This story was adapted from Ian Brown’s Red Sox Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter: Click here. And Subscribe To receive it regularly in your inbox.
Shortstop Nazan Zanetello made no effort to contain his emotions when he was selected with the 50th overall pick in the draft by the Red Sox on Sunday night.
“It’s confidence,” Zanetello said. “I feel like I’m floating on air right now. I didn’t know where I was when I walked on stage. This is truly a blessing and a dream come true.
The 18-year-old St. Louis native was at the draft headquarters in Seattle and bounced from one interview to the next trying to explain to people exactly what this meant to him.
If you didn’t know what that meant, all you had to do was look at the Zanetlo family. His mother and father were beaming with pride as the couple hugged their son, who was dressed in a Red Sox jersey and hat within seconds.
“Both of my parents have made a lot of sacrifices throughout my life,” Zanetello said. “My father worked overnight. My mother had many jobs. So I can wear this jersey and finally pay them back.”
And sadly, Zanetello’s younger sister had tears streaming down her cheeks.
“It means she doesn’t have to go to summer games and get cotton candy from the concession stand anymore,” said Zanetello, who called his sister his No. 1 fan. “She was there every year, every game, every field — my biggest fan. I asked her if she was going to cry and she said no.
Not only was Zanetello full of joy, but he also radiated confidence.
“You can expect to see me in Boston soon,” Zanetello said. “They’re going to find someone who works really hard in the draft, which is great for me.”
As Zanetello had one gem of a quote after another, here was his best.
“I’m a five-instrument player and a five-instrument guy,” he said.
Who were the Red Sox that disagreed?
“I think we can all agree on that,” Red Sox director of amateur scouting Devin Pearson said. “He is a hard working man and a hard worker. We are excited not only to bring in the talent, but also to bring in the person.
What kind of player do you think the Red Sox are getting?
“He’s one of the best athletes in the draft in my opinion. He is explosive. He has speed. He has the ability to play shortstop very well,” Pearson said. “He is athletic enough to play good midfield. He’s a toolbox and a great kid that we’re excited to add to the organization.
The Red Sox drafted Zanetello out of Christian Brothers College High School (Missouri).
A right-handed hitter, some scouts project Zanetello could develop 25-homer power. He had solid speed and a strong throwing arm.
With Boston’s farm system already stacked with shortstops — including MLB Pipeline’s No. 4 prospect Marcelo Mayer — it will be interesting to see where Zanetello plays.
“We’ll definitely develop him as a shortstop, but he’ll get opportunities to play center field,” Pearson said. “What you’re seeing a lot in the minor league system these days is more of a middle-of-the-pack, rotating players, getting them exposed in different positions. So we’re definitely drafting him as a shortstop and then maybe he’ll get some time in center field.
Originally, Zanetello was going to stay in Missouri and have a regular watch party during the draft. But when he received an invitation from MLB to be a live participant, he was not about to accept it.
“I felt like why not come here to experience all this, all the media stuff, interacting with the fans?” Zanetello said. “When I received an e-mail [invitation] I told my dad to come here, and he said, excuse my French, but he was like, ‘Hell yeah, we’re going to Seattle. we go'”
And without question, Zanatelo and his family fully embraced the experience.