The Red Sox, hoping to use proximity to their advantage, took right-hander Kevin McAvoy out of Bryant University (Smithfield, R.I.) with their fourth-round selection in the First-Year Player Draft on Friday.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound pitcher who hails from Syracuse, N.Y., pitched in 15 games in his junior year at Bryant, going 9-1 with a 2.62 ERA.
"The rare occasions where living in the Northeast gives you a little bit of a competitive advantage, we feel like," said Red Sox director of amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye. "I'm guessing Bryant University on a Friday isn't the most heavily scouted place. McAvoy was a guy we liked a lot in the [Cape Cod League] last year.
"He was probably an 88, 89 [mph] guy and just really sunk it. He went after people with a sinker-slider combo, and breezed through some lineups with the wood bat in the Cape. This year, we started to notice a little bit of an uptake in [velocity], but it wasn't affecting the overall movement of his fastball. He's still living in the bottom half of the zone, but now he's kind of living in the low 90s, more of a 90, 92 guy. He's still showing the slider, but mostly a ground-ball specialist that goes after you with the sinker."
McAvoy became the highest Draft selection in the history of Bryant.
"I'm very excited for Kevin," said Bryant head coach Steve Owens. "He's been building for this for three years. He's come in and gotten bigger, stronger and better, literally every week, since he's set foot on campus."
Owens watched with pride as McAvoy continued to open eyes, ultimately landing with the Red Sox.
"I think he went from maybe a 20th-round guy going into this year and then he was in the middle of the year, when he was throwing in front of 25 scouts, he was doing great, and I was like, 'Maybe he's about a 10th rounder.' He just keeps getting better," said Owens.
In 99 2/3 innings, McAvoy recorded 94 strikeouts while walking 28. He fired four complete games.
"He's a great kid. The ceiling is really high as far as him keeping developing," said Owens. "His velocity keeps increasing. He has tremendous fastball movement. He has a great sinking fastball. His mechanics are much improved, and they continue to get better. His secondary stuff has started to develop pretty well, too. He's primarily a sinker/slider guy right now, but his slider is getting better, and he has a workable changeup."
The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 1 p.m. ET.