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06/11/09 11:55 PM ET

Boston's picks based on talent, not need

Twenty right-handers taken; top pick a speedy center fielder

BOSTON -- Jason McLeod emerged from the Fenway Park war room for the third and final time on Thursday afternoon.

The Red Sox's director of amateur scouting had one thing on his mind. And for the first time in three days, it wasn't Draft-related.

"I'm tired," McLeod said.

Exhaustion is a familiar feeling this time of year for McLeod, who oversaw a First-Year Player Draft -- completed Thursday -- in which the Red Sox selected 50 players, some of whom will surely don a Boston uniform one day.

Of the 50 picks, 26 were pitchers (20 right-handers, six left-handers). The Sox also drafted 11 infielders, 11 outfielders and two catchers. They took 27 high school players and 23 from the college ranks.

An organization that prioritizes talent over positional need, Boston put its Draft strategy to work early by making Puerto Rican outfielder Reymond Fuentes its first pick with the 28th overall selection. For a team that already boasts a speedy center fielder and potential future All-Star in Jacoby Ellsbury, stockpiling talent is the bottom line.

"If you look at our organization, the outfield is probably an area of strength for us throughout the farm system," McLeod said. "Yet we just winded up getting outfielders this year because they were the best guys there when we were picking."

McLeod offered the same explanation for the Sox's sizable pitching crop, a group headlined by Texas A&M right-hander Alex Wilson.

"We simply wanted to get the best players we could," McLeod said. "You go into every Draft wanting to get pitching. The old saying is you can never have enough. We didn't necessarily say we needed to get more pitching in this Draft, but we were very happy to end up getting the pitchers that we did."

It's no secret that the quality of Boston's farm system has improved drastically since general manager Theo Epstein's arrival in November 2002.

Red Sox -- Top five selections
28CFReymond FuentesFernando Callejo HS
77RHPWilliam WilsonTexas A&M U
107SSDavid RenfroeSouth Panola HS
138CFJeremy HazelbakerBall St U
168LFSeth SchwindenhammerLimestone Community HS
Complete Red Sox Draft results >

"When Theo first came over here, they felt at the time that the system did have some needs," McLeod said. "That's why you saw a lot of college-heavy drafts. Even my first year here, in 2004, we went college-heavy early and were fortunate enough to hit on [Dustin] Pedroia.

"But we eventually got to a point where we thought we had stabilized the system somewhat. And from 2005 through now, we've just really tried to focus on the players we think would be the best for the organization."

With another Draft in the books, all McLeod and the Red Sox can do now is sit back and watch as their selections embark on a developmental journey that will hopefully conclude in the big leagues.

"You're always pretty excited after a Draft," McLeod said. "It's fun. You spend the better part of 12 months scouting these kids and preparing for these three days.

"The next couple of years will tell how we actually did. But for now, we're really excited."

John Barone is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.