It was only a matter of time before Arizona State shortstop Deven Marrero heard his name called during the first round of today's 2012 Major League baseball draft. It may have taken a little longer than initially thought, but it was worth the wait.
With the 24th overall pick, the Boston Red Sox took the slick fielding 21-year old, making him, as Jeff Metcalfe notes, the first full-time shortstop taken in the first round in ASU's illustrious baseball history. It also potentially creates a future All-Sun Devil middle infield for the Sox, with former AL MVP Dustion Pedroia entrenched at second base.
His selection by the Sox marks an end to a terrific career as a Sun Devil.
As a freshman in 2010, Marrero hit .397 with 42 RBI to earn a spot on the Collegiate Baseball First Team Freshman All-American squad as well as Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention honors. He really took off last season, in which his sterling defense led him to be named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and earned a spot on the All-Pac-10's first team, all while hitting .313.
An ankle injury hampered him a bit during this past season, with his average falling to .284, but he still managed to drive in 33 runs and play his usual excellent defense at short.
The 6'1", 194-pounder was one of the higher rated prospects in this draft, with Keith Law listing the right-handed hitter 13th overall and MLB.com placing him 14th. At one point, he was bandied about as a possible top-five pick, but his lowered production placed him into the middle of the round.
Marrero possesses an excellent mind for the game, and those instincts show in his defensive play. He has very good range, hand and a powerful arm, and projects to continue that success at the Major League level. Despite average speed, his fundamentals on the base paths make him an effective runner.
The question for Marrero will come down to his performance at the plate, where according to Law, he "is a mess". He is a line drive, gap type hitter and has room to improve his average and power numbers. It may take him some time to adjust his swing mechanics, but his defensive excellence should help lead his eventual way to the majors.
Overall, he projects to be anywhere from a solid bench player to solid regular with a best-case ceiling, should his hitting make big strides, as a very good everyday shortstop.
Video look at Marrero in action this season: