The Boston Red Sox picked Kevin Steen, a right-handed pitcher from Oak Ridge High School, in the ninth round of the Major League Baseball draft on Friday.
Steen, who has committed to play baseball at the University of Tennessee, was the 284th pick in the three-day, 40-round First-Year Player Draft, which had more than 1,200 selections.
He was one of of four right-handers picked by the Red Sox on Day 2 of the draft, with only one selection coming straight from high school, the team said in a press release.
Steen also played basketball for the Oak Ridge Wildcats and helped lead the team to a state championship game in March for the first time since 1963. Oak Ridge finished as state Class AAA runner-up.
“Steen is pretty exciting,” said Red Sox director of amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye. “He’s an upside guy. He only had maybe four starts this year, because his team got to the state championship in basketball. He went right off the basketball court and got onto the mound.”
As prolific as Steen is at roundball, the Red Sox think he can do every bit as much at hardball, according to an MLB press release.
“You’re buying the upside there,” Sawdaye said. “It’s a loose, live arm. It’s a projectable body. He has the ability to spin a breaking ball. The (velocity) isn’t there right now, and we don’t expect it to be, because it’s like his fourth game out of Spring Training, really. Hopefully, if we get this kid out and really get him on the mound and continue his mound progression, hopefully, we’ll be seeing a different guy.”
The Red Sox said their top two picks, and 16 of 41 their overall selections, came from the high school level.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that Steen pitched nine games for the Wildcats this past season, when he was a senior, and he finished with a 2.16 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 39.1 innings pitched. The newspaper said Steen posted a 2-1 mark with a 1.56 ERA as a junior in 15 appearances. He struck out 56 batters in 36 innings and picked up four saves in as many attempts.