s 2010 First-Year Player Draft with three of the top 50 overall picks, and according to MLB Network analysts and other draft authorities, Theo Epstein & Co. acquired both some excellent collegiate talent and at least one potential headache.

After signing Type-A free agents John Lackey and Marco Scutaro, the Red Sox surrendered the 29th and 34th overall picks to the Los Angeles Angels and Toronto Blue Jays, respectively.

However, by offering arbitration to reliever Billy Wagner and outfielder Jason Bay, the Red Sox actually leapfrogged in the draft selection and acquired the 20th, 36th, and 39th overall picks.


Round 1: 20th Overall Pick

In the First Round—utilizing the 20th overall pick they earned when Type-A free agent and former Mets closer Billy Wagner signed with the Atlanta Braves—the Red Sox selected Ball State standout Kolbrin Vitek.

A second baseman, the Ohio-born Vitek bats right and is listed at 6’3”, 195 lbs. According to MLB Network’s Peter Gammons, the Sox plan to convert the potentially powerful Vitek into a third baseman—a position the Sox clearly needed to address looking beyond Adrian Beltre.

Known for near “perfect fundamentals” and a “great natural swing,” Vitek could round out an impressive Red Sox infield of the future should he live up to his potential and team up with Jose Iglesias, Dustin Pedroia, and Kevin Youkilis within the next few years.

In three years at Muncie’s Ball State, Vitek has batted .359 with 35 homers in 569 at bats. His .664 slugging percentage and .440 on-base percentage suggest that Vitek could become a patient and potentially powerful slugger.

Although he has pitched to the tune of a 4.71 ERA and a 13-8 record, Vitek does not project as a gunslinger at the professional level.


Sandwich Round: 36th Overall Pick

In the Sandwich—or Supplemental—Round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, the Red Sox picked twice, first at 36 overall.

With the 36th pick—acquired as compensation for the New York Mets’ signing of Jason Bay—the Red Sox selected Tennessee-native Bryce Brentz, who was ironically heavily scouted by none other than the Mets.

At 6’1” and 185 lbs, this Middle Tennessee State University outfielder projects with decent power, driven mainly by what MLB Network calls his “strong lower body.”

Originally drafted out of South Doyle High School by the Cleveland Indians during the 30th Round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, Brentz has hit .348 with a .636 slugging percentage and a .440 on-base percentage this year.

With similar numbers to those of Kolbrin Vitek, Brentz and his selection start to paint a picture of a 2010 Red Sox organization intent on drafting some high-upside power hitting.

Sandwich Round: 39th Overall Pick

When the Atlanta Braves signed Billy Wagner, the Red Sox actually earned not just the 20th but also the 39th overall pick as compensation. That’s not a bad haul when one considers that the Red Sox merely sent journeyman outfielder Chris Carter to New York to acquire Wagner in what amounted to an ill-timed salary dump for the Metropolitans.

As the 39th pick arrived, the Red Sox must have counted both their blessings and pennies when they realized that former top-ranked pitcher and current Scott Boras client Anthony Renaudo remained on the board.

At one point, the towering Renaudo—he’s 6’7” and 230 lbs—was regarded as the best pitcher at the college level and was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 11th Round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

Renaudo remained so ranked until an elbow injury and a series of dramatically poor performances saw his standing plummet and his scouting reports grow increasingly uncertain.

Realizing that the previously dominant LSU hurler could fall significantly during this draft, Theo Epstein himself flew out to see him pitch, according to Gammons.

Should he regain his once unhittable form, Renaudo could prove a sagacious steal for the Red Sox’ front office.

However, Renaudo is represented by Scott Boras, and Boras may not be willing to accept 39th pick money for his slightly diminished client. Hammering out a deal could be tough if Boras and Epstein butt heads.

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