Top 50 Quotebook: Jason McLeod (Part Three)

In compiling the third annual Diehard Top 50, we spoke to numerous Red Sox players and executives, including director of amateur scouting Jason McLeod. Here are his thoughts on Anthony Rizzo, Chris Province, Adam Mills and David Mailman. For the complete write-ups of the players in the top 50, please subscribe to today!

(Part three of four)

Brock Huntzinger, P:
Jason McLeod: The physical attributes—strong, broad, durable frame. I liked his toughness. I like the fact that he was one of those guys who really throws his fastball down in the zone, pitches with his fastball. We think he can be a guy that pitches in the low 90s, get it up to the mid-90s at times. But for a high school kid, he really competes and he pitched down in the zone commanding his fastball for strikes. And that's something that we really place a high emphasis on. Similar to Mike Bowden in high school—we knew Michael Bowden could pitch with his fastball. A little different in that Mike had more off-speed stuff at that time. Brock will definitely have to work on that. But [the Sox] just like him physically, like how he competes with a fastball. Another kid we really like being on the mound.

Daniel Bard, P:
Jason McLeod: Obviously disappointing for Daniel—I think disappointing for a lot of us because we know that there's more in there than what we saw in Lancaster and at Greenville, for that matter. But I was very happy because I did get to go to Hawaii and spend a lot of time talking with him. And he performed so well out there—the walks were still higher than we'd like, but seeing the confidence factor, seeing how he was attacking hitters. That's what I was more impressed with. When I left, his mindset was good. He was feeling very confident about what he was doing on the mound. And I'm not sure what the future holds, what we're going to do with him starting or relieving, but it was just good to see that he was able to leave 2007 feeling good about himself having success in Hawaii against strong competition. He was really excited for spring training [this year]. Being a first-round guy and having the exposure that he's had, that's tough on anybody, what he went through.

Jason Place, OF:
Jason McLeod: I didn't expect the strikeouts to be that high, but we knew, being right-handed and having some of the mechanical issues that he had even as a high school kid, we knew there were going to be struggles, without a doubt. But Jason was a kid [who] went to the park, he worked hard everyday. I think there was definitely a learning experience involved for him last year and he's going to have to continue to work. He knows that the strikeout rate was high in Hawaii and he knows that he's got a long road ahead of him. But that's one thing I always talk to him about: You're 19 years old. We're not expecting you to get there next year or the following year. You've got another 1,500 at-bats to really work on things. He's an incredible defensive player—he played centerfield all year and he's a plus defender in centerfield. He's a big strong guy. So there's definitely work to be done. Hopefully he can cut the strikeout rate down, which obviously will hopefully show a positive reflection in the offensive numbers. But yeah, we expected him to struggle.

(Part four of our quotebook with McLeod will appear next week)

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